Highlandgames in Hank

Ceremonial opening of the Games by the mayor of Hank

     On september 3, 2006 the Higlandgames were held in Hank, Holland. The uproar was characterized by a strong cultural support. Strong men in kilts strifed for the trophee. Famous parts of the contest are the spectacular 'tossing the caber', 'throwing the hammer'and 'weight for height. De winner was knighted by Mary, queen of Scots.

She travelled a lot during her life and had a comfortable tent at her disposal. We furnished it completely in the style of her time. We even brought two Mary's! The young one, just entering the Scottish soil after her youth in the Court of France, and her ripened alter-ego, living on the day before her decapitation.

So there were two Mary's, both with their own tasks and royal households. Joukje Ponjee, the mature one, stayed overnight in her travel-tent, accompanied by a member of her staff. She fell asleep on a bed of straw, covered by some twenty sheepskin and colourful tartans. The next morning we questioned her footman if he had slept well. 'No, not at all", he replied. The queen had claimed his mattress because the straw was hurting her royal bones, so he decided to be on guard during the night. Mary woke up in Scottish mist, a soft drizzle of velvety, tiny drops. When we arrived early in the morning to wake up our queen the fires in the camp were already lit and we found our Mary in full consiousness behind a delightful cup of herbal tea.

The Games were initiated by a grand parade to the tournament field. The mayor performed the ritual opening by blessing the four wind directions. In our tent we informed many interested people about Mary's history. The male spectators kept their eyes mainly on the younger Mary, played by Roxanne Leith. She was filmed constantly. The parade through the swampy grass reminded her of the Scottish climate. But in our tent we lived in the comfort of electricity. Mary was very surprised when her attendant warmed her feet with a hot air dryer. The public was amused.

The holy sunday-morning mass and the copious medieval dinner were filmed by a TV-crew. After the mass our bishop, Peter Heppener, visited the medieval village. The catholic dignatary wasn't prepared for the enthousiastic re-enacters who placed a sword on his throat. 'We want his head', the women shouted. On the same moment he was blinded by flashlights. Lukily he survived the situation, due to the efforts of the soldiers of Bonnie Prince Charlie.

The tournament was finished with the prize-distribution. Both our Mary’s were accompanied by beautifully costumed guards of honour an a pipersband. The royal procession slowly strode to the stage where the contesters awaited them in great expectation. The winner of the Highlandgames, for the fourth time in advance was the Frisian giant Hans Lolkema, called in full admiration by his home-front 'the bully of Sleat". He was the one to kiss the young Mary, queen of Scots and he was knighted by her sword. 'I was so afraid to cut his ear of', she told me afterwards. At the end of the ceremony he unsuspectedly demonstrated his immense power by lifting the maiden queen up high in the air, so the spectators glimpsed the queen's sexy legs and her incredably precious lace underware. A few days later half a million could wath the TV-program “Cor op zondag” by TV West Brabant.


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