An Explanation of Living History that I hope you can understand!
I met a chap and his lovely wife today to talk about what we do in our group, and I have the feeling that once again I failed to get across what it is we actually do. I will attach a video here, just photos of the fort and the people in it but you have to understand that although this fort is an important part of New World history, it is also the playground of 18th Century Living Historians.
And that is what we are, 18th century Living Historians and Wychwood Forest is our playground. To understand better what it is we do you need to turn the clock back to your early childhood, to the games you used to play and the large part that your imagination played in those games.
What we do in the New England Living History Group is we use our imagination in conjunction with our period clothing and equipment to turn the clock back 300 years. Just like when I was a kid playing at being a woodsman in the New World with my rubber tomahawk and rubber knife and my toy flintlock gun, except now these toys are real! I can throw my tomahawk and stick it in a target block. I can really shoot my flintlock fusil at targets. I can light my fires using flint & steel & tinderbox and so much more.
Without make-believe it would still be fun, but with make-believe it is exciting. This chap I met today is 80 years of age and he still yearns for adventure. But as he said, everywhere in the world has been discovered, there is no more new adventures left to experience. But I think there are new adventures, I think that doing what we do in Living History is re-living those adventures but this time round it is us that is taking that journey to a distant land, be it having travelled to the New World in search of a better life, or journeying into the deep and foreboding forests of the New World. With our imagination we can go anywhere and do almost anything.
Maybe some of you are too old now or not fit enough to withstand the hardship of trekking and camping 18th century style, but that does not stop you from doing as much as you are able. You can still drive to a camp area and drop off your pack or park away from the camp site and walk that short distance in. The fun part is experiencing the lifestyle, using the period equipment and imagining that you are in deep wilderness. You can practice those primitive skills such as making cordage and constructing a primitive shelter. You can make your fire with flint and steel and cook your food over an open fire. You can sit there drinking your tea whilst watching the sun go down and next morning you can watch it rise again. How long since you did that?
I think many of us have forgotten how to play; some of you like me were an adult in full time work at the age of 14 years. Well I may have missed out on a lot of playing then, but I intend to make up for it now. If any of you feel like an adventure, some excitement, some make believe, then come and join us.