How does a man get squashed, melted Brie out of his trousers? This is a question that has plagued mankind for centuries. The answer is boiling water and a butter knife.
Those tasks at the end of each re-enactment event, washing my whites, stripping down and cleaning my musket, emptying my backback and breadbag of uneaten items and leftovers and crumbs and rubbish. All need to be done extra thoughourly after the final event of year. You don't want to find an onion in your pack from last September, it may have evolved.
Dear Henriette was actually quite clean and rust free when I got her out. Something I have learnt this year is not to spare the gun oil and to take it with me to events, a quick spray before putting her in the bag each night prevents those waking up to rust moments. I have also gone from using sandpaper to a sanding block to remove rust as this is gentler on the metalwork. My bayonette needs more cleaning however as it has become a great tool to cook food in the fire with.
The end of the season is also when you think about repairs and replacements, ripped seams and missing buttons, I find it a bit sad to think of any of my 'first steps' gear being retired, I still have my first trousers with the patch and new rips after Waterloo.. but have given them indefinite leave..
I might need a new shako as the top keeps getting a bit knocked in and should really be one piece on the top and I'm beginning to think the life expectancy of a pom pom is short. I got a new one this year and already it's faded, with tufty patches and has seemingly grown slightly of its own accord.
My greatcoat does not get put away in the great re-enactment cupboard for the winter as it my main winter coat, I gave it a good sniff this morning, it has captured a fantastic air of camp life, a bit like smoked Austrian cheese.
I think this weekend I didn't make any mistakes in drill, if you don't include a moment when the order to go left was accompanied by a motion to go right and everyone shuffled in different directions like befuddled penguins. Things may have sunk into my brain after three years.
I think I only have a couple of regrets from the year.
Next event is the Annual General meeting early in 2016, followed by dinner and a piss up. One item set to be on the agenda is what foreign event(s) to do. I think the idea of an early 'Bicorne' era event is appealing to many as is a trip to Italy so Marengo may be, although it is the 2010th anniversary of Jena in Germany. There is also an event in Ireland to commenmorate the French landing/uprising of 1798. There is also a yearly campaign (roughing it) weekend near Paris each year.
I am a bit worried about time off, my company assigns each person a week off in spring, summer and winter (I missed this last year), so you don't get to choose all your holidays unless you can swap with someone in the same role, which is unlikely. So I'm hoping my long weekends fall on the right weekends! but who knows, maybe I'll be doing something different by then. It is six months away after all.
We shall look to the future and be inspired by the past! Forwards to victory!