Bertie was used to hearing his mother talk to others about his “fancies”. At first, he wasn’t sure what she meant, but then she’d be rattling off an assortment of things that he was currently interested in. For some time, it had been dinosaurs, which morphed into an obsession with insects. These weren’t as fascinating, but were more likely to be found in the small patch of space loosely called a backyard that he was allowed to play in when it wasn’t too hot, and not too wet.

That particular fancy was short-lived. His mother was unimpressed by the assortment of insects that he’d managed to find and keep in glass jars. Bertie had lined them up along a shelf in his bedroom, carefully writing out the common and scientific names on stickers which he placed on the lids. He’d come home one day from school to find the row of jars gone, and his mother had been vague about what had happened to them.

So, he’d had to find a new interest. On a visit to see his grandparents, he was told to entertain himself before lunch. He headed into the sunroom on the back verandah, with its odd assortment of chairs and a coffee table covered on top and underneath with books. Pop had wide-ranging interests, and could speak knowledgeably on almost any topic. Bertie wanted to be just like his Pop when he grew up. Everyone listened to what Pop had to say, even if he could sometimes see his parents exchange a glance when Pop got wound up on a subject.

Bertie rummaged through the pile of books, looking for one with pictures. Most of them were just words, but on the shelf underneath, he found a book with knights on the cover. Men wearing armour and what looked like tights were fighting each other, some of them on horses. Flags were fluttering in the breeze and there was a grand castle in the distance. Cross-legged on the floor, Bertie flicked through the book, following parts of the story through the pictures which showed battle scenes in minute detail.

Nana called him three times before he heard her. As he took his seat at the table, Pop asked him where he’d been. Bertie smiled at him, a faraway look on his face. ‘In Agincourt.’

Pop frowned. ‘Where?’

‘At the Battle of Agincourt.’

Pop nodded at him, a smile of recognition lining his face. ‘October 25, 1415.’

Bertie smiled back, the clashing of metal and of swords shuddering into shields still ringing in his ears.

I’m participating in this blogging challenge for the month of January, which supports starting the year on the “write” track. You can find out more about the challenge, join in and read other posts here.

Photo: helmets spotted at a medieval fair