Tuesday, 7 September 2010
This year, I watched the men carefully, as they fired during the battle for the castle.
The muskets are provided by someone with a van parked just around the corner. If one of them breaks, they can go and get another one!
Everyone has a small leather bag, full of gunpowder. At the bottom of the bag, is a little 'drawer' which they can pull out, giving them a measured amount of poweder. They tip this into the barrel of the gun, and replace the measure. Then, they take a cap/charge from a separate pocket in the top of the bag, and place it on the hammer. When they pull the trigger, the hammer sparks the charge, and the spark ignites the gunpowder. BANG!
Sometimes, the powder flamed as it left the gun, which was very dramatic. If any was spilled onto the road, it could catch fire, so there was a man with a hosepipe, clearing the ground when needed.
Once, one of the men fired straight up, and the shockwave hit a balcony above him, and some render fell off, and hit him on the head!
I was covered in a combination of soot, and flakes of paint!
Now and then, they arranged to set of a series of charges at once, which was very dramatic.
I can recommend this event to everyone - but don't forget your earplugs!