Tuesday, 23 May 2017
Left foot sideways.
(Dover once more..)
The 45eme had decided at the AGM to look into making a promotional video, both for potential recruits and any organisation or historic venue or event that might benefit from a top troupe of French infantrymen being in tow.
Just after arriving at Dover Western heights for the first weekend when it didn't rain on one day or another... We were off to do some shooting, in both senses, in the woods nearby. (yes, I know you fire a musket ball and shoot an arrow, but if your going to be picky a gun is only really a gun if its on wheels!).
Through out the weekend we did about five brief scenes, one with some British who apparently refused to die. Nothing new there! And a couple with proper face planting falls or misfiring at a dramatic moment. It will all be married up and hopefully treated to some cunning editing and an inspirational soundtrack.
Owing to traffic problems we didn't have all the set up for a camp scene including some music, and gambling, and food, and orders being written.. These would be done on the leisurely Sunday morning. There followed some drill though we instead did a brief talk and had a firing competition. I had no misfires but lost some seconds rummaging for cartridges as some unfilled tubes, and some spare flints, were also in my giberne.
I confess I have alluded to Dover, as a town, being a bit grim previously and was pleased to see the Banksy EU painting and eat at a quite pleasant bar/restaurant right on the quays although a couple of us did have to charm a bunch of guys making 'French' comments.. the leader of which looked like the bloke from Bad manners in a suit and claimed to be the mayor of Dover. I had the seafood spagetti and a few German beers.
Back at camp we had an excellent view of a fireworks display down over the harbour and then a couple of us went up to explore around the main fort.
Despite having a mini torch I stepped off a step into a earth worn area and didn't see a small border around it.. foot hits, foot turns, sprawl in undignified manner. Get up. Hmm, ankle little bit ouchy but never mind. Next day, still a bit tender. Go to St John's and it was swollen up, they didn't like the look of it but my feeling was it wasn't that bad.
I would get by well enough by favouring the other foot, and using my musket as a prop on slopes. Something day after day of drill knocks out of people is initiative, but reenactors of course don't get drill day after day. At one point when Duncan was talking about uniforms to the crowd he alluded to having a volunteer from the ranks.. followed by a pause.. is he asking for a volunteer? silence. I step forward. oh no, he isn't asking for a volunteer. Steps back. Feels like an idiot. Vows never to do anything again without direct instruction. Probably.
The afternoon skirmish was shortly after this, and our modest numbers were greatly improved by the Romney marsh smugglers, some of whom were also in the British 16th but happier to join us. Smugglers on the coast were a power to themselves laying siege to excise houses even as boats were unloaded a hundred yards away, and often had dealings with the French to obtain the very goods for smuggling in and out. Some French prisoners are recorded as having escaped from England on Smuggler's boats.
It's always a good skirmish, and for us it was pretty much all individual action, small pockets and a line of the enemy being engaged. Despite having just changed my flint it wouldn't spark until I changed it again, then I got a few more shots off. A party of the smugglers died facing the redcoats, the last in a valiant charge.. and then the enemy numbers could, with enough fire, not fail to miss us and I fell casualty.. momentarily struggling with my last gasps to get the sun out of my face.
All done I had been asked to pop back to see the St. John's people.. alas still swollen and they wanted me to go to A & E, not just when back home, but now, on the way home. That didn't happen, as a post note it turned out to be two torn ligaments, swelling gone down a bit but bruised. Orders to not strain it for up to four weeks, next week I shall se how it feels.. for Hole park, probably the biggest Napoleonic gathering in the UK. See you then!