Sunday, May 16, 2010


Originally billed as the "Tolkien Weekend", this event has taken place since the year 2000 (AD) at Sarehole Mill on the River Cole (where I used to catch sticklebacks as a youngster). Although the basic event has remained much the same, a different theme each year and a variety of activities has made the event one to visit every year. The theme this year was "The Mariner: Sailing Around Middle-earth".
The weather, of course, varies every time but this year both days were blessed by the prolonged appearance of the sun.
As usual, everywhere you looked , people were dressed in costumes. Children ran amongst the crowds waving plastic swords at each other, and it was indeed a great day out for the family.

 Elves squabbling as to who should pay the bus-fare.

                                  The first thing to greet you is the music from the fair organ.

 A detail from the fair organ.

 The greeter at the information tent.

 The Black Adder Morris Dancers. See

 The Black Adder Morris musicians.

 A knees-up.

 Another view of the musicians with the Real Ale recycling facility in the background.

 A figure points the way to the archery targets. Remember that Blackadder sketch with 
Baldric and his "lucky willy"?

 At the Viking battle-field, a small libation to appease the Gods (= steady the nerves).

 A slight disagreement.


The women let their men get on with it.

 Viking chariot?

 Viking village scene.

 Gandalf haggles with a potter, possibly over the price of a clay pipe?

The potter and his wares.

 Gandalf is diverted from his routine in an instance of vanity.
This is an example of a photograph which would benefit from either having Gandalf the Grey as the subject or having a different coloured tent as a background

 Into the Activity Tent, and a woman spinning.

 Plenty for the children to do as well. Here they are making puppets.

 Crowds of people milling around the Craft Tent.

 Busy bees.

The products of apiary include wax candles, polish, soap and honey. 

 Members of the British Woodcarvers Association with some of their work. The group meet regularly at Winterbourne Botanical Garden. Click here for more information.

 More examples of woodcarvings.

 Artist at work.

 Exquisitely decorative and original soaps from "Under Capricorn". The problem I see is personal hygiene being ignored in order to keep the soaps intact.

 A variety of gifts, especially clay pendants, on display.

 Tarot readings and astrology, advice and portrait art at this enchanting stall.

 The Runesmith stall. Unique jewellery and rune-based gifts and charts.

 Serious war-gaming.

 An owl, one of several on display by The Central England Reptile Rescue and Bird of Prey Sanctuary. Their web-site is at

 A human crocodile heads off on one of the many guided walking tours.

 A demonstration of the craft of wicker-work.

 More wicker-working.

 Introducing Phoebe Goldenscales and Sid in the arms of their highly-trained dragon-handlers, Lizzie and Kevin. They are members of Alchemy, a group specializing in story-telling, theatre and walkabouts with a dragon theme. See their web-site at

Scattered around the area are carved pieces of wood. Here a fallen bough has been converted into a work of art.

 Another example of carving... a hungry-looking sculpture.
 The Armitage Mummers perform a hero-combat play for the crowds. As a mummer myself I'm posting several photographs. Tough!!
Here, "our man" St George arrives and announces himself.

 The Turkish Knight arrives and issues a challenge.

 Battle ensues.

 The Turkish Knight resorts to cheating... without success.

 St George's arms raised in victory.

A Quack Doctor is summoned to heal the fallen Turkish Knight.
 "In this bottle..." The doctor goes through his casualty procedure.

 The entrance of Mrs Beelzebub... what a sexy beast!

 Performance over.. sing-out.

 A photo-call for the Armitage Mummers.

 A careless step and I bump into the Witch King of Angmar.

 A strolling minstrel with his hurdy-gurdy.

An elf and a hobbit join the audience of the Hurdy Gurdy Man.

 The Lady Mayoress of Birmingham, Vivienne Wilkes shares a joke with Phoebe Goldenscales before resuming her task of book-signing her book "Tales from Moseley Bog: The Voles of Old"

The Lady Galadriel, far from her home in Lothlorien.

The fletcher's stall. Arrows for all occasions.

There was a steady stream of work for the smiths, usually forging weapons for the armies of Middle Earth in their battle against the Dark Lord, Sauron.

 A woodworker demonstrates his craft.

 Life can be such a grind! Even in the mystical lands of Middle-Earth, examples of the exploitation of children for labour can be found.

 As the search for "The One Ring" continues, the West Midlands Police intensify their efforts by arresting all suspicious-looking people.

 Gandalf and company assemble for a final photo-call.

 Additional security staff are drafted in for the occasion.

 Sarehole Mill.

 Members of the Tolkien Society at their souvenir stall.

 In the Performance Pavillion the Birmingham Brass Band stand for applause after a superb rendition of excerpts from the film series The Lord of the Rings.

 The Lord Mayor of Birmingham Counc. Michael Wilkes chats with members of the Birmingham Brass band after their performance.

I've spent a very enjoyable weekend but now it's time to catch the bus home, but we want
the Outer Circle 11 not the tour bus.