Thursday 29 December 2022

Horse play

Eveningđź‘‹ Sneaking back on here for a quick chat whilst enjoying a few work free days. We've enjoyed a a lowkey Christmas with family and a bit of merrymaking with Mythago on Boxing Day at our local favourite watering hole. Normally we just dance and then follow it on with a music session, but this year we changed it up a bit and threw in a repeat of our Holly and Oak King story in the mix. The weather was fabulous which I think helped matters [plus a glass of mulled blood orange cider!], but we had a very appreciative audience. My parents popped along and incredibly it's the first time they've seen one of our tales in the ten years I've been with the side. We normally only do them at "events", but perhaps doing them at pubs could be the way forward.

So here we are nearly at the end of the Old Year and pondering the approach of the 2023. As per normal my only resolution is to make no resolutions....a nuanced tweak here and there during the forthcoming months as I see fit works much better for me and takes the pressure off. However, I would like to go to a few more type folky events as a visitor rather than always as a performer. I'm aiming for one a month, but time will tell if that proves too ambitious. Fabulous as it is to be part of the action it also means that don't see as much. Weather permitting I'm starting with a local wassail next month in addition to the two Mythago is down for. The Sussex apple howling [wassail] tradition doesn't include any horses as far as I know, so it's been a real pleasure to dance alongside some of the Mari Lwyds both at the Dark Gathering in Cornwall and at the Winter Solstice in Stonehenge. The latter one made me chuckle because the "rider" [the operator] had just the skull on the pole in the stones....normally they are dressed in a gown and bedecked with ribbons as are the ones below. However, this particular one had apparently had a tiff with its troupe and refused to get dressed in the carpark so naked she stayed! More likely it was something to do with the inclement weather conditions on that particular day.

My luck was in when these two lovelies were in the boot of the car parked next to us on our Boscastle jaunt. The owners very kindly let me photograph them. They are the Mari Seren and the Mari Sol [on the right] from Monmouth. The lady had to make some replacement teeth for Sol because the skull was so old!

For those who might be interested in this folk tradition I wrote about it here  and there's the poem "Ballad of the Mari Lywd" by Vernon Watkins here

May I wish you all the best for 2023. Many thanks for all dropping by and the information you share in your lovely comments.



  1. There is so much in this post that reads completely foreign to me even though I have lived in this country half my life. Wassailing I understand, but clearly need to get out more and attend some of the tradtional and folk events

  2. That's great your parents could join you. Pursuing your hobby and making goo friends is terrific.

  3. A lovely read! I'm glad you had a lovely Xmas and that the parentals enjoyed your Mythago. Like you, I don't do resolutions, if I decide to change something I do it as soon as I think about it, no procrastinating or dithering or fixed date.
    We learnt about the apple wassailing at Moseley Old Hall, it's still a thing up the road in Herefordshire, too.
    Happy New Year! xxx

  4. Well, right off I went to read the story of the Oak and Holly Kings, as well as the significance of horses skulls. Thanks for that!

  5. Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy and prosperous new year xx


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