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How to Get Rid of Mould from a Canvas Tent

Canvas tents are great and authentic, but they have one key disadvantage over plastic tents. It’s not availability, cost, weight or bulk;? it’s that they are prone to mould.

So, how can you avoid the scourge of tent mould, and what should you do if it does occur?

About Mould

Mould is a type of fungi that grows in moist, dark environments. If your tent stays damp and dark for long enough, mould will flourish and spread by spores. The mould?can consume the fabric of your tent and if you try to camp in a mouldy tent, the spores can trigger asthma and allergies.

[column column=”one-half”] Mould Likes:
Dark
Damp
Neutral PH [/column][column column=”one-half”] Mould Hates:
Sunlight
Dry
Acid or basic PH [/column]

Avoiding Mould – Dry, Air and Store

Ideally, you’d like to not get mould in the first place. Whenever possible, the tent needs to dry completely before being put away. Check the seams and where the tent touches the ground – these are often the places that take the longest to dry.?If you do have to pack the tent up damp or wet, air the tent as soon as possible.

Air the tent by opening it right up in a spot with good ventilation. You can put the tent up, or just spread it out to dry. Ideally, air the tent in direct sunlight for extra UV treatment.

Store the tent in a dry place between events. Ideally, pack the tent loosely in a bag that breathes, rather than in plastic. Plastic helps keep water out, but if the tent goes away with any moisture at all, plastic will keep it in and foster mould.

Check your storage spot regularly. Leaky sheds, flooded garages and damp basements will ruin your next camping trip.

Dealing with Mould – Kill, Clean and Waterproof

So, you’ve unpacked your tent and found mould?- there’s discolouration, it stinks and the fabric is permanently weakened. The first step is to kill the mould and prevent further damage. Mould hates sunlight, so get that mouldy canvas into direct, burning sunlight.

Next, brush or vacuum as much of the dead mould off the fabric as possible.

Mix a solution of one part white vinegar to ten parts warm water. Using a cloth, scrub the vinegar solution over the mouldy areas. This kills any remaining mould and cleans it off the fibres. Allow the vinegar to dry completely, and then use a firm brush or a scrubbing brush again to remove the mould spots.

Check all ropes. Medieval tents have natural fibre ropes that can be easily weakened by rot. If the rope has rotted, it will need to be replaced.

Air the tent again to completely dry the cleaned area and store.

Some tents may require re-waterproofing after cleaning. In period, tent canvas swelled up when wet and became waterproof. Many modern reproductions use thin canvas with a waterproofing agent though. If you find water coming through the newly cleaned spot, head to the camping store for some canvas waterproofing agent and re-proof the cleaned area.

 

Prevention is Better than Cure

So, that’s how to deal with a mouldy tent. The science is simple, but the task is gross. Keep your tent dry and aired, and tent mould will be something that only happens to other people.

 

 

 

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St Alban’s Day – June 22nd

When brought before the judge and required to comply with the rituals of the Roman ?Pagan? gods, Alban refused and declared, “I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things.”

According to the venerable Bede, Alban lived and was martyred in Verulamium (now St Albans) Roman Britain, sometime during the 3rd or 4th Century.There are several versions of the martyrdom but in essence, Alban converted to Christianity while sheltering a Christian priest from persecution having been impressed by the piety and faith of the priest. So much so, that when the Roman soldiers deployed to arrest the priest arrived at Albans house, Alban donned the cloak of the priest and gave himself up in the priest’s stead.

When brought before the judge and required to comply with the rituals of the Roman ?Pagan? gods, Alban refused and declared, “I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things.” (The words are still used in prayer at St Alban’s Abbey).

After various torture, Alban was sentenced to execution by beheading and it is during the journey to his martyrdom that Alban caused several miraculous events to occur including the drying up of a river to allow the execution party to cross to the place of beheading, and a spring to flow forth at the place of execution to slake Albans thirst.

It was here that Alban?s head was struck off, along with the head of the first Roman soldier who was miraculously converted and refused to execute him. Immediately after delivering the fatal stroke, the eyes of the second executioner popped out of his head and dropped to the ground along with Alban’s head so that this second executioner could not rejoice over Alban’s death. It is this scene which is typically depicted in the medieval pilgrim’s Badges of St Alban.

 

 


References;

Bede’s?Ecclesiastical History of the English People

10th century?Passio?(ASS?=?Acta Sanctorum, 347-8) second, 11th century?Passio?(ASS?345-6).

Antonio Niere,?Bibliotheca Sanctorum, op.cit. pp. 354-8;?ASS?Oct XIII 335-48

Spencer B, Pilgrim souvenirs and secular, ?EAN 9780112905745

Blick S, Beyond Pilgrim souvenirs and secular, 9781842172353

 

 

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Oh No! I Burnt The Soup!

It’s a terrible feeling?when you realise that you looked away from your delicious pottage for just a second and now it’s burnt. It’s too late to start another pot, and people are depending on this for their meal. We’ve compiled the list of medieval sources about removing the burnt taste from the pottage here.

Continue reading Oh No! I Burnt The Soup!

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Cooking with Ceramics

Ceramics are a great tool for use in campfire cooking. Cheap to make, there’s a reason that pottery fragments are the most common find in any archeological dig. Ceramics, particulary for use over a campfire are a lot less common now. Company of the Staple provided some great tips which they’ve kindly allowed us to reshare for everyone to spread the word about ceramic cooking.

Continue reading Cooking with Ceramics

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Midwinter Cookbook – AS51

The Midwinter cookbook

Assembled and Redacted by Lady Rosalind Beaufort

and Lady Safiya bint al-Shahid

 

Lady Rosalind and Lady Safiya did an excellent job at Midwinter AS51 and were kind enough to provide their receipes, scaled down to a normal portion serving. Here it is for everyone to enjoy the delicious receipes. The original source has been provided and then a modern redaction of how it was made, making it clear and easy to understand.

Midwinter Cook Publication

Pictures of the Salt dough serviced with the beef, pork and fish at Midwinter AS51

 

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Brass Care

Most of us no longer use unlaquered brassware around the home, so cleaning brass is no longer a weekly task; many people have never cleaned brass! Using Brasso or brass cleaning cloths is a perfectly functional modern technique for cleaning and maintaining your reproduction brass; seriously, just follow the instructions.

However, if you have very old brass (100+ years), or prefer not to use modern chemicals, there are other alternatives. Many have been used since the medieval period right through to the 20th century. They do take more elbow grease yet the result can be as every bit as good and with the satisfaction of being envirnomentally friendly. Even more, it is a direct link with our ancestors, when cleaning brass and silvers was not just a weekly chore – it was an opportunity to gather, gossip and a little friendly competition.

Cleaning small brass pieces;

Wash the brass piece in warm soapy water to remove the worst of the accumulated grime – use an old toothbrush to assist if there are intricate patterns and undercuts;
dry thoroughly with a soft cloth – and at this point you can check to see if the piece has been laquered. Look for a yellow tinge and/or scratches which you can widen with your fingernails. If it is, skip to the section at the end;
if the brass piece is small immerse in an diluted vinegar bath (so ~ 5% acid)
leave for ~ 60 mins;
gently agitate every now and then. Don’t leave it too long as the acid can leach some elements of the brass and cause pitting;
remove the piece from the bath;
rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth;

Too large for a vinegar bath? 2 period options;

as above wash the brass piece in warm soapy water to remove the worst of the accumulated grime – use an old toothbrush to assist if there are intricate patterns and undercuts;
dry thoroughly with a soft cloth – and at this point you can check to see if the piece has been laquered. If it is, skip to the section at the end;
cut a lemon in half and rub the cut end into salt;
apply this salted lemon surface FIRMLY onto the surface of the brass – it will clean off the oxidation with a bit of elbow grease;
rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry with a soft cloth, buffing the shine as you go;

Alternative 2;

make a paste from equal parts of white vinegar, salt, and white flour and use cloths and/or an old toothbrush to thoroughly cover the brass surface with the paste;
leave the paste for roughly an hour – before it dries out as that will make it very hard to remove the paste;
rinse thoroughly with clean water and dry and buff to as high a shine as you like with a soft cloth using small circular motions;

Removing laquer from old antique brass;

Gently pour hot water directly over the brass to soften the lacquer;
peel the laquer away from the edges or wherever it has started to fail – you can often see a yellow tinge to the colour of metal between the laquered and non laquered;
If hot water fails, rub the brass with denatured alcohol or acetone in a well ventilated area with a soft cloth on a part of the brass that is not seen. Stop immeadiately and rinse with water if there are any unexpected changes.

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Annunciation – 25th of March

This month in the medieval world we celebrate not a saint ? but the principle Marian (Cult of Mary) event; Solemnity of the Annunciation or ?Festum incarnationis? (feast of the incarnation). It is held on the 25th of March and documentation across the medieval and renaissance world show that it has been celebrated on this date from the 4th Century.

Continue reading Annunciation – 25th of March

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2016 St Ives Menu – 14th Century

Louise has generously allowed us to publish the 14th century menu for the 2016 St Ives 14th Century Village.

It’s not an accurate representation of how a 14th Century encampment would eat because it needs to take into consideration modern eating times, and the practicalities of cooking in a camp rather than a castle kitchen. But it did work as an excellent modern mediveal faire menu.

 

? Friday Saturday Sunday Monday
Breakfast Porridge Porridge
? Scrambled eggs and ham (G/F) Scrambled eggs and ham (G/F)
? Bread and honey Bread and honey
?
Snacks Fruit Fruit
? Almonds Almonds
? Boiled eggs Boiled eggs
?
Lunch Cold spread Cold spread
? Chicken meatballs Leach Lombard with sauce
? Broad beans yfried Green Poree
? Lamb Ausoerre (Lamb cooked in green sauce) Gele of Flesh (Chicken Jelly)
? Cheese fritters Fenkel in Sops
? Salat Salat
? Tarte in Ymbre day (Onion and Egg Pie) Tarte in Ymbre day
? Fruit tarts Fruit tarts
?
Afternoon snack Cheese and herb ‘pizza’
? Leftover cold spread
?
Dinner Soup Kitchen:
Vegetable soup or Chicken and vegetable soup
Beef cooked as Venison, served with Frumenty Pease Pottage
? Lentil Pottage, served with pickled vegetables Pease pottage with ham
? The Castle Subtelty from Forme of Curye with individual sambocade tarts Applemoy
? Chamber spices Chamber spices

 

Louise is a member of Company of the Staple, a Living History 14th Century group which focuses on Calais in 1376. Company of the Staple were the host group of the 14th Century Village at St Ives 2016, and members from Company of the Staple did the majority of kitchen organisation and cooking for this event.

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How to pickle eggs

Pickling is a very important part of medieval life. Preserving food to last the winter when one doesn’t have access to greenhouses or to aeroplanes capable of tranporting goods from the other side of the world.

Pickles need a dark consistent temperature during the pickling process. Pickling in medieval times would have been done in stoneware or in ceramics, with oil, or waxed linen covers to seal the tops.

Kept in a dark cool cupboard or cellar, it would have been safe until ready to eat.

Here’s a good redaction of one of the earliest written down picking sources – Compost from Forme of Cury
http://www.godecookery.com/goderec/grec5.htm

I’d post more links about the history and written sources, but someone has already done it, so I’ll link to them instead.
https://turnspitandtable.wordpress.com/2015/09/16/pass-the-pickled-eggs/

Medieval chickens don’t lay every day like modern chickens and they don’t lay in winter. So keeping eggs becomes important as a good source of protein during winter and as a way to save any excess eggs.

So here’s a simple and easy way to pickle eggs.

Things you will need
12 eggs
Steralised sealing jar (about 1 L)
600ml of apple cider vinegar
Pickling spices (You can buy a combination of spices called, surprising, “pickling spices” in most supermarkets. It’s dill, whole mustard, peppercorn….)

Firstly, hard boil those eggs. You want a long hard boil, about an hour to get them nice and hard. Make sure there’s plenty of water in the pot and the eggs are covered or they will explode.

Let the eggs cool and then peel them. An easy way to do this is to gently roll the eggs between your hand and the bench until it peels.

If there are any eggs where the yellow yolk breaks the surface of the white or is very close to the surface, put those aside to be eaten. If the yellow is too close to the surface, it won’t work well for the pickling.

Put the rest of the eggs into the jar.

Take a small saucepan and put the vinegar and the pickling spices in it. Let these boil together for about half an hour. Then pour the mix over the eggs and seal the jar.

If there is any left over liquid, you can use this as the base for a new pickling solution.

The eggs want about a month for pickling and are then good to eat within 6 months.

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14th Century English Feast Menu

This is an example menu of a 14th Century English (with French and German influences) done for 50 people, and oculd easily have done 100). This feast was held in 2011.

This feast was done in the “messes” style, with 6 to a mess, unless otherwise stated. There were 3 servers/pantlers bringing out the messes to the table. ?Each course had 2 removes (except for first course). As is common in 14th century feasts, the sweet and savoury are mixed between courses (because of the need to balance the humours).

On Table for the entire feast:

  • Fruit; apples, pears, citrus, dried fruit and nuts tray/platter/board
  • Bread, salt, oil, butter?
  • Green salat decorated with flowers

To be refreshed at the end of each course.

R = to be removed

1st course: on table with above. Mess of 8 x 5

1st remove
Sweet/fruit Savoury Vegetarian Sauce
Strawberyes with cr?me wastard (in a pastry shell) Chicken meatballs endored? Mushroom stuffed rolls Garlic and cheese sauce
*gyngre brede on plate with Tourtelete Allows de beef? Iflagun?
Tourteletes in frytour?

 

After first course, remove all dishes except permanents which should be refreshed.

 

2nd course: Mess of 8 x5:

1st remove
Sweet/fruit savoury Vegetarian/grain Sauces
R Applemoy and *biscuit? R Drechouns ? R Gourdes in potage *verde sawse
R Grete pyes Funges? *Iance sawce
Black porray Frumenty?
2nd remove
Sweet/fruit savoury Vegetarian/grain Sauces
Almond cream + Sr Plum preserve pud tartlets Rst boned stuffed joint of kid or Lamb Rstd garlic

 

Piper?
Eggplant?

 

Complete removal except permanents ?

3rd course:

1st remove
Sweet/fruit Savoury Vegetarian Sauce
Candied walnuts and pine nuts R samon roste in sauce Spinach with, lemon & ricotta R verde sawse
syrosye and *biscuit *Duck liver flans Blamanger *Iance sawce
2nd remove
Sweet/fruit Savoury Vegetarian Sauce
* gyngre brede Citrus chicken?? Slyt soppes n/a
Tart de bray

 

The meal ended here but wafers and hippocras (spiced red wine) would be the traditional finish to the meal.

__________________________________________________

We heavily relied on Brears “Cooking and Dining in Medieval England” for this feast.

If you are interested in attending feasts, check out our guide for attending your first feast.