Saturday 15 July 2023

Eboracum Roman Festival York 2023

 Eboracum Roman Festival was fabulous fun!

This year of 2023, my train travel to York proved to be on time and, thankfully, not disrupted.

L to R- Me, Graham Sumner,
Jacquie Rogers, Simon Elliot,
Jason Monaghan, Linda J Trafford,
Alison Morton, Ruth Downie,
Kate Cunningham, Simon J Turney

It was a brilliant short trip. I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to get down there and meet up with lots of lovely authors [some new, some met last year], some of the re-enactors, and the browsing/buying public who came to talk to us at our Bibliotheca (author tent).

My thanks to Jim Butler, Event Manager, and the team of organisers at Yorkshire Museum for giving us an excellent pitch for our marquee. The marquee had no frontage which meant we could be easily seen but was a tad short at the sides to fit in x 10 author tables. I’m so very thankful that the light rain was fleeting and that my books weren’t damaged, always a problem with open air venues.

Fraternising with the enemy!

Deciding how many books to take was driven by the size of my wheelie suitcase though more so by what weight I could lug up and down staircases in train stations (lifts not always available). Since I was only spending an extra day in York on the Friday, my changes of ‘civvies’ clothes were minimal, and not weighty, but my new re-enactment Celtic outfit is quite bulky and certainly heavier than a normal dress. I packed 27 books, and I’m utterly delighted to say that I sold 21 of them and gifted x 1 book for our Prize Draw. Hardly any to bring home, yet I’m still mystified that my case remained heavy!

Fortuna favours the brave!

Meeting up with an ex-Crooked Cat author friend Angela Wren on the Thursday night for dinner and a chat was marvellous. Since Angela is reasonably familiar with the area, being a Yorkshire lass, she booked a table at a fabulous French Bistro which I thoroughly enjoyed.

Look at your fabulous phalerae!
Meeting the Legatus-
legion commanding officer

My Friday was taken up by a good wander around the central area of York, unencumbered by any luggage, and I spent about 3 hours in the Yorkshire Museum. I’d not visited since 2016 and took plenty of time to view, and photograph, the Roman exhibits. I don’t recall on any previous visits to the Yorkshire Museum spending time in the upstairs library but I had the room mostly to myself this time for a good browse. There were some fabulous early copies of non-fiction published about Roman Britain, amongst many other interesting topics. The evening was delightful in the company of new-to-me author Jacquie Rogers. A few drinks and dinner set us up for the Saturday!

With the
supreme commander! 

Saturday was mostly dry, just the lightest of showers sending visitors to the event scurrying under umbrellas or trees along the main pathways. The event was busy right from the opening of the Museum garden gates at 10 am, which was great for us at the Bibliotheca because the interest was constant as the day wore on. Many people just browsed, many bought from all ten of us (9 authors plus Graham who is an illustrator), and some were return customers from previous years. I sold a few copies this way though my neighbour Simon J Turney sold many. Simon has an impressive fan following who come to York Eboracum Festival every year just to buy his latest novels – signed, of course.  

Our Saturday evening was super-convivial, meaning we had a few drinks in the Eagle and Child pub before wandering along the few streets it took to reach the restaurant that Tracey Turney (our spectacular special author event planner) had booked. The Ask Italian restaurant is in the most spectacular building which was in former days the Assembly Hall of the regency era. (I'm not sure if there was more than one).  

Sunday was a repeat though a hotter day with no rain. I thoroughly enjoyed the conversations with potential customers and signed a fair-few books myself. When it was time to change and head for my train home it was bittersweet. The experience was made so much better by the excellent and congenial company of my fellow authors.

I was naturally very delighted to meet some impressively kitted-out Romans and I also got a glimpse of Queen Cartimandua and her Druid (didn’t quite talk to them but next time for sure)

Queen Cartimandua and her Druid,
with a legionary soldier! 

My thanks also go to Tracey Turney, Simon J Turney's wife, for keeping us all in the loop and very organised. She's a star!

Tracey Turney on the right! 


That was my far-flung book signing/selling event but I’m gearing up for another few large events in Aberdeenshire this summer.

On Saturday July 22nd I’ll be at the Banchory Agricultural Show, a fair which I’ve not attended for some time. I’m looking forward to donning one of my Celtic outfits for the day, but which one is yet to be revealed. (This might well be a late decision depending on whether it is hot or cool)

SlĂ inte!

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