Day Three: Am I in Michigan or am I in Nottingham?

Saturday: What's a common theme with Black Country folk if you haven't been wargaming the night before? Yep. I awoke with an almighty hangover. Not quite the mother of all hangovers - my Dad's 65th birthday party; that lasted three days - however, this one was registering somewhat. My hosts once again provided some comfort in the shape of an excellent breakfast of Sloppy Joe's and coffee. You can tell Nick has got into this American lifestyle as the hosts go for coffee with a vanilla whitener. Well, I know about this bit about doing the Roman thang, but there are somethings that I can't get on with, such as European "Continental" breakfasts, and pancake's and maple syrup and coffee with vanilla is another one in the same category I'm afraid.

Well, breakfast over, we were off to do some grocery shopping which involved mainly buying beer in large cases. However, we also had the opportuinity to discuss the evolution of the Michigan emigrees as we went to visit a "cider" outlet located in a barn in Commerce. Of course, Nick and myself said "Nice Dutch barn" to which Cindy came back with "its a barn;just a barn". "No - that's a dutch barn; its different to an English barn because of the shape". Anyway Cindy, here's a couple of web references:

  • Raising a barn
  • make your own mind up!

    After all this excitment, I was up for sleeping off my hangover for an hour, which was very welcome. I alos think I was starting to unwind as my shoulders were beginning to relax. More of that later.

    So late afternoon, it was off to one of those surreal moments in your life - only in America! Yup! A medieval festival in Michigan! I couldn't believe it. I thought for a moment I was in Ludlow! That hasn't changed much in 600 years either!

    The site resembled very effectively an old wooden medieval town, with all sorts of little shops and amusements. Having a scout round, we went for some traditional medieval grub - baked potato with chilli! Washed down with some beer! That's Budweiser people, not Bishop's Finger! Anyway, our entertainment started with a joust! Real partizan stuff here as the French were dubbed as the villains and the English and Germans the hero's. Of course, the English knight won. By the way, jousting has been banned in England due to health and safety regulations.

    And so onto the next entertainment - the Washer Women of Olde England. Er, right. It didn't start off to well, as it seemed an awfully long time to establish that the two women who were the washer women weren't going to start until they had comsumed a few slugs of various beers, mainly Guinness. In the time-honoured Disney tradition, the women went round gathering money for getting the beer from the nearest bar; this exerecise lasted nearly half an hour and when the beer evetually returned, most of it was slopping in the tray, or inside Griselda's stomach! However, the American's do this warm up so much better than the English and everybody was dreading the main act, which of course involved throwing round lots of wet clothes at poor victims chosen with care. Bald Englishmen didn't qualify thankfully, but the steroetypical American's did, from Bubba off police Academy to a John Denver lookalike.

    Yep, they were soaked in some tale that rather lost the plot after the first ten minutes - wasit the Sherrif of Nottingham who needed his clothes cleaning? I can't remember. However, it was very funny and most of the guys ended up with some of their clothes dry! No women were volunteered, but I was interested to reveal that most American males have the same impressin about the Mother-In-Law;s as English guys - the Dragon's in tow!

    Off then to see some Spanish chap twirl this piece of string with a huge marble in the end and knock various objects off shelves etc. Then he did the same thing blindfold! What's that all about!? He also seemed to be the poorest paid as I've seen more meat on a butchers pencil. Anyway, make you own mind up as here's the photo:

    Having had enough of this, we were inevitably drawn to the stalls around the village. One stall sold "Middle Earth" type souvenirs - a "Gandalf" class staff for a mere $750! Then we came across the knife chucking stall which of course "Nick the Knife" and "Andy the Flashing Blade" were completely hopeless. The Blokey minding the stall was of course a complete expert, just to prove the knives weren't blunt!

    Time then to leave this place of joyous merriment and return to our abode to ready oursleves for the evening's entertainment - CJ's!

    CJ's is a micro-brewery that is typical of those across America - a cross between a sports bar with 50 huge TV's showing the US Footie or Baseball, and a regular diner come pub. However, the food was great and the beer excellent, especially the "Red".

    This tasted like Ruddles County, but at 6.5% who cared! After a couple of pitchers of this, it was time for bed. The temperature was down to a cold 65 degrees! Brrh! Autumn was on its way.

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