At the beginning of April the Schwartz had a whole two weeks off school so Ames and I took advantage and planned some great mommy school adventures. The first day of their break we went to Mountfitchet Castle, a medieval castle and Norman village reconstructed on the original site. They set it up so you were really transported back in time, to 1066 when the Normans took over control of Britain from the Anglo Saxons in the Battle of Hastings. I wish I took more pictures of all that they had there. We traveled around the village to different little stations that were set up to portray what life was like back then, complete with wax figures who all looked quite haggard and beat up (I’m not sure if they were just old, or meant to portray the rough life these people had, maybe a bit of both). It really painted a bleak picture of life back then and made you feel really lucky to live now. We decided that we live FAR better than even the richest king did in 1066. We saw where the bakers and butchers and iron workers worked. We saw the hut of the alchemists and the leather workers and the wood workers. We saw the stalks it the middle of the town green where people were punished and learned about how people were imprisoned and tortured (why are my kids so fascinated with punishment?). We learned that if you stole anything you’d get your hands cut off. The kids were especially excited about all the animals roaming freely about. This cute little deer was so used to people that she let them pat and touch and feed her. Here is Hazel sitting on the fertility chair. Apparently all you had to do to get pregnant was to cross your legs in a certain way, put your hand on your knee and the other on your ear and voila! Pregnant. I hope it doesn’t work, I’m not ready to be a Grandma.Here the kids are in the church. Love those Emmeline looks. They got to try on chainmail (we’ve actually done a lot of handling of chainmail….that stuff is HEAVY!Once we were done with the village we went into the ‘castle’ grounds. The castle was a tiny little wooden building with a long reception room with low ceilings and a second floor where the Lord of the land slept. Very unlick most of the castles we’ve seen here. Why didn’t I snap a picture of it? Oh yeah, Peter was being too cute trying to take some first steps. As part of the admission package we got tickets to a toy museum and dinosaur park up on the hill. These were both hysterically meager little attractions. Amy and I laughed as we made our way down the path, up the hill, past the “talking tree” (which had a speaker in plain view) and all the fake, old, falling apart plastic dinosaurs towards the Toy Museum. The museum was PACKED with old toys in cases dating back to the early 20th century. As hokey as it all was, the kids loved looking at the toys, especially the ones that Amy and I told them we played with as kids. My favorite part of the entire day was probably these funny mirrors. We laughed so hard we were in tears. I wish I could have captured how funny they made us all look, especially Emmeline and Peter, but we had to rush back to our cars before our meters ran out.
I want one of those mirrors in my house.