So this week I spent my days in a Viking longhouse…cooking over an open fire that we made, cutting wood etc… you know like being totally radical and Viking etc. AND before anyone gets all stereotypey, it was just me and my fellow weakling Georgia so um YES TWO GIRLS CAN LOOK AFTER THEMSELVES IN VIKING DORSET aka all of life.
Anyway, firstly a massive shoutout to the Ancient Technology Centre in Cranborne, although its not open to the public they do have open days and story telling evenings which would be totally magical oooh so if you’re ever in the New Forest area then get your ancient asses down to the site. The people are the loveliest and most helpful people ever but what’s so refreshing is that they deal almost solely with school groups AND THEY LET KIDS BE KIDS. Like they actually let the kids move massive stones with ropes and wooden planks, they get to grind flour and bake flat breads on an open fire, they get to move a massive waterwheel type structure and get soaked and then go and shave wood down into useable cylinders… LIKE DO STUFF. It’s REFRESHING because nowadays health and safety means you aren’t allowed to play in the mud in case you catch the plague, or play conkers lest you knock someone’s eyeball out or even trade pokemon cards in case you inadvertently become a mafia boss and order someone’s death… like how do you expect kids to be kids anymore?!! Let them learn through experience and have fun and not restrict the hell out of them.
I GOT DISTRACTED SORRY VIKINGS
While being a Viking I managed to actually chop wood without cutting my limbs off, bake my potatoes and beans in an open fire that may have partially broken my lungs (perhaps forever who knows) and fallen asleep on sheepskins while Georgia sleep talked about the fact she “got distracted by something…… something cool” (direct quote.)
There was no signal on site, no internet and no connection with the outside world unless you walked into the village. It was kind of nice to be living in a little bubble but it also made me realise how important technology and communication is nowadays. One of the guys there only has a brick nokia phone to text his kids when needed but he doesn’t have a laptop or anything like that and he doesn’t want the internet. Now he’s not an old dude, late 40s maybe, and he loves life that way. He asked me if I missed my phone working and instead of feeling ashamed that I did miss it, I was happy to explain why. I lived in Belfast and some of my best friends live there now. My other friends all either live relatively close or have moved away for their university-life. My family live across Ireland, in the Midlands and in London. My boyfriend lives in Somerset. My whole life is scattered around the place and how would I contact anyone without my phone! Gone are the days when I was like “um yeah ew phones I could live without all this stuff” because no actually, they’re integral to modern society and I’m gonna embrace it despite the fact I wish I was medieval but whatever.
LOOK AT THIS PIG. THERE WERE THREE PIGS. They were kinda half wild boar so pretty ancient breed. We had to collect hazel branches from the hedge and then strip them of all their leaves and we got to give them to the lil piggies and they had so much fun look how cute this happy lil lady is gah.We then wove the branches into a wall of a Saxon house which was hard but cool but we nailed it whatever *hair flick*.
This post doesn’t seem to have much of a theme… I thought talking about Vikings would be easy but actually it’s made me more aware of how I live my life and how easy I have it and how I should appreciate it.
We spend HOURS sharpening a knife. Just one small knife. We didn’t find the raw materials for it, forge it, work it or anything. We were merely sharpening it. It made me realise how EVERYTHING would have taken such a long time to create and therefore everything was more precious. I’m grateful for how easy we can get anything we need but it saddens me how much we take for granted and how we waste everything. We also had to pick nettles (yeah nettles. ow) and strip them of their evil prickles and leaves and then split open the stems and peel half of it off just to be able to kind of make a stringy kind of thing and then leave it to dry and then plait it and then maybe one day with some magic and tears of an angel make it into STRING. JUST SOME DAMN STRING. Do you know how much stuff needs string?! EVERYTHING NEEDS STRING. EVERYTHING IS SO LABORIOUS HOLY MACARONI. So everyone appreciate that piece of string you have somewhere in your house. I hurt myself a lot to try and replicate it and I only poorly managed.
Our society is super fast paced and sometimes that’s super sucky but compared to how hard Viking life was, maybe I’ll moan a bit less. It makes you realise what’s really important in life. It’s not the stuff you wear or what you own, how much you pay for stuff or how much stuff you have. You need the fundamental things for living but that’s it. What you really need in life is your family, your friends and the people you love. Spending time out of the rat race made me realise how important people are, and I thank technology for allowing me to keep in touch with all the people I care about.
So the similarities betwixt Viking life and 2016?
Love and friendship is the most important thing in the world
and nettles always sting like a bitch.