Stewart Orme from Peterborough Museum and Charles Taylor Dean of Peterborough talk to the BBC’s Paul Stainton in a chaotic fashion about the varied events that make up the Heritage Festival weekend. Broadcast at 08:29 on Monday 28th June 2010 in the Peterborough Breakfast Show on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire.
PAUL: Gary from Guyhirn says you were talking about jobs that England players could do in the future via the power of rhyme. Gary from Guyhirn says Milner could get a hat-trick. (BEAT) Oh it’s a play on words, isn’t it. Milner, milliner Milner. Yes. Thank you. (GROANS) It’s not me, it’s the listeners. The groans there that you heard were from the Very Reverend Charles Taylor, so the Voice of God is groaning at you this morning Gary. Morning.
PAUL: And Stewart Orme from Peterborough Museum is here.
STEWART: Good morning Paul.
PAUL: Did you watch any football things yesterday?
CHARLES: I was working yesterday afternoon but I then walked up to the Park and you could tell it wasn’t going well because there were crowds outside the pubs and it was deathly silent. It was like walking past a wake. So you could tell that it really wasn’t going well.
PAUL: Well watching it was like watching a wake really.
CHARLES: Whatever they said about it it was a marvellous England win, one wicket with two balls to spare. (LAUGHTER) We beat the Aussies. We should be cheering the fact that England won at cricket yesterday. And Hamilton is still leading the GP championship. And even Andy Murray is still in Wimbledon so there is actually lots to be cheery about.
PAUL: We don’t really support Andy Murray but never mind. A beautiful positive picture painted by the Very Reverend Charles Taylor. Now let’s put an image inside people’s minds if we can. You’re waking up this morning, and just imagine as you jump out of bed and go towards the curtains, you open them and you’re face to face with a Viking. Well that’s what the Dean of Peterborough Cathedral will be waking up to all this week. Charles, why? Why are Vikings in the Dean’s window?
CHARLES: Well it’s marvellous. It’s part of the forthcoming Heritage Festival for Peterborough, part of the celebration of Peter’s Tide, St Peter’s Day tomorrow, and Peter-Borough, so we have part of the Peterborough Festival, and in the Precincts of the Cathedral and outside on the Cathedral Square a great heritage festival which reminds us of some of the very rich history we’ve got. And in my garden as last year there will be a Viking encampment. As you said I don’t exactly jump out of bed in the morning, I sort of roll sideways and drop to the floor.
PAUL: (LAUGHS) Don’t we all these days?
CHARLES: And crawl to the curtains. When I opened the curtains the first time last year there was a lovely smell of wood smoke as the camp gets going. And I opened it in the morning and it was all very quiet. Then suddenly a tent opened and a diddy Viking came out, about three foot height, and toddled off to find the primitive Portaloo wherever it was. And then they gradually woke up. It was marvellous. And then the second night, the closing night, I think they had a bit of a wassail, didn’t they really?
STEWART: I think they did yes.
PAUL: You can’t beat a good wassail.
CHARLES: You can’t beat a good wasail. But I opened the curtains the next morning and they were all prone on the ground, completely comatose and corpsed out, after having a very good time. It’s a marvellous atmosphere, and archery going on. I have to watch how I water the peonies because you know the arrows, and I think this year, but Stewart will tell you, I mean Stewart doesn’t even have to dress up for this, he looks like an Ancient Briton before he starts. (LAUGHTER)
PAUL: He certainly does, doesn’t he. He’s got that grungy sort of look about him. But he’s going to build a fort or something on the Castle Mound this year, so it’s going to be bigger and better than ever I think.
CHARLES: There is a whole variety on this year as part of the Heritage Festival Weekend, which as Charles rightly says is inside the Cathedral Precincts and on Cathedral Square, and this year is brought to you care of Vivacity Cultural Trust, and organised between ourselves and the Cathedral of course as well, and our other partners as well who’ve been involved in this. And it’s basically as the Dean says it’s commemorating two thousand years and more of Peterborough’s history. We’ve got a huge medieval market on the Green in front of the Cathedral Precincts, we’ve got costume re-enactments from Romans right through to World War Two, we’ve got falconry displays out on the Square we’ve got World War Two military vehicles, we’ve got a First World War tank out there as well.
CHARLES: You’d better get your own car out there as well.
STEWART: I am indeed yes.
CHARLES: He’s upgraded on the scrappage as well at last.
STEWART: Well I thought it was one way of dealing with both the traffic wardens and the fountains. But yes, out on the Square we’re going to have a First World War tank outside there and a recruiting party, and actually there was a tank in Peterborough actually in the nineteen twenties they actually installed one in Central Park at one time …
PAUL: Did they?
STEWART: .. a memorial, and they got melted down for scrap.
PAUL: Who drove that, Charlie Swift?
STEWART (LAUGHS) You’d have to ask him that question to be honest. We’ve got live music from all sorts of period musicians. We’ve got an audience with Henry the Eighth and Catherine of Aragorn inside the Cathedral. You can go in there for a royal audience and ask them all sorts of questions and favours.
PAUL: Be careful if your name’s Catherine by the way
STEWART: Yes. No no no, this is early days yet. So they’re still a bit kind of lovey-dovey at the moment. We’ve got medieval knights battling, we’ve got Napoleonic soldiers, we’ve got all sorts of things going off.
CHARLES: Have we got the Romans again?
STEWART: We have got the Romans soldiers, yes the Romans are back so ..
CHARLES: I was part of their shield wall last year.
STEWART: You were indeed.
CHARLES: It was quite hard work.
STEWART: It was yes, in fact I think the Dean missed his calling last year. We found actually that he would have made a very good Roman soldier.
PAUL: Would he? Would he?
CHARLES: A bit immovable object.
STEWART: (LAUGHS) I wasn’t going to say that but there we go.
PAUL: Does he look nice in the tunic and all the armour?
CHARLES: I’ve got the legs.
STEWART: Well he does wear something that quite resembles a skirt a lot of the time, so yes.
CHARLES: The brew monks. Are the brew monks back?
STEWART: The brew monks are back again so there’s a beer tent.
CHARLES: Yes a medieval beer tent.
STEWART: There is.
CHARLES: They’ve done some scholarly research on how beer was made in the Saxon times. They didn’t have sugar so they used honey, and they didn’t have hops so used, I don’t know, wormwood or something. It’s very tasty, but they were dressed as monks and going round saying bless you my son, bless you my son, and round the corner came the Archbishop of Canterbury last year, and they started ..
CHARLES: .. bless you too. He won’t be with us this year, but it was really rather fun, the pseudo-monks suddenly met their nemesis I think in the real one.
STEWART: Indeed, yes.
PAUL: I’m going to suggest you two do a show together. (LAUGHTER)
CHARLES: Why not? If the cheque’s right.
STEWART: I was going to say, for a suitable inducement I’m sure we can be persuaded. It’s ten ’till five on Saturday and it’s ten ’till five on Sunday, although the arena displays are only between twelve and four so as not to interrupt the Cathedral Service in the morning.
CHARLES: And before they can come to that.
PAUL: And it’s all inside the Cathedral?
STEWART: Indeed. Inside the Precincts and also outside on Cathedral Square as well. We’ve got loads of things going on as part of that.
CHARLES; Big concert on Saturday night.
STEWART: There is a concert on Saturday night inside the Cathedral.
CHARLES: City Orchestra.
STEWART: There is also as well out in St John’s Church we’ve got Terry Jones doing a talk on medieval history of course, Terry Jones, famous for Monty Python, and he’s doing a very entertaining talk Saturday night as part of that as well.
PAUL: And we’ll try and get him on hopefully between now and then.
STEWART: We are arranging hopefully probably on Wednesday.
PAUL: Terry Jones on the show! And the Dean of Peterborough in a tunic. What more could you want?