For a few years I was a re-enactor at the Battle of Camlann Tintagel. I participated in longbow archery displays wearing medieval costume and fought in battles.
Image – Tintagel Web
Battle of Camlann 2004. Image – Tintagel Web
My family at Battle of Camlann 2005. Image- Tintagel Web
Battle of Camlann Tintagel 2010
I had been a member of Wolfshead Bowmen performing archery displays at Castle Cary in Devon. We practiced at Michelham Priory Sussex and attended the magnificent festival at Herstmonceux. My best shot was through a small hole in a shield wall at ground level where the arrow slid between the legs of a kneeling soldier wearing a kilt!Michaelham Priory Sussex
Dancing has been one of my life-long passions. From infancy I attempted to imitate dancers I had seen on television. As the years progressed I learnt ballet and during my 20s toured nightclubs as part of a dance troupe and podium dancer.
From 1999 I learnt Morris dancing with Wolfshead & Vixen, attended belly dancing classes and in recent years I learnt Cornish dancing in Cornwall.
Rochester Sweeps 2000
Rochester Sweeps2002 – Our feet didn’t touch the ground!
See video footage of Wolfshead and Vixen dancing at The Swan in West Peckham 2002. My son was only 10 years of age and maintained a good rhythm on the drum while I danced with Vixen.
The following videos are not good quality but they show how hard the team worked and how good the dances were then and still are today.
A few months after moving to Cornwall I was contacted by an acquaintance who enquired whether I would be interested in becoming an apprentice Teazer for the Penzance Obby ‘Oss Penglaz. This is how I met Cassandra who considered me for the role with the Golowan Festival due to my past membership with a reputable Morris team and martial arts training that requires a high level of fitness. I performed on the streets of Penzance with Cassandra as part of my Teazer training for two years.
I also participated in a procession with Cassandra for the first May Horns celebration in Penzance in 2009.
When we were no longer required for the Golowan festival due to political disagreements (should you require further information concerning this you will find it on the Media Page) we created our own Guise team Boekka and re-named Cassandra’s ‘Obby ‘Oss Penkevyll. We were then able to tour without restriction. Boekka has visited Scotland, Wales and Kent and I am now the main Teazer for Penkevyll.
An experimental dance was devised by my talented son Rhys for our 2013 Ceildih spot at Teignmouth folk festival. Members of the band Muse attended this particular school, so dancing to their music was also a tribute to them. The sharp, fast moves were accurately performed by the dancers who were myself, Rhys, Megan and Denise. It was a joy to perform and all involved were exceptional.
I also danced with a Cornwall Morris side for two years.
Images – Dougie Latham
Unfortunately the Cornwall Morris side did not provide the ‘dark and edgy’ performance I was accustomed to and it was also decided by officers that all dancers were to change their kit to brightly coloured shirts after giving me permission to wear the black I was accustomed to. This was one of the reasons for leaving and although some may think it petty, there were other more serious reasons too.
The first side I joined in Kent had a high standard of performance accompanied by a dark energy. After performing with an exceptional Morris team in the past I could not settle for anything less.
I now have freedom of expression within my role as Teazer of the ‘Oss which confirmed for me that Morris dancing is no longer an option.
Unfortunately at times when one leaves a Morris team there are repercussions. Certain officers and members who contrive to appear faultless to others but also seek revenge can group together and seek out allies. They then create and spread vile false rumours in order to destroy the reputation of a former member:
“People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked… The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all.”
Life moves on and I am now learning Appalachian Flat Foot dancing to maintain my energy levels.
I dance at folk music sessions and anywhere I choose as all I need is my dancing board and shoes. I also participate in Cornish dancing when the opportunity arises.
My main focus however is my Teazer role and performance connected to ‘Osses and Mari Lwyds. The Squire of Beltane Border Morris complimented me on my Teazer performance at the All Hallows Gathering 2016. Hearing this from an Officer of a team who give 100% during their performances was indeed a compliment as they are one of the best Morris sides around.
Cassandra is no longer Teazer for Penkevyll after an impressive 20 years so from 2017 (after 8 years of performing alongside her) I have now taken on the main role. I also have two apprentice Teazers to train.
I am also the proud owner and rider of Morvargh the Sea ‘Oss I take her to events when Penkevyll is unavailable and occasionally they appear together.
The fun continues….