Re: Rob Turnbull's recent report -

My cousin Rob Turnbull was really too kind when he describes my exploits on the field on the Lancastrian side. There are only 3 rules to medieval fighting in armour: do it first, do it fast and do it DIRTIEST! But I am normally protecting my own hide most of the time. Indeed, the local paper once described me (in two misprints?) as either a 'bottle-scarred warrior' or a 'battle-scared warrior' when I THINK they meant 'battle-scarred' warrior?

The officials say the Gloucester, UK battle featured:1,400 re-enactors (about 800 fighters), 600 medieval tents, 30,000 members of the public. The battle was excellent on both days - quite restrained in some ways compared to last year's mayhem. Of course I rather disgraced myself as a 'model of restraint'.

Some ****er struck me on my steel helmet (sallet) with his halberd/axe (it's made quite a dent) and I'm afraid I completely LOST IT, got hold of him round the throat with a mailed fist and in a mad rage told the ****er I would cut his ****ing heart out'. At which point a Battle Marshall (like a referee) stepped in, pushed me back off him and warned me to 'Lose the attitude - or you will be sent off'. I have become such a 'bad boy' to be almost RED CARDED in this way for my 'aggressiveness'! :)) I'd really like to apologise to all Turnbulls for such behaviour ... but I'm not going to!!! You all know how BAD we Turnbulls can get.

It was blazing sun all-the-way at the Tewkesbury weekend: so hot it was killing us under our weight of armour. Thank God my wife Gillian Turnbull turned out with a waterbottle, her shiny new steel helmet and plastic suck-tube tube to keep us going (there were 10 of us in my contingent gulping down water like a thirsty pack of puppies) or I swear I would have died of heat exhaustion. I did lie down panting a couple of times!

I slashed with my sword, and created a nice rhythm for my swordstrokes as they dinged-and-donged off armour and shields of our YORKIST enemies. My two FIRST cousins (Emanwel (18) and Illtyd TURNBULL (21) - none of us have 'normal' names! Hey?) also showed up, plastic-camped and fought in minimal armour - they had a good time too.

It's great fighting alongside family - they always watch my back for sly sword slashes! My shiny and expensive steel breastplate now has dimples and craters in it from all the swords and spearpoints that bounced off it, and my left kneecap has TWO slash marks beaten into it. Someone tried to cripple me but didn't succeed. I think he was the one with his arm in a sling after the first battle...YES, I got him down under my sword and really 'read-him-his-horoscope' (as we say). What can i say?... I'm BAD-to-the-bone!

There were dozens of film crews and photographers also wandering around filming and snapping us - and there was real-live JOUSTING to watch too. You may see some of this on the DISCOVERY CHANNEL one day.

Afterwards, as a Captain of the TURNBULL CLAN I was also invited to take part in the MOCK EXECUTIONS in Tewkesbury town centre (the only occasion when you could walk around town armed to the teeth!!) - a ceremony which represents the Slaughter of Captured Prisoners here after the 15th century battle.

As one of 10 captured soldiers pleading for my life with my hands tied, I pointed out that as a Scot I "wasn't subject to English law" - after pondering this point the Jury gave me a sentence of straight beheading - with my legs being severed and sent NORTH of the border for them to be subject to Scottish law! So I 'kind of' won my Appeal, right? :)))

The mock beheadings took place before a huge crowd of screaming, laughing members of the public - the axe fell on our necks and we were hustled away covered with a black blanket. I earned a FREE PINT OF BEER voucher for my participation and thanks to an official who couldn't count (we all lined up three times and ended up with 3 vouchers each!! I gave mine to my extremely grateful friend Simon Woodcock - I don't drink much).

After they 'chopped our heads off' they put facsimile bleeding heads made from paier-mache on stakes to celebrate what really happened here 500 years ago. It's all true folks.

The Medieval market at Tewkesbury was fairly comprehensive - lots of stuff to buy. My son Robbie ( aged 11) liked all the plastic SPIDERMAN stuff they were selling - plus all the trinkets and weird stuff you associate with large re-enactment events (including POKEMON cards).

There was lots to see - knives with handles made out of animal femurs, jesters with performing dogs, trampolines for children, a medieval sweetie stall. HIPPY Travellers making a mud and clay bread 'beehive-shaped' oven and baking fresh bread 'Iron Age' style. MOST interesting. We will try that ourselves next time!

One guy on his stand had exact replica Maximiliian armour copied from a classic one in the Wallace Collection, quite reasonably priced. He had a pair of superb individually fingered steel gauntlets for £370/US$450!! (Wow! These are just steel gloves)

In all, the 10 Turnbulls at Tewkesbury had a great time and I would thoroughly recomend this event to all Turnbulls for 2003. May I highlight some future events which feature TURNBULL PARTICIPATION? I would like to draw your attention to the Castle Hadleigh Ghostwalk (which is open to anyone who wants to come!). This castle is reputedly haunted by a headless knight from 1338 who (according to the UK Psychic Society) is "perpetually trapped in the nexus between this World and the Next and is doomed to patrol the Castle Perimeter for all Eternity."

I shall be checking this out for myself on Saturday 3rd of August when I lead a Children's "Castle Hadleigh GhostWalk". Around 20 of the kids in the Medieval Siege Society (aged between 5 and 16) will be armed with Water Pistols - each containing a fraction of Holy Water in their water loads. I am not expecting the 'ghost' to ACTUALLY put in appearance so I have arranged for my friend Andy to turn up unexpectedly, dressed as Death in a 'SCREAM' mask and pop out from behind a battlement.

He doesn't actually know a tribe of screaming kids will be primed (by me) to find him, soak him and then beat him up! Hey, what can I say? I am an evil person at heart....