Spoiler warning: semi-biographical and very little historical content ;-)
I didn't realise how long. Ellie had a daughter in late 2010, Dad passed away in 2011 :-( ; Sam and Colin came back from Canada, had a baby, and returned there in 2012. Ellie, Will and the kids moved up from Tassie in 2013. Nat, Rob and I pootled along with Oltramar as a tentful of static displays, which suited us well enough as Three People Does Not Make An Encampment ;-)
Ellie, the kids and I went along to History Alive 2014 and Abbey 2014 as members of the public - an odd experience for a re-enactor! - and The Family sat down afterwards and decided that Oltramar needed a little remodelling… The 25-thousand-word-essay-in-an-ugly-canvas-cover had been an interesting experiment - no one had done it before, I had a good amount of public interest, and it was heartening to see other groups start to use written displays; but there were now enough of us to have a functioning encampment. Ellie and I sat down and sketched out what we thought we'd want in an encampment, and what social aspect of medieval life we'd like to display. We decided to stay in Cyprus, and to enhance the visual aspect of our display (let alone making research easier) we decided to portray an 'upper-crust' extended family, travelling somewhere… Rob and Will were re-enacting with The Templars, who generously invited us to be their 'pilgrims' that they were escorting to Jerusalem in 1229. Having the 'where', the 'why' and the 'who', we now had to work out the 'how' - we needed another tent (for Ellie, Will and the kids), mine and Nat's costumes needed upgrading and Ellie and Will needed costumes from scratch (they'd been doing Viking re-enactment in Tassie); Rob's costumes had worn out, and the kids had none at all. Our plates and cups and serving gear were all very… middle class ;-) and the hangings needed upgrading, the chairs repainting, another small table here, a pavilion to sit under… and we had 10 months until HA2015.
Ellie and I drew up a battle plan (fondly known as The Bloody List) and started measuring, sewing, researching, embroidering and op-shopping. We enlisted the help of Nat, Will and Rob to do odd tasks they were suited for (and had time for - there's not a lot of that when one is a teacher) but by and large we made building the new group our 'job' (in between coping with our respective bipolar disorders and Ellie being a Mum).
Now we're just under a month out from our first show (in our new format!) and The Bloody List has been whittled down to something (hopefully) manageable.
And I really should look back over the last year of photos, and blog about it ;-)