We did it. After almost twelve weeks of preparation and work, and feeling like we would simply never be ready, the day of the banquet arrived. It went well, really well. The children did their presentations and answered our guest’s questions fairly intelligently. The food was remarkably good, considering we used authentic medieval recipes and everyone played their part perfectly. We couldn’t have had better guests. Thanks Andy and Nik for all your encouragement and your enthusiasm and for joining in with such aplomb!
We had spent most of the day preparing food and laying the table. I have to admit to more extravagant plans concerning the décor, but the illness which has been making the rounds in our home has been a particularly virulent one and to be honest all of those recovering lacked the energy to carry it off, whilst those currently suffering just wanted to be in bed. A mantra oft heard in the last week or so by every member of this family is KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. Stupid is a disallowed word in our family, so the children kept giggling each time it was said, but it had an important effect. In order to pull off the feast and to feel like we had done the last twelve weeks justice, we really did need to keep it simple.
So we ignored the artistic pleadings off our hearts to recreate an indoor medieval castle and focused instead on a beautiful table, spread to the brim with L11’s tasty food.
The table was laid with white table cloths, trenchers, wooden spoons, goblets, candles and greenery from the garden:
Once the table was done and the food was all merrily cooking away, everyone turned their attention to their costumes, with older ones helping younger ones:
And sure enough the guests began to arrive, all dressed in their own version of medieval costume. I was so grateful to Nik for taking the whole thing so seriously. As her boys are adopted she has requested no photos are put up of her sons, so I have done my best with the photos I have which were just of the adults or my family.
It had been decided that L11 would give her presentation just before the feasting began, outlining medieval banqueting etiquette and expressing what would be expected from our guests:
She did a great job and at the end of her speech/presentation she led her guests to the banqueting table to be seated.
Once seated, the servants (AKA Gary and I) began to bring out the food:
None of us had tasted Goose before, and it was gorgeous. Although the bird had been 8 kg, a large percentage of that was fat, so there really wasn’t a huge amount of meat. Next time I would get an even bigger goose.
Whilst Gary was carving the goose, the banquetors were washing their hands in some prepared apple blossom water:
In addition to the goose, there were many different types of vegetables, a pork and sultana pie (home-made by L11 and absolutely delicious) and a lamb pie, which was going to be a lamb stew. This was less popular. Trenchers were filled with all the feasting foods available and gravy poured over:
The trenchers were the biggest surprise of the evening. The children were concerned in case they went soggy with the gravy and were badgering me to put plates underneath. As we were attempting as much authenticity as possible I declined. These medieval people knew what they were doing though, as there was absolutely no sign of the trenchers going soggy, and they were as hard at the end of the meal as they had been at the start:
L11, in her presentation, had invited the guests to give toasts whenever the fancy took them. Nik did so with alacrity!
After the main course was completed, everyone was invited to move away from the table, into the living room, to watch C11 and her presentation on medieval fashions. I was so proud of her, because she really wasn’t well and probably should have been in bed. She did a grand job in between sniffles and coughs:
Afterwards she passed her dolls around and answered questions Nik had for her.
Whilst she was finishing answering questions, Gary and I were re-laying the table with the desserts course. L11 had talked about the subtleties and these were brought out as well:
After the dessert course it was T12’s turn to present the War of the Roses. T12 had been a little nervous about this. He had pretty much done all the work himself and thus had invested a big part of himself into his play and film.
As you can see (above), he used PowerPoint for his presentation, bringing it up on our TV screen. He also showed his film using our TV:
If anyone knows how to put a film up on a blog, I’d be happy to share it. I just don’t have the requisite skills to do so. He had done an amazing job pasting the various scenes together to create a fairly seamless film. He also had title music and credits music, which played as the credits rolled:
I was very proud of my three older children and I realised yet again, that next time I needed to include A5. She is so ready to do her own presentation.
New term begins tomorrow, with new projects, new goals and new ideas for presentations. It is always pretty exciting to finish a topic, but even more exciting to start a new one!
Home school is kind of cool, don’t you think?