Saturday, 20 August 2016

Dias medievais 2016 - how the camel got the hump

Happy days are here again!!! "So long sad times, Go long bad times, We are rid of you at last, Howdy gay times, Cloudy gray times", for five days next week Castro Marim is once again a thing of the past.
The 19th edition of the Medieval Days or " WOOPS ,where´s my wimple" is coming and with it all the fascination of this bygone era.Be prepared to trip the medieval magic light fantastic. From 24 to 28 August, the sleepy little town of Castro Marim wakes up once again and returns to the Middle Ages.Oh joy the medieval circus and all its trappings is back in town.
I love what I witnessed in a previous year - Camels, dromedaries and other even toed ungulates escaping from their pen during the night and eating the trees before deciding whether to cross the main road and have dip in the salt spa. Can you spot the white queen, the red queen,where´s the wench, and who will be your knight in shining armour? Which shop will win the coveted prize for best dressed medieval window? I feel the presence of the ghost of medieval present,  Mistress Mary Portas, peeping from a Juliet balcony,ensuring all codes of window dressing practice are firmly adhered to.
Brocade canapés for the medieval banquet? or had I misread it for canopies? How lovely either way.One of the always eagerly awaited highlights of Medieval Days are the banquets inside the Castle.
Under the mysterious light of torches and probably brocade canopies, the sound of the classical guitar serenades the guests while they delight in a medieval menu where timeless dishes are plentiful and duly accompanied by lashings of wine, dark beer and cider.Hurrah.

In the streets you will find mythological and historical characters, warriors, monsters, princesses, kings and queens and the various social classes - clergy, nobility, bourgeoisie and people - musicians, drummers and dancers, knights, jugglers, babblers of half-truths,hunchbacks and mountebanks,multibancos, fire-eaters and storytellers, pipers, jugglers, swordsmen and contortionists, among many others, make up the rest of this scenario.The main drag will be awash with coats of many colours. Galliano gaiety will abound ,attempting to match the lux and trim of any medieval Lacroix courtier.You will never be more than a canon balls throw throw from a stall selling slices of brigadeiro, Doces regionais and Doce Conventuais.
"You having jasmine sorbet tonight or the chancellor´s buttocks?" a picture is conjured up of muscular fingers paddling in chocolate lava squeezed from Etnas of sponge,the calloused palms of monks curving lecherously over hillocks of quince jelly and quivering dunes of the deep fried pistachio patties known as chancellor´s buttocks.Slices of sweetness drawing inspiration from erogenous body parts, you soon become aware you are surrounded by a triumph of gluttony
And if cheeky desserts aren't your style, you can always opt for pig in a bun, which is so good it can even pass for breakfast. 
Back to camels. Among the mysteries Rudyard Kipling explores in his Just So stories, is how the camel got its hump. Or should that be humps? "He ate sticks and thorns and tamarisks and milkweed and prickles, most 'scruciating idle; and when anybody spoke to him he said 'Humph!' Just 'Humph!' and no more," Kipling wrote. After next week, while the town picks up the pieces, we know exactly how the camel felt - Humph!!!

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