I’ve written this blog in two posts as there was so much information to impart and I thought I would do this in more manageable chunks – not to mention that all those photos, photo credits, and videos were beginning to make my head spin! :O
So on to the evening of the All Hallows Gathering. First of all we descended as a ravening hoard to the Cobweb Inn for some much-needed victuals and of course, beer! As is traditional at these Morris beanfeasts, someone started up a rousing and appropriate tune which we all merrily joined in with.
Once we were all adequately fed and watered, it was time to bring out the Osses and start our visitation of the pubs with our final resting place being the Wellington Hotel.
I had set up an evening’s entertainment of song, dance, music and storytelling – however, it soon became apparent that we had underestimated the sheer volume of people who descended on the pub. The poor bar stuff were doing their best but they didn’t have a moment’s peace until many hours later. Without a PA system it was useless even trying to tell a story, so a note for next year should we be in the same venue – book PA early! There also wasn’t the physical room for everyone to sit down let alone brandish musical instruments as people were sitting on the floor and stairs – so music and dancing was out. So that left belting out some rousing songs, which is what happened for the rest of the evening. My apologies to anyone who came along hoping to see a well-ordered evening’s entertainment although Steve Podger was gallant in his continuing role as MC making sure that everyone that wanted to perform got their turn.
The high point of the evening for me was when Will Fox got up to sing Tam Lin. This is a magical ballad of extraordinary potency. Although it is specific to Scotland the motif of transformation by the Fair Folk is repeated in many cultures worldwide. Traditionally, and certainly I have observed this myself, it is very difficult to sing and only certain folk can manage it without recourse to reading the words or stumbling/forgetting the lyrics. Will Fox managed it superbly. It was pure magic, I was very impressed and told him so the next day! I had intended to include an excerpt here as the whole song, although recorded at the time, will take some time to upload to YouTube. However, it’s not ready yet so in the meantime enjoy this photo of the young man concerned and Watch This Space….!
The evening eventually ended with the organising team having a quiet drink at the other end of the bar and reviewing the day’s events. We were all a bit staggered at how well it all went, how relaxed the atmosphere and how much so many people enjoyed it. We then said our farewells and departed for our various hotels and B & Bs.
The next day was spent getting feedback from the local businesses who were without exception delighted with the way that trade picked up at what was usually a very quiet time of year. So, the Gathering was excellent news for the local economy and the Chairman of Boscastle Chamber of Commerce was very pleased indeed and is looking forward to us coming again next year. This has also been confirmed by the Museum of Witchcraft and we have decided that it would be best for all concerned that in future the date for the All Hallows Gathering will be the Saturday nearest to Halloween. This means that next time we shall be doing it all over again on Saturday 29th October 2016. There will be a few new additions as well so lots to look forward to…!
At this juncture I would like to give a particular vote of thanks to my fellow conspirators who helped so much to get the All Hallows Gathering off the ground.
It was Angie who a year ago persuaded and encouraged me to pursue my idea of creating the All Hallows Gathering as a potential annual event. I was a bit daunted by the immensity of it, but she said that she would help and suggested that I ask others to do the same. I’m so grateful for that support, also not forgetting the skill and hard work in designing our publicity pamphlets and helping me network to get other Morris teams onside. All this she managed to fit in, as well as taking the big step towards self-employment this year for her newly set-up business of prints and greetings cards. Angie and her husband Dougie make a powerful and hugely creative partnership – check out their website and Facebook group here:
Heartfelt thanks to you Angie – awesome work! 😀
Steve I got to know through Angie as he is the percussionist in Wytchwood Morris and lately Shadow Hunters. I asked Steve to be our Master of Ceremonies as he not only is a famous raconteur within the Morris world, he also has a resounding voice which carries well in a crowd. Avidly interested in folklore and strange stories he was the best choice for this role and he produced sterling work; not only throughout the day but also during the evening where he kept perfect order with humour and aplomb. Many, many thanks Steve – you were fabulous! 😀
Phil & Viv Larcher
It was a random message from Viv and Phil suggesting we meet up and bring Penkevyll to meet up with their Mari Lwyd again (they were visiting Cornwall to celebrate their anniversary) that first started all this off. Little did they know what they were inadvertently setting off! They are a very creative couple and produce some really unusual works of art some of which are on sale in the Museum of Witchcraft. Check out their Facebook page here:
Thanks for staying with it guys and for giving so much help and support all the way from Wales.
John & Sue Exton
Although not a member of the organising team, I wanted to mention John and Sue because they are very new to the world of the Mari Lwyds. Their Mari has only recently been birthed, so to speak, and the All Hallows Gathering was Mari Celeste’s first outing and debut as a fully fledged Mari. Anyone who was present at the Gathering will agree with me I am sure, that both of them performed splendidly and the crowd loved them. Well done John and Sue, thank you for travelling down to see us and we hope that this was just the first of many more visits! 🙂
Finally, none of this would have been possible without the loyal and loving support of my partner Laetitia. In fact, if it wasn’t for her brilliant idea in the first place of making ‘a bit of a do’ of the Osses meeting at the Museum of Witchcraft, I wouldn’t be writing this blog and hundreds of people would have been deprived of enjoying such a spectacle that the All Hallows Gathering has become! Thank you m’dear – we make a formidable team! 😀
So at last I have reached the end of this particular blog and believe me I am relieved to do that! It has been very intense but oh so powerful an experience! Before we left Boscastle last weekend we were hearing that some people as they were booking out of their accommodation, they were already booking up for next year’s event!
Thank you one and all who came and shared such a magical experience with us. See you all next year – and remember it’s on Saturday 29th October.