For King and Country

It was time again for my bestie, Jane, and I to do our usual May pilgrimage to the beach chalet in lovely Dunster.

As we have both had a lot going in our lives that has prevented us getting together as much as we would like; we had a lot of chatting, coffee drinking, cake eating and laughing until we cried to catch up on.

But we also felt we needed to do something we hadn’t already done on our previous visits. Our first outing was to find the infamous Hobby Horse on Minehead seafront.

The May day celebration wouldn’t be complete in Minehead without the procession of the Hobby Horse, or the Sailors’ Horse. This has been a tradition for centuries and it’s origins were thought to come from a bid to frighten away the Danes. These days the horse parades through the town accompanied by drums, accordions and a load of locals/visitors/holiday makers.

The horse is actually a hessian cover over a wire frame with a nightmare inducing freaky mask, ( I don’t do masks!). At one point Jane and I were chased by the creature along the seafront, I still don’t really know why we ran in the first place! Despite this trauma we had a good time marching along in step with the drums until a thirst built up and we needed a pint in the actual Hobby Horse pub.

hobby horsehorse and us


For Day two I planned an afternoon revisiting the English Civil War at Dunster Castle, definitely something we had never done before.

The castle played an important role in the English Civil War, which I touched on in a previous post. So it was an obvious place for the Taunton Garrison to stage a historical  re-enactment.

This group brings the 16th and 17th century to life with music, drama and demonstrations. We were entertained, and deafened, by gun and canon fire and wandered around the tents showing activities from the era. But the highlight of the afternoon was when we were welcomed into the army as new recruits. When all the surrounding children were equipped with their pikes, minus the dangerous sharp pointy ends, we were allowed to join the line. The leader of the garrison explained that we would be learning how to handle our pikes, charge and march. I was worried about the marching as Jane has no sense of direction and doesn’t always know her left from her right. But I was wrong to fret, she took to it like a pro and looked like she was born to march.

After all that activity a cream tea was definitely called for and the little café in the castle grounds have the best scones.

If you don’t want to miss out on the fun of these re-enactments you can find information on their Facebook page and website





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