The Battle of Hastings was cancelled because of inclement weather. Thousands, from France as well as England, went home disappointed. This was Sunday’s re-enactment, to be exact, but it might well have been the real thing, 946 years ago. After all, it was rain the night before the return match at Agincourt that so incommoded the French cavalry. If the heavy Norman horses we see on the Bayeux tapestry had wallowed in a muddy Sussex valley, things might have turned out better for King Harold.
Even as things were, the English eventually ended up speaking English, as they had been doing among themselves for several hundred years. If rain had stopped play at Hastings, we should never have enjoyed pork and beef, dukes and villages, chivalry and gentry – but, then, we’d have escaped danger and delay, jealousy and malice, divorce and prison.