Those Vikings Again

No, I do not refer to Tom Martin Berntsen and Helge Spilling from Norway who came to lunch, journeyed to Whitby with Graham to meet the sisters there, and explored the Christian Way with us. I refer to two hundred members of the Historical Re-Enactment Society whom English Heritage employ to stage a tourist attraction in the priory ruins. As I entered the churchyard at 07.10 am I encountered a Viking boat and boatman wielding two large oars. 'Don't kill me with those' I said. 'Oh, we don't always kill, some of us have become Christians' he said.

His viking lady companion told me how they are invited to many schools, because what they re-enact comes into the core curriculum. 'Why don't you re-enact the creation of civilisation through the Celtic monks and not just its destruction through Viking raiders?' I asked. The answer was that the core curriculum dodes not include the prior events. 'Why don't people make a connection between the recent riots and the twisted history teaching that glorifies looters but omits the people of faith who spread values of service?' I asked. 'I was in a school where they forbade someone from wearing the Christian Cross' she said, as if in reply,'because that would upset Muslims and remind them of the Crusades'. 'Why don't we have schools where people of all beliefs are required to understand both sides of an issue?' I responded. This is surely a task for us all - to campaign and prepare materials that can deliver this.

On my return from Andrew Lobb's BBQ to celebrate his move from teaching to professional heritage music-making I passed two Vikings who needed a lift. One had speared his eye during rehearsals. The taxi that returned them from the hospital dumped them on the causeway to wait for the tide to turn. 'If you come among us to do good and not harm I will give you a lift to your tent in the priory' I said. I put them down at the priory. 'Now I have to find a place to park' I told them, 'I only live here.'

Posted at 13:33pm on 20th August 2011
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