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My History With N.T.B.'s

1978, I was out of work, my 1st marriage had collapsed and I was broke.
I was being treated to a pint of beer at The Ilkeston Light Car And Motor Bike Club at The Rutland Hotel in Ilkeston, Derby. My mate, Bob Gregory, introduced me to a couple, John and Jill Litchfield.
They showed me photographs and gave a short history.
"Are you interested?" John said, "No", I replied.
"We've got a meeting this Thursday at The County Tavern, High Pavement in Nottingham and we'll buy you a pint".
So I attended my first meeting of The Norfolke Trayned Bandes that Thursday.
The pub was full of people in strange clothes, singing strange songs and offering free beer. "We've a Muster (What?) this weekend at Turton Tower (Or somewhere) in Bolton; come along and watch, we'll give you a free lift".
Friday evening at John's abode, I was told, " You'll have to wear these clothes so that you won't stand out".
White shirt, long white wool fisherman socks and ribbons, cutdown jeans and an orange-red jacket and not "stand out"?
Later a clapped out Transit van turned up full of weirdos in strange clothes and with long stubby poles called "Pikes".
This vehicle eventually got us through a major storm to a drenched "campsite with running water" in Bolton.

A large communal tent was quickly erected and we all dived in.

Come morning came the smell of burning sausage. Fire starter Litchfield had a campfire going and was torturing something over it. I was offered this morsel and ate it avidly, food at last!

We then trooped down to the King Wilhelm and when it opened once again free beer was on hand, plus bread and cheese.

Thus are the broke and starving snared.

Arriving back at the sunny - albeit wet -campsite, these newly acquired "friends" began to gather in formation as I watched with intoxicated interest.

A nasty little man with a funny helmet and carrying a green flag started screaming out, "Has this man been given pikedrill? Do it now!"

I protested that I was only here to watch, this fell on deaf ears.

And then it went down hill..............

I got my five minute training, eight foot pike and a place in the centre of the pike block. (So I couldn't run away!)

Then we marched off, regiments of musket and pike plus cannon making their way through the sun-lit trees and over the drystone walls to the battle valley. Singing, yelling and cursing.

It was unbelievable!

We arrived at the top of a slope covered with clumps of nettles and began footdrill. Someone complained at being marched through the nettles, so we were marched through the nettles again!

Huge cannon were dragged onto the field by scores of men, set up and.......

"Have A Care!!!", nobody warned me that the really large cannon that I was standing next to, was about to go off!


After I had recovered and got my hearing back, I noticed movement on the farside of this valley. Sharp pointy things were appearing on the horizon, followed by pikemen, musketeers and cannon.

I had a bad feeling about this.........

To be continued........