Our guise team Boekka had a wonderful time at our yearly visit to Chepstow meeting with the Mari Lwyds and friends. This year the temperature was a little warmer.
We arrived on Friday and spent the evening in the atmospheric bar of the historic Greenman Backpackers Hostel. A warm welcome awaits and the staff makes a concerted effort to ensure their customers are comfortable. http://greenmanbackpackers.co.uk/chepstow-accommodation
Mike who runs the hostel is also a member of Widders Morris and organizer of the Wassail event. It is an extremely busy weekend for him.
The event began earlier this year with the Maris meeting outside the Greenman Backpackers Hostel. They performed the usual banter and song to gain entry to the hostel and then participated in some traditional singing which echoed through the ancient basement of the building.
My ‘Oss Morvargh made her debut at this event and received a lot of attention and admiration. Phil Larcher rider of the Mari Lwyd complimented me on her decoration which is praise indeed as he has a strong connection with the spirit of the Mari and her decoration has a primitive style.
The procession through the town was downhill, but while carrying an ‘Oss, a slow and steady pace is needed to walk through ancient wet and cobbled streets.
After the procession we gathered for the Wassail by the castle. We had time to prepare our larger ‘Oss Penkevyll ridden by an extremely fit and muscular Welsh rider. His family were delighted to witness this and as he was so tall Penkevyll had a view way above the crowd.
We enjoyed the performances from Widders Morris and Styx of Stroud. Morvargh danced to the music and I had a wonderful ‘work out’!
During the Wassail at Chepstow castle, we kept Penkevyll on higher ground as the grass was extremely muddy due to the copious amount of rain days before the event.
After the Wassail we made our way to the Chepstow Castle Inn where a Beauty Pageant had been arranged for the Maris. Penkevyll could not join us as she was far too tall to enter the building.
Morvargh received a huge cheer from the audience when she appeared and many journalists required information about her and how she fits in with Cornish tradition. Owning an ‘Oss or a ‘beast’ has become quite fashionable in recent years as many new ones are appearing. Penkevyll however was one of the first to appear in West Cornwall after Penglaz in Penzance.
There were 21 Maris and ‘Osses in attendance this year, 10 more than last year. Even though the Beauty Pageant was organized and each Mari or ‘Oss received a rosette they were all so beautiful that it would be difficult to pick out one winner. All of them were winners that day as each has a unique beauty due to the significant amount of hard work that has gone into their creation.
Early in the evening it was time for the meeting of the Welsh and English on the Old Wye Bridge. A projector screen was erected this year so that those who could not get onto the bridge were able to watch the ceremony. We decided not to take the ‘Osses to the bridge this year as we wished to enjoy this part of the day without distraction. My apprentice teaser had done fabulously assisting with Penkevyll and Morvaugh during the day so we had all earned the reward and freedom to enjoy the atmosphere.
Scarlet definitely has the wild mischievous energy needed for being a teaser.
Our good friend Jason Semmens held our Cornish flag and did an impressive job of displaying it with the Welsh and English flags.
After the meeting on the bridge we arrived at the Chepstow Museum for the Maris to once again sing the traditional Pwmco and gain entry. The handler of Mari Pontypwyl offered my apprentice teaser the opportunity to guide her Mari into the Museum. I followed them to direct her. Earlier in the day she also had the opportunity to ride one of David Pitts smaller ‘Osses so it was an event full of new and delightful experiences for her.
The chepstow Wassail event is a long and active day, but we enjoyed every minute. Team Boekka worked well together and I give thanks to Cassandra, Scarlet, our rider and John Isaac (who captured some fantastic images) for all their hard work.
Cheers to you all this Wassail season!