In the event, it turned into more than just tent-sitting.
Meroe, Yasna and I arrived early on the Saturday morning and found a spot to pitch our tent (well, gazebo) on the quayside, next to a large marquee which was the venue for various fighting displays during the day and a banquet on Saturday night. We were also perfectly placed to watch the procession which opened the event.
The smooth, flat area was perfect for dancing, although I did have to act as a one-woman cordon to keep passing members of the public a safe distance away when Meroe and Yasna performed their stick dance.
|Yasna and Meroe's stick dance|
It was purely coincidence (honestly) that we set up camp not far from Popty Conwy (Conwy Bakery), which sold the most wonderful cakes. Suffice to say that the staff got to know us quite well over the two days!
|Popty Conwy - cake heaven|
|Yasna and Meroe do some sampling|
The original plan was for Meroe and Yasna to dance in the town while I tent-sat. However Conwy is a beautiful medieval town on the edge of Snowdonia, and its streets are mostly steep, cobbled, and not really suitable for dancing. It was easier to dance by the tent, which was how I found myself joining in with some of the impromptu dances. And then Meroe asked if I could remember a couple of the choreographies. And amazingly, I could. So our sets from then on were a mixture of Meroe and Yasna performing duets, and me joining in on other dances.
|Dancing in front of the tent|
|With the castle as a backdrop|
Sunday started grey and wet; so after we’d set up camp again, it was off to the Popty Conwy for a warming bacon roll. (Yes, we had checked on Saturday that they would be open the next day – we always get our priorities right!) Fortunately the weather brightened up, and we were able to dance. During a break Yasna and I went into town to see the Wool Market and some of the stalls. There was a whole medieval village set up in the park on the outskirts of the town, and jousting beside the castle, but we were just too busy with dancing and henna to visit either of these.
|Sunday morning - it had almost stopped raining|
One event which wasn’t listed but seemed to draw quite a crowd was, "Watch Yasna and Noor eat lemon buns". Admittedly these were huge cakes (and very tasty), but we were a bit surprised by the level of interest which our synchronised cake-eating caused!
|Yasna tackles a lemon bun!|
By the end of the day the sun had come out, and Conwy castle was looking magnificent against a blue sky.
The Tournament was staged as part of Wales' "Year of Legends", and had been months in planning. It was so large, and so well-organised, that it was hard to believe that this was the first time it had been held. A big thank you to Mark Olly for inviting us, and a big thank you to Meroe for inviting me. "Once a Ya Raqs girl, always a Ya Raqs girl", she often says, and I think she may be right – and I had a fabulous time!
|Yasna, Noor and Meroe|