Almost as a parallel universe there is a troop of people who love history so much that they re-enact eras - Romans, Saxons and Normans, Medieval knights and of course the Napoleonic era. For many years my Dad (Adrian) in particular was a pikeman in Sir William Wallers Regimente of Foote, for the Roundhead Association, re-enacting fighting against the papist King Charles I as part of the English Civil War.

Looking back over the newspaper cuttings, muster requests and brochures that my Mum had faithfully stashed away and my wealth of memories comes rushing back. I even see that for 1977/78 and for 1978/97 I myself was also a paid up member of the Regimente. My Dad (a carpenter) got a lifetime membership for making Pikes for the whole Regimente.

This all started because my Dad interviewed someone for a job in his workshop who didn't get the job. But this young long haired (controversial then) chap turned out to be Ian Purdon and he did English Civil War reenactment at the weekends. My Dad was interested in history and in no time at all was off at weekends as a parliamentary pikeman - fighting under the command of Colonel Purdon. Now I was very young, at first one or two I think, and so my sister and I stayed with Mum, but we were as young children standing on the sidelines watching and enjoying.

My memories of those reenactments has over time merged but certain moments are very vivid - I think arriving early one morning (Dad camped out with others from the regiment) it was the first time I remember bacon being cooked on a lamp stove. In addition, there was a chap dressed as a preacher and he caught my attention. I can recall him to this day, in black with a puritan conical hat selling oranges and clutching a bible. Ian (Colonel Purdon) bought or showed me one of the oranges - it was punctured/stuffed with cloves and I held object this fascinated and my Mum encouraged me to taste one of the cloves. It was the first time I had tasted one and the flavour today is one I love and savour. Every time now I have mulled wine, or use cloves my childhood memory of Colonel Ian Purdon comes back - it is I think my first sensory memory.

Later I found out that in the Roundhead Association these oranges stuffed with cloves were sold to help folks "ward off the pox" as part of the seventeenth century reenactment of medicine and superstition. Years later how Ian laughed when I thanked him for such.

Now I learn that this friend of my Mum and Dad, Ian Purdon, Colonel Purdon, has passed away - it's a sad loss, he was very kind and interested in me when I was very young. But more than anything else, my memory is of that Orange stuffed with cloves by which he kept me free of the pox at that early age. For that, if nothing else, thank you Ian. Now you have joined Sir William Waller himself, and others from that Regimente of Foote, march well, and thank you.

Much love, Ed. X