The year 2020 has many special dates and anniversaries but unfortunately the Covid Virus has prevented people from celebrating in the way they had planned. August 8th marks our Cornish Guise team Boekka’s 10th birthday. So much has happened in this time.
The following photographs of Boekka in the days when our ‘Oss Penkevyll briefly performed as Penglaz the Penzance ‘Oss.
Mazey Eve 2009
Devon and Cornwall Pagan Conference 2010
We were in the developmental stages of creating a Guise team that could travel to other parts of Cornwall and the U.K., however we did not realize that Penglaz was not permitted to perform outside of Penzance (although this now seems to have changed).
When Boekka and our ‘Oss were no longer required in Penzance this set us free to re-name our ‘Oss and perform anywhere we desired. It took us a while to change our image and the following photograph was at her naming ceremony on 6th March 2011.
Boekka then made it’s debut with Penkevyll at Spring Equinox 2011 in Crean St Buryan. The Teazers were now working on choreographed dances with a band consisting of a hurdy gurdy and drummers.
Creating and running a Guise team is hard work organizing practices, events etc. A few more members joined which inspired Rhys to teach a Morris team, alongside the existing Guise team. Some onlookers did not agree as they considered Morris dancing an English tradition rather than Cornish.
In 2011 we attended various events shown in the following photographs.
Cornwall Pride 2011
It also seemed to be a year for media work! We appeared with Sue Perkins on a TV program All Roads Lead Home and also in Paul Merton’s Caravanning Adventures.
Rochester Sweeps Festival was our first weekend away to an event and Kent is a 300 mile journey. Penkevyll caused quite a stir as it seemed that no one in Kent had seen a skull ‘Oss before.
In 2012 the Morris side connected to Boekka grew to 12 members. More dances and events were introduced and as we had no musician at this time, the teams performed with percussion only while Laetitia taught herself to play melodeon. We also hired a minibus and travelled to Scotland in March to perform at the Scottish Pagan Conference.
We were invited to perform for the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic in Boscastle at their Charmday event.
We also performed at Godolphin Fair
In Marazion on a hot summer day.
It did not take long for Laetitia to learn tunes for Boekka composed by Rhys our rider.
Rhys also played percussion on occasions for the Teazer dances choreographed by Laetitia.
Teignmouth Folk Festival
Pasty Day Redruth
By 2013 some members left for various reasons and others had joined us. There was a lack of regular commitment in 2012 so we were unable to reach a high standard of performance with a limited number of fit, outstanding dancers. We continued with our new members taught by Rhys. A local man who is a former Cotswold dancer joined us and he also rides Penkevyll on occasions. He has now been with Boekka for 7 years.
Bodmin Riding Heritage Day
North Inn Pendeen
May morning on Chapel Carn Brea
In 2014 two Morris team members left and it was difficult to get new recruits as performers were more interested in Cornish entertainment. Rhys tried to maintain a high standard of performance that some found it difficult to cope with. We continued with the few dancers we had and the Cornish Teazer and ‘Oss part of Boekka remained intact.
Teignmouth Folk Festival
Wreckers Day of Dance
Bodmin Riding Heritage Day
Chapel Carn Brea
St Pirans Day
St Pirans Day – we usually team up with the Whippletree band in the processions
In 2015 Rhys moved away from the area to pursue his career. Laetitia took over the role as teacher for the Morris dances as well as Teazer dances. She was also needed as a dancer and unable to play music at this time, therefore most dances were done with percussion.
Chepstow Wassail 2015
Boekka acquired another ‘Oss rider who was the shortest rider we ever had, so Penkevyll did not tower above the other ‘Osses as much at this event. The rider also ran a local Morris team, so Laetitia danced with them on a few occasions.
St Pirans Day Redruth 2015
Trewellard Beer Festival
Wreckers Day of Dance
After Wreckers Day of Dance, Laetitia felt the Morris team was not progressing and decided to close down the Morris team linked to Boekka. She worked hard on keeping it going however the difficulty of recruiting in Cornwall and maintaining a high standard of performance was not possible. Laetitia was then able to concentrate on the Teazer and ‘Oss performances and become more involved with the local Morris team.
All Hallows Dark Gathering 2015
At this event Laetitia performed with the Morris team while Cassandra was Teazer for Penkevyll
2016 was a busier year, as well as performing with Boekka we were attending many events with the local Morris team. It seemed to work well together as our main ‘Oss rider at this time performed with both.
Chepstow Wassail 2016
Boekka was asked to perform at a Handfasting in Lamorna. Our other ‘Oss rider who lives locally volunteered to do this one. The torrential rain outside, meant that Penkevyll was well and truly soaked during her performance that evening!
St Pirans 2016
All Hallows Dark Gathering 2016
It was a busy summer, Cassandra and Laetitia had worked hard with the local Morris team, but it was not the type of performance that satisfied Laetitia, so just before the Dark Gathering I decided to leave the team. In retaliation the founder member decided not to ride Penkevyll at the Dark Gathering by letting us know at the evening before the event took place. Fortunately another Morris dancer who attended but was not performing that weekend, kindly offered to stand in until we found another rider.
In 2017 when Cassandra handed on the full role of Main Teazer to Laetitia, she was then able to concentrate on only this performance without dividing her energies. Life with Boekka began to settle into a good routine and the energies improved immensely.
Chepstow Wassail 2017
With Laetitia as main Teazer, Cassandra then focused on her drumming and met some excellent percussionists who assisted in her development.
St Pirans Day Redruth 2017
While Laetitia teazed Penkevyll at this event, Cassandra played percussion with the Whippletree band.
It was decided at Beltane 2017 to give Penkevyll a total change of image, getting rid of unwanted residue from the past and making a fresh start. Penkevyll had a new mane, new dress and her tatters were the Cornish colours of black, white and gold.
Even though Cassandra had already handed over the Teazer role she couldnt resist posing for with our new image and her ‘trusty’ snapper!
After giving Penkevyll this new image, Laetitia’s creative juices were flowing, so she purchased a small ‘Obby ‘Oss of her own who is known as Morvargh the Sea ‘Oss. It is a good idea to have a smaller ‘Oss so Laetitia can ride Morvargh if Penkevyll is unable to appear at an event. The foal is a welcome addition and popular with Boekka fans.
Tintagel Carnival 2017
All Hallows Dark Gathering 2017
Morvargh made her debut at the Dark Gathering 2017 during the afternoon. Ridden by Laetitia, she performed with Wreckers Morris during their Song of the Sea.
2018 brought a surprising change to Boekka. A younger man contacted us with a desire to join a ‘dark and edgy’ team. We tried him out as rider for Penkevyll and he had good potential. He connected with the spiritual side of ‘Oss riding and treats Penkevyll with the utmost care and respect, as both of these aspects are extremely important. ‘Osses are not to be treated merely as puppets for one’s convenience and/or ego which sadly occurs, particularly now that owning an ‘Oss has become a growing fashionable ‘trend’. Laetitia also acquired two trainee Teazers that each connect with Penkevyll in their own unique way. One of them also rides Morvargh on occasions.
Chepstow Wassail 2018
Penkevyll’s riders were unavailable for Chepstow, however Laetitia managed to find a young, tall, muscular Welshman to ride Penkevyll during the afternoon, so in the evening, we had the freedom to enjoy the ceremony on the bridge without an ‘Oss to distract us.
We spent the summertime training our new ‘Oss rider and Teazers who made their official debut at the next event.
All Hallows Dark Gathering 2018
Cassandra also began drumming with wonderful Beltane as she enjoys their wild rhythms which are second to none!
It was also wonderful for Laetitia to re-connect with her former Morris team from nearly 20 years ago. This gave her the opportunity to come ‘full circle; by performing her last Morris dance with Vixen at the All Hallows Dark Gathering… a place where magical things happen!
2019 had a wonderful start with the Chepstow Wassail as we suggested that Beorma Morris may enjoy this event. It was fabulous to catch up with friends we had not seen for a while as we have missed them performing at the Dark Gathering with us. They enjoyed the Wassail so much they plan to attend again.
This year the Maris had a Beauty Pageant competition where Boekka were also interviewed. There were 33 Maris and ‘Osses so we were waiting there for quite a while!
Laetitia and her Teazer performed a choreographed dance on the bridge around Cassandra and Penkevyll.
St Pirans Day Redruth 2019
Due to work commitments Laetitia left Penkevyll in the hands of her two Apprentice Teazers at this event and they did a magnificent job!
Tintagel Carnival 2019
Boekka were also joined by a visiting Mari Arianrhod from Wales for the Carnival procession.
All Hallows Dark Gathering 2019
Morvargh took more of an active role this year being ridden by one of our Teazers. Laetitia had stepped in as co-organizer after the sudden departure of the managers from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic.
The Chepstow Wassail had unfortunately been cancelled this year, so we attended the Brecon Wassail which is a smaller event, but were keen to meet up with some of our friends who would be attending with their Maris. Our Teazers also performed with the Welsh dancers, although we thought the dancing had gone better when we rehearsed the night before during our drinking session!
We also managed to fit in Cassandra’s wonderful 70th Birthday Party with special guests – the fabulous Beltane Border Morris. After that 2020 turned into one of the strangest years we have known, events are cancelled and it feels as though the whole world and our lives have changed beyond recognition! Let us hope that soon we can return to some sort of normality as there are so many performers missing the music and dance that is such an important part of our lives!
So there you have it….10 years of Boekka and what an incredible, eventful journey! I wonder what the next 10 years will bring…… we will see you soon!!