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Young Luvvies

Well Z has started her week of performances, and judging by here quick recap over a huried breakfast it sounds fantastic.

Seems one of the performers (they range in age from 11 to 13) got a bit worried she was tired and not up for her part enough. So she decided best to pep herself up and drank seven(!) cans of RedBull just before the start of the performance. She raced on stage delirious said her words at pace, fizzed around, did a spin and promptly collapsed. Cue curtain falls, paramedics are called - and the whole cast - bless them burst into tears. Except Z - when she asked someone, she knew didn't know the girl, why they were crying, they replied "I just want to fit in!" Cue sheepish tearful boyfriend having to explain what had happened with regards to the redbull - more tears - including some full on flapping and then the show continued.

Can't wait to see it tonight, Z has let slip the scenery is based on art from one of my 2000ADs that has gone missing!!! Review tomorrow hopefully.

....and lumy it's Brighton next weekend! ;) Time Flies!


Blimey how good was that finale last night? Wow! Levellers rule! Brilliant weekend - musically a bit average at times, but lots of folks to meet - the most friendly festival of the summer. The most fantastic fun 10-12,000 people can have in a field! Cycle Taxis were such a brill idea! That walk would have been a killer else! So many people met, so much fun had! No more vodka!!!!

And i pegged Jeremy, B) but i think it fell out of his dreads!


Z had her heart set on a laptop for her birthday - so i searched the internet and found an unheard of company called recracker selling hi spe toshibas for £299. Took the plunge and ordered. Bit my nails as no confirm came through. It only turned up 12 hours after my order was made! Then the confirm arrived on my email a few hours later!

Never guess who the invoice is from! Only PC World - bargain want a cheap laptop check these out:


I'm really impressed. ;)


...ah Wo-mud has found a home. Lovely site, lovely crowd, lovely stages, lovely varied music to suit all tastes, lovely arboreum bit, with the bottom of the site and meadow stage to look forward to next year. Faces in trees man - awesome. Where we camped was a handy location - will be back there next year! Stilldelighted despite the weather and got a costume for beaut days, endorse it and shambala - sorted! :lol:


WOMAD news!

Yay! Looks like we will be going to WOMAD after saying never again - it's moving out of Reading 'Scumville' and hopefully the criminals will stay away. Better news is it's moving even closer to us! Result!


So why a reflex recurve not the traditional English Longbow? Well mainly beacuse personally I believe the Cornish Celts used recurves not the traditional English Saxon longbow of the rest of conquered England. My reasoning for this? Comes from the origins of Britian and the Trojans arrival in Cornwall in around 1250BC with reflex bows.

Perhaps the most common cultural characteristic of the ancient Celts was the Celtic languages, a branch of the Indo-European family of languages. The earliest established origins of Celts dates from c.1000-800 BC in Eastern Europe, though research and excavations in very recent years indicate that cultures in Siberia and Northern Mongolia may well be directly linked to the Celts. Both of these cultures date back as far as the second millennium BC. The prowess of the Celts as master horsemen with the capabilities of travelling very long distances give these links further credibility.

These bows are mentioned in Book 21 of Homer's Odyssey. The contest with Odysseus' Bow: Described:

His well-sprung bow was there,

and quivers, too, with lots of painful arrows,

gifts he had received from Iphitus, his friend,

son of Eurytus, a man like the immortals,

when they'd met in Lacedaemon, in Messene,

at the home of wise Ortilochus.

There is the a competition to string the bow, which proves impossible - however it's solved by stringing the bow while seated - which is the case for a Reflex recurve - thus this well sprung bow used by Trojans is the reflex.

But where the Cornish connection? Well:


Geoffrey of Monmouth in his Historia regum Britanniae (1135–39), says the founder of Kernow was a Trojan warrior who accompanied Brutus the Trojan, the legendary founder of Britain, to England. on the founding of Britain - The bit particularly about Cornwall. In which Corineus is mentioned as coming from the Trojans and thus reflex bows.

The Prophecy of Diana

Brutus took the Augur Gero and twelve elders and set out for the temple. When they reached the statue they set up three hearths and poured a libation at each. Brutus himself stood before the altar of the goddess with a vessel in his right hand filled with wine and blood from a white hind, in accordance with an ancient ritual, and turned his face upwards to the statue, and said nine times:

O powerful goddess,

Terror of the forest glades,

Yet hope of the wild woodlands,

You who have the power to go in orbit through the airy heavens

and the halls of hell,

Pronounce a judgment which contains concerns the earth.

Tell me which lands you wish us to inhabit.

Tell me of a safe dwelling-place where I am to worship you down the ages,

And where, to the chanting of maidens,

I shall dedicate temples to you.

Brutus then went around the altar four times, pouring wine upon the sacrificial hearth. Then he lay down on the skin of a hind stretched before the altar, and at length, fell asleep.

At about the third hour of the night, the goddess stood before Brutus in a vision, saying:


Beyond the setting sun,

Past the realms of Gaul,

There lies an island in the sea,

Once occupied by giants.

Now it is empty and ready for your folk.

Down the years this will prove to be an abode suited to you and your folk;

And for your descendants it will be a second Troy.

A race of Kings will be born there from your stock

And the round circle of the whole earth will be subject to them.

Arrival in Albion

Brutus and his fleet sailed with their ships full of riches and came ashore at Totnes. At this time the island of Britain was called Albion and uninhabited except for a few giants. It was most attractive because of its great forests of game and rivers which teemed of fish. Brutus and his companions were filled with a great desire to live there. They explored different districts and drove the giants they found living in caves into the mountains. Brutus divided the land amongst them and they began to build houses and cultivate the land so that, in short time, one would think that the land had always been inhabited.

Naming of Britain

Brutus called the island Britain from his own name and his companions he called Britons. He intended that his memory be perpetuated by the derivation of this name. A little later, their language which had been known as Trojan or Crooked Greek was also called British.

Naming of Cornwall

Corineus, following the example of Brutus, called the kingdom that had fallen to his share Cornwall, after his own name, and the people who lived there Cornishmen. Although he might have chosen his own estates before all others who had come there, he preferred the region now called Cornwall, either for its being the cornu or horn of Britain, or through a corruption of his own name.


The statue of Corineus at London beidge erected in the 1500s showing him with a reflex Recurve and arrows upon his back.


In 1554, when Philip and Mary made their public entry into London, 'two images, representing two giants, the one named Corineus and the other Gogmagog, holding between them certain Latin verses,' were exhibited on London Bridge. When Elizabeth passed through the city, January 12th, 1558—the day before her coronation—' the final exhibition was at Temple Bar, which was "finely dressed" with the two giants, who held between them a poetic recapitulation of the pageantry exhibited.'

There's also of course the other Celt and Pictish reces of Britain to consider the Irish were unfamiliar with Longbows and so too the Scottish. However the Welsh - were the origin of the longbow which pretty much overtook all other forms of bow in England in the 13th Century had not only longbows but recurved horsebows, I've yet to find much on them but the image of this American replica looks pretty similar:


During the Anglo-Norman invasions of Wales, Welsh bowmen took a heavy toll on the invaders. The English were quick to realise the impact that the longbow could produce on the battlefield. As soon as the Welsh campaign was successfully over, Welsh conscripts began to be incorporated into the English army. The lessons the English learned in Wales were later used with deadly effect by Welsh mercenaries on the battlefields of France and Scotland. Their skill was exercised under King Edward I of England (r. 1272–1307), who banned all sports but archery on Sundays, to make sure Englishmen practised with the longbow. As a result, the English during this period as a whole became very effective with the longbow.

But were these bows the traditional tool of the ancient archer? They are cruder and less technical to make than the ancient reflex and I feel it was this ease of construction which led to it being the weapon in the UK. But if we had Trojans in Cornwall then we'd have had their bow technology and perhaps the Cornish bow was once a recurve. Especially if we were a nation of mounted militia - celtic horse skills are well documented and a long bow would be irrelevent on horseback or celt chariot.

Infact the BBC gave Robin a reflex recurve in the last TV adaptation explainuing it by saying: The bow Robin carries is not a typical English bow (longbows did not arrive until just before the Hundred Years War); it is a recurved bow, supposedly adopted from the Saracens he fought on Crusade. In reality it is an Hungarian hunting bow - the glues used in Saracen bows would have meant it would quickly fall apart under European weather conditions.

Any archaelogists studying in Kernow may be able to she some light on if any recurve remnants have ever been found.


Well it's about this time of year that I start to look at a few gigs to review, and get into the swing of things before the summer season. Only, this year there's absolutely nothing around to review. Thankfully Vibraphonic, is on the horizon, hopefully that is:

K went to a councillors meeting the other day, where they suggested that in order to save some money after they lost it all gambling in banks around the world, they cut the festival budgets. firstly it was suggested they just stop funding Vibraphonic, and then they decided they'd reduce the amount they give to all festivals here in Exeter! She came home very disillusioned, now I don't know about councils elsewhere but the expression 'not knowing their arse from their elbow' sprung readily to mind I believe.

This is the same council that now no longer does anything by the book where it comes to employee rights, so god knows what they're getting up to in chambers!

We've bought a campervan too, but I now have reservations about vanning at festivals, I mean the fields are always up big hills and half the fun of going is to sit around chatting until silly o'clock. does this mean we'll now be going back to the van early?

Anyway back to the original point, where have all the acts gone? Are they just not bothering to come down here? seems strange as our student neighbours have felt no credit crunch and still spending their trust funds like Nick Leeson! Now this city has so many of these well heeled children of London's elite, I'm amazed bands aren't falling over themselves to appear down here to spread the wealth!

Well at least we have Rod Stewart in Argyle's footie stadium to look forward to. Not! :(


What the hell is happening to men? The other day i was at the pub went for a slash there was a bloke there moving a strand of hair about on his head then moving it to another point on his head and looking at himself in the mirror constantly tweaking his hair - with that CTC (Cooper Temple Clause) Pete Docherty type crap hair that really doesn't look any different if you move bits of it about. and better if you dragged a comb through it.

Anyway half an hour later i returned to the loo and he was still there and two more blokes had turned up also shifting clumps of hair about in front of the mirror. I had a slash and left and they were still there, my mate went to the loo 10 minutes later and reported they were still there! WTF is happening to the human race - more interested in lumps of hair than beer or girls? OMG - We used to be men not girlie hairdressers!


What a day!

Wow - slightly hung over after a glorious weekend. The mighty Everton thrashed the Reds! Yay! We managed to find a pub to watch it in. For a while yesterday we were top of the League!!!

I'm able to tolerate smoking marshmallow leaves and so severely cutting down on my nicotine intake! Plymouth were all over QPR and unlucky not to have won - they drew - but the team are playing football Akos (golden boots) is class and so is the mighty Uncle Barry. They're good enough on yesterdays performance to fight for play offs. Plymouth isn't half as nice a city as Exeter tho and the new development meant we missed the train! Today I've cleaned the whole house and really enjoyed being at home on such a nice day. Currently in a middle of a photo shoot.

And Exeter has a load of decent music coming up soon, some real quality acts at The Phoenix too, it's all good!


well, I'd forgotten all about this until Z printed off one of my blogs on here and handed it to me in the week. I think Facebook kind of took over for angst, but is actually less expressive so I thought I'd return. I'm not really doing much treading water as the arachnoid cyst and the brain connections continue to bug the hell out of my life with noisy tinnitus and balance issues - worsened by more recent labyrinthitis (probably from the neural feedback shorting out as it gets more blocked/damaged). Half the time I forget I've got anything wrong me - which leads to quizzically asking K why my archery (I've kept that up over the years along with going to festivals, and working at eFest Towers)  has gone to pieces.

At the moment I have breathing issues too (pile it on fates why dontcha?) following a bad case of flu with effects the lymphatic system - K far worse than me this time around. I lost my tankard at a very muddy Glastonbury so can look forward to dropping a few pints at Beautiful Days (literally). Z is about to move out to her own place up the road, and so it'll just be me, IK and the cat rattling around here (again literally in my case).

I just noticed it's 10 years since my post on here where I was first diagnosed and given a decade so it's all good (keels over and dies)


Weird illness

Z is ill temperature running at 100+ and her tonsils infested - she came down with it on Sunday after the fireworks. So K took her to the docs today - and so an amazing coincidence was discovered. Every year on the 9th of November Z goes to the docs with tonsillitis!

What? Yup at the same time every year she gets it! How is this possible? We've jokingly said next year we'll have to tell the school - she will be ill on the 9th and get homework prepared for it!

Even so a very weird thing indeed!!!

How is it the body can get ill on the same week every year? Are illnesses cyclic? Has an event caused this to occur? Clearly are bodies work in time with the year too - or is it she has some allergy to fireworks displays?

Very strange!


The bad news is our cursed luck with gigs continues as we will have to stay home tomorrow and miss Alabama 3! Gutted! Will we get to ANY gigs this year? So far only Stiff Little Fingers have escaped the curse!

Oh and the boss has ramped up surf control today - so i couldn't get on here. Seems it's been pretty quiet tho - guess winter is setting in. I'm gonna try using cloak and try to get around it. Worse even than no efests was being told at 3pm the whole issue of Girl had to change to a Christmas issue - git! No pint of Black Prince for me tonight!


Hoping Z is well for Sunday as we are visiting my 98 year old gran and sorting out my dad's estate, legally, and I have a bizarre answerphone message to listen to - where someone who knows me (possibly from school) has left a message calling my dad's death ENIGMATIC - the rest of the message is garbled - so i have to give it a listen and see if i recognise the voice or can learn me about the fast talker whose accent is too hard to understand. More when I've had a listen.


Oh and i came second in the frostbite archery - a natural oh and Z has been named Head Girl for her year. Clearly her brains come from me.


Weekend off

Been pretty busy recently:- Urban Lawns, Salisbury, Wychwood, Isle of Wight (Stones were fantastic) all on the bounce means this weekend we get a week off or would do if it weren't my cousin's wedding. With taking most of next week off for Glasto I've had nine mags to do in one week, plus reviews written, a couple of phone interviews and radio shows. The weather for Glasto is looking rubbish which is really depressing, as I'm there for all of Wednesday and Thursday on me own and was lookin' forward to sunshine and cider at the bus before Kaz arrived. I'm gonna have to hang out at Late n Live instead if the weather is like this.


we are here

Parked up, awning up sat out on a warm night in Glastonbury suburbia listening to the sounds of folk getting settled enjoying a beer and a smoke and watching the sky lanterns float off into the night - bliss.


Wavefore excels

Considering the last 'beep beep' festival I went to was overloaded with chavs and zombied trancers and Ket heads and seemed to involve wall to wall advertising, I've tended to shy away from them since the glory days of the late Eighties and early nineties and yet here is Waveform to re-affirm my faith in dance festivals - well done Family Gathering youknow how to do your festivals. Okay so the line up boasted some great old school names Banco De Gaia, Eat Static, System 7 and the real Ozrics (Dream Machine).

Dream Machine were amazing, finally I got to see them and anyone who says the band who still carry the name Ozrics sound like those tunes of yester-year are wrong - here is the incarnation of that sound and god it so works with flute. Whoever said they could never hear it need to see this lot and then tell me they could never hear it. Like the old days it was, mental stuff! Ozrics without flute really isn't the same - these boys were fantastic! and with Paul Didge too it were proper great. Then most of them stayed on stage for Zub Zub which had me dancing in the sun while throwing giant frisbee about - lovely.

The organisers of this the first eco-sustainable dance festival organised by the Global Undergound and the people who do Sunrise and the Glasto Greenfields. clearly really know what they are doing and god they're good at putting on a festival. They planned everything out we'd want for the weekend, seven main stages offering a selection of dance styles, I'm too old to know my trance from my psy - if i like it i listen, that's it. Although Feed Your Head sounds were there in abundance. Then there were lots of other little domes offering more choice, fantastic food, great visuals and lasers and shit loads of good drugs floating about. Loads of happy hippies and psy trancers, crusty jugglers, a high dreadlock count and Sunrise real ale and cold cider. Chai wallahs for all nighters and a wonderful vibe - really great - mental salve for the mind it were.

Eat Static on the Saturday were awesome and followed by some crazy hippy stuff which had me in stitches and was well received by those into their shakras etc - "switch off your mind and open your heart.... you are a wave....form!" It had me smiling and was the worst rhyming in some time - hippies ehh gotta love them. Crystal skulls and Stonehenge and all that - world peace started that night with 350 or so countries also joining in the synchronised dance - personally I'd have had Eat Static do the whole thing.

Told the Eco Rangers to target the No2zers who were leaving the metal pellet things and their balloons all over what was an otherwise clean site. Christ they annoy me almost as much as Ket heads with their total lack of keeping the place clean at a festival which underlines a leave no trace policy.

Managed to get up after minimum sleep on Sunday morning to catch Eat Static but have to say I was drawn to the all night partying of the Ninja Hippies were better.

But what a terrific weekend end to the festival. Lovely time camped with Clive, Lucy and Chocky and demolished our cider allocation around the fire at night and of course the lovely Midnight was there too - helpfully filling in my poor knowledge of recent developments in the underground dance scene and informing me of line up changes etc. Met some lovely new random people around our fire. Discovered some great music to listen to - like Sub Source and Sunfish (sun theme there?) - and really got into the hi energy of Ninja Hippies.

Loads of festie characters and familiar festie faces, even a cat, happy kids and a great music programme from full on Friday to chilled Sunday - They really knew what would go with what and after some probs at the start and a late kick off they really got it organised. Sounds like it'll be even better next year.

Mirror System - Steve Hillage were awesome in Eartheart and at the time i had no idea it was hime! Thanks to Midnight I discovered it was. and talking of that wasn't System 7 excellent too. Shame it was so badly attended by efesters - as it's an awesome location, fantastically planned and executed. Best way to end a festival and lovely weather too - bliss! Bit cold at night - good job i brought the fire. The best in old skool dance parties has been brought bang up to date in a lovely setting by the river. We have another festival we can be proud of right on our front door.

To be honest I enjoyed it more than Beautiful Days, not just because of the lack of mud but also the audience - okay the music was a far less wide spectrum but the green credentials brought with it the mellower more chilled and colourful festival goers, resulting in a better vibe than this year's BDays. A local version of Sunrise, Glade and Eastern Haze - I'm told - no longer do I miss going to them.

For me though it lacked the wide spectrum of events offered by Shhhhhh, which has a similar crowd, but it was just as much a party as Endorse-It which had music I'm more accustomed to.

So the festival season falls like this:

Bestest: Shhhhhhh

Gotta go back for the party: Endorse It, Waveform, Beautiful Days.

Loveliest festival over a widest spectrum: Glastonbury, WOMAD, Wychwood.

Nice local footprint and new music: Respect, Ex-folk, Urban Lawns

By comparison rather mainstream, but having the big names: IOW and Guilfest and half of Glastonbury.

Best for kids: Shambala, Beautiful Days, Wychwood - we don't take Z to Glasto.

Festie List 2007:

Endorse It Indoors - April - Sunny scorchio

Exfolk - May - Sunny

Urban Lawns - May - Gale force rain

Wychwood - May - Sunny

Isle of Wight - June - Scorchio

Glasto - June - Big Mud

Respect - July - Sunny/Cloudy

Guilfest - July - Sunny til Sunday

WOMAD - July - Wo-mud more like but late night rain

Endorse It - Aug - Lovely

Beautiful Days - Aug - mud, wind and rain

Shambala - Aug - Sunny Scorchio

Waveform - Sept - Sunny


Unfit 3 months!

Ack ack ack!

went to the gym lunch time for the first time in 3 months - couldn't face the weights so did a 6K cross train over some hills and backwards for a while for half an hour in total. Damn thing almost killed me! I'm now feeling very stiff and achy!

Conclusive proof doing festivals for weeks on end does not make you fit! But at least I've been off the ciggies again for a few days now. Mind you my sweat was so stinky due to Black Reading Flu - i think it's best to burn my gym kit in a controlled environment! :D

/me Collapses on the floor! :P



Arghhhh the fish are getting sick - i think it's down to the heavy metals in Devon's water supply - the iron - hence our red soil. But my water kH values are falling and three fish have got tumours! Oh no! trying to find out what i need to do to fix it!


Today is Oak Apple Day,


used to be a a holiday celebrated in England on 29 May to commemorate the restoration of the monarchy in Britain and Ireland, in May 1660. Charles I was said to have hidden in an oak tree in 1651 in the Battle of Worcester and the oak apple became a symbol of his restoration to the monarchy. In 1660, Parliament declared 29th May a public holiday.

Oak apple gall is an abnormal growth of plant cells, formed as a response to a cynipid wasp laying eggs in the leaf or stem. These growths are called galls because they contain large amounts of tannin, which has a very bitter taste. The developing larvae live in the gall and eat from it. When the insect reaches the adult stage, it emerges from the gall through a small exit hole. Generally, galls do not seriously harm the oak tree. They may be cut off from branches, but insecticides will not work because the insect is encased and well protected inside the gall.

Though Oak Apple holiday was formally abolished in 1859, traditional celebrations continued involving the wearing of oak apples or sprigs of oak leaves. Despite it being Royalist (and I'm no Royalist, but it seems many of cornwall's traditions are based in royalty, it's not the Duchy of Cornwall for nothing I am coming to realise) it's been traditional for years. Seems, I've just discovered Pepy's described as "Forever kept as a day of thanksgiving for our redemption from tyranny and the King's return to his Government."

The 29th May was King Charles II's birthday. when you are meant to wear a sprig of oak. in the olden days if you didn't do this then young boys could pinch your bottom hence is was known as Pinch-Bum Day. The Chelsea pensioners celebrate the day by drinking beer and eating plum pudding. Charles II over ruled Cromwell's ban on merry-making and invented this day for people to party.

More here:


But the celebration appears, as is usually case to overlay an older Pagan festival. In 1603 the villagers Wishford, Wiltshire were granted the rights to collect wood from Grovely Forest for all time. They celebrate this by marching to the forest once a year. They return with large branches of oak, chanting "Grovely, Grovely and all Grovely" and carrying a banner bearing the words "Grovely, Grovely and all Grovely. Unity is Strength!”

In Cornwall and Wales, it's the time for special Oak clad Morris dancing as an ancient tradition first recorded in the reign of Elizabeth I, these ‘madde men’ with their ‘Devils dance’ were banned by the Puritans following the Civil War. Hmmm, banned and then replaced with basically the same ceremony.

In Devon and Cornwall many of the estates are open for half term activities many of which involve using oak leaves and apples.

The original ceremony is as far as I can determine the Celtic feast day of 'Buryan', also known as 'Bruniec', 'the Irish Lady', Irish princess, said to have accompanied St. Piran to Cornwall from Ireland. There is a village named in her honour near to Penzance, Cornwall, England.


Where traditionally miners would beg their bosses for food and beer. Which became seperated into the Celtic feast day of 'Collen', legend has it that Collen slew the evil giantess at Llangollen to save the lives of the people there, and as a sign of thanks he was made their Patron Saint.

Suggested that the giantess was a metaphor for the pagan practice and beliefs often associated with such events and the mother goddess or often replaced as the dragon. Usually usurped and overlaid with new traditions and religions - pretty much copying the older ones. A metaphor for re-labelling if you will.

Icidentally, Llangollen it is Believed to have travelled to Glastonbury. Also this is the period of celebration of fruit in the Jewish calendar too, as well as other old world religions.

Also, it's worth noting that the oak leaf is the symbol for Jack in the Green, although I'm unsure of his origins pre-the Roman invasion, he obviously has links to the Goddess Flora and her festival - with May Queens, Garlands and May poles. More common up country.

More on the month of May here:


Including historic accounts of May Poles which every village once had and the derivitive of festival the Celtic word feur. And of course Glastonbury's very own Dunstan who was an Anglo-Saxon saint; he was born a few miles from Glastonbury in Somerset, around 909AD. His father was a Wessex nobleman of royal blood.

Glastonbury was a place for Christian pilgrimage and a renowned centre of learning at that time. Dunstan was educated at the Abbey before joining his uncle Athelm, Archbishop of Canterbury, at the court of King Athelstan.

When Athelstan died his successor Edmund named Dunstan as Abbot of Glastonbury.

Dunstan acted as a royal advisor. In 955 however, Dunstan argued with the young King Eadwig, who confiscated Dunstan's property and exiled the monk.

Dunstan was called back to England by Edgar, king of Northumbria and Mercia. Under Edgar's influence Dunstan became Bishop of Worcester, and when Eadwig died in 960, Dunstan was named Archbishop of Canterbury. Dunstan arranged the details of Edgar's coronation as king, which remains the basis of royal coronations today.

When he died in 988 Dunstan became the most popular English saint of his day and his tomb became a place of pilgrimage.

29th May, a commemoration of the restoration of the monarchy in England

"The wise boy wore his oak leaves, armed himselves (sic) with a stinging nettle and carried a few dock leaves for first aid just in case"

– Bibliography of Nottinghamshire Folk Plays & Related Customs

"I remembered too late - I was on the bus before I noticed the other boys wearing them, and it was too late to get any oak leaves (or better, an oak apple). Other years I had raided the woods at the top of our road for some, but this year I'd somehow forgotten completely. It was indeed the wise boy who went rigged out, and I remember that one year I was ill-prepared, and suffered the slings and arrows wielded by my school chums that one year I forgot."

The tradition varied around the country, but the reason was the same. Bad old Oliver Cromwell and his wicked Roundheads had lost the Civil War, his incompetent son Richard had stepped down, and the Commonwealth of England had failed. Charles II returned to England, arriving in London on 29th May, 1660, his 30th birthday. He was eventually restored to the throne, being crowned on 23 April 1661.

A Holiday!

Parliament proposed an annual public holiday to commemorate this event, and set a committee in motion, to prepare a bill

...for keeping of a perpetual Anniversary, for a Day of Thanksgiving to God, for the great Blessing and Mercy he hath been graciously pleased to vouchsafe to the People of these Kingdoms, after their manifold and grievous Sufferings, in the Restoration of his Majesty, with Safety, to his People and Kingdoms: And that the Nine-and-twentieth Day of May, in every Year, being the Birth Day of his Sacred Majesty, and the Day of his Majesty's Return to his Parliament, be yearly set apart for that Purpose.†

The holiday was indeed celebrated - for example, in the town of Bridgwater in Somerset, "Revels were said to have been held near Pig Cross on Oak Apple Day (29 May) until the 1830s". In 1859, the holiday (confusingly, known as Arbor Day to some) was abolished, but the spirit of it lived on in many parts of England, mostly connected with the oak tree.

A Spanking! A Spanking!

Or rather, the avoidance of one. In many parts of the country, the anniversary was marked by the wearing of oak leaves, or oak apples (a gall formed where a wasp lays its eggs). Failure to comply meant that one would face some form of punishment, varying from one place to another.

Those who refused to wear an oak-sprig were often set upon, and children would challenge others to show their sprig or have their bottoms pinched. Consequently, this day became known as Pinch-Bum-Day.‡

Other punishments included "scragging" (being beaten), having soil rubbed into the hair, and being whipped with nettles. The latter was the proscribed treatment in the village school of Blidworth, Nottinghamshire, as late as 1964. I know. That was the year I forgot.

The Oak Connection

It is said that Charles' life was saved after the Battle of Worcester in 1651, when he escaped from the Roundhead army by hiding in an oak tree in the grounds of Boscobel House in Staffordshire, hence the wearing of oak leaves to commemorate his return to the throne.

It is possible, however, that the day itself reflects another, older, pagan ceremony - the town of Castleton in Derbyshire a parade in honour of the "Garland King", who "rides through the streets of Castleton, Derbyshire, at the head of a procession, completely disguised in greenery", on this date, possibly a reference to worship of the Green Man.

Whilst Oak Apple Day is no longer a public holiday, it is not yet completely forgotten. At All Saints Church in Northampton, a garland of oak-apples is still laid at Charles II's statue each year.

The Chelsea Pensioners of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, also still parade on this day for inspection by a member of the Royal Family (it being "Founder's Day", in honour of King Charles II, who founded the Hospital). Oak leaves are still very much in evidence, although I doubt whether detractors still get whipped with nettles.

Last weekend was Urban Lawns, Axminster - very wet and windy - the festival prevailed despite worsening conditions. A great weekend we'll be back as it was so inexpensive and would be grand in summer.

Thursday is P~agan Mayan ceremony at Stonehenge! Yay! and then Wychwood Festival on Friday! Feur season is here.


time wasting NHS idjuts

I've had a battery of tests today - I keep thinking this is like some Duracell test - where they will press my head and feet and a giant glowing indicator will light up my side to show how much charge i have left!

Well my appointment was for 10.45 at 11.45 the first doctor sees me - turns out the consultant isn't available (why not just cancel at this point? - I have work to do, and my spinal tap isn't until the afternoon) but he goes through the same proceedure as my own GP did - then I go to have the audio tests done - they can't do it today! - So I wait around a bit more. Then they can't book in a new appointment - although I'm stood with a nurse because the doctor needs to write a request. So the nurse says she'll get him to write one, and they'll put a letter in the post to let me know.

Next up get changed into a gown - very' 28 Days Later' and sit around in my pants in a crowded waiting room. Eventually i get a room, for no apparent reason - probably to build up my fear of hospitals - there's signs everywhere warning of vomiting and diarrhoea - nice! Then I'm led back out to another waiting room - why not just put me straight here?

Then I get sent in for the spinal tap - I'm trying to think of the band to take my mind off it - as I'm asked to put my head between my knees. The anaesthetist nurse - takes for ever to stab me with the local anaesthetic - repeatedly asking me, who hates needles, to relax. Then they wait around for a bit - I'm starting to feel like i have the vomit/diarrhoea bug when it's on to stage two - my head's still between my legs. They stab me with another bigger needle - this hurts even though it shouldn't I'm braced to stop the reflex movement - trying not to move as I feel this scraping in my spine. Then it's done - it's now about 2.15pm

so for nearly four hours I've had about half an hour of medical work - all billed back to my GP I presume. Nice! I'm supposed to be remaining flat - but it's too uncomfortable, So I'm sitting down.

No results, just a case of more waiting now.


There and back again....

Well last Friday I'd handed in my notice and had to pack up for an early plane flight - packing took a bit longer than expected and as K had to visit the Archery Club to sort out some stuff - as it was we didn't get to bed until midnighet and were up again two hours later for the trip to Bristol airport and our flight.

No problems boarding and time enough to have breakfast, my sister and her party (her daughter aged 2 and 2 additional friends of hers) cut it fine arriving literally as we were boarding. The flight was pleasant enough and before long we were flying over the west coast of Spain following the coast down to Murcia airport.

Sun and warmth greeted us as the doors opened and we diembarked with a bit of a wait for K to collect the hire car from the local town 2km away. Our little group had hired 2 cars and before long we were driving around the Mar Menor onto the sand spur of La Manga and arrived at our apartment - rooms were allocated and the refurbishment met with approval - both kitchen and lounge/dining room have been extended and new bathrooms fitted.

The early arrival meant we wandered off to Cabo De Palos for late lunch in search of the cheap restaurant we'd visited last time,it looked derelict however so instead an expensive (the most costly of the holiday) ensued at The Miramar. Once we'd paid a kitty was set up and we went to local supermarket El Arabol for our first group shop - buying our essentials for the week and a cheap cut of loin of pork for tea - cooked by yours truly on a bed of potatoes and covered with tomato and served with salad and washed down with a cheap 2 euro bottle of lovely red wine and some Don Simon Sangria to follow. K and I stuck to the red all week, along with copious litre cartons of Don Simon and mucho cervaisa, the other women preferring to knock back bottles of Jumilla Rose.

Sunday was market day at Cabo De Palos, where realisation of handling a larger party became apparent as we intended to shop and eat there, however one of our party wanted to stay in the lovely apartment - enjoying the sun and the beach. Much clothes and vegetable and nibbles buying later and after buying two spit roast chickens our plan for a meal at the restaurant (now busy after looking closed yesterday) was altered to eating at El Arabol, great choice lovely food and beer and wine and all dirt cheap.

Evening meal was prepared by me again, with ratatouille and potatoes and more wine, night temperature was a lovely 16 degrees, although one of our party crashed before dinner and the rest not long after. They all preferred early nights!

Monday involved going to the large city of Cartagena - we (K, Z and myself) know it is large because we got lost missing hours of shopping time and arriving just as siesta started. The stress tips me over the edge and I find a tobacconist and buy some cheap Spanish tobacco for around 50p. The other three women and baby were exhausted so they headed off home, we did shopping in Oysho, women's Secrets and El Corte Inglais and I could have bought lots of clothes but for the fact a Spanish XL is wayyy too small for me. We soaked in the countryside of orange trees and mountains and blue skies on the way home and another of our party took over doing the cooking highlighted the difficulty in not knowing portion controls for 5 adults and two children, there was masses left over - so i utilised it for a paella the next night.

Tuesday we took easy spending the day on the beach literally a few steps from the apartment and made sandcastles and dug out a boat on the shore of the Med. They have really small surf and hardly any tide - it felt strange to me so used to Devon's coastal surges and vitality. A cloud thought about appearing and eventually my mind had a thought and we stocked up on seafood for the paella all incredibly cheap - the total cost per head was one euro!

Wednesday and K and I leave the group looking after Z (who wants to spend time with her baby cousin) and we make the three hour drive to Javear (or Xabi) to see B and J. Stopping off for lunch at the head of the Algar river and have our photo taken at the waterfalls there. The long drive gives me a chance to read George McKay's book on Glastonbury: a very English Fair which is fascinating and I realise how lucky we are and how new the festival experience is. Much of the history of festivals is relatively recent - no older than myself, the book is fascinating as is the countryside we're travelling through.

B and J's apartment is lovely - fantastic views over a town unspoilt like it's neighbour Benidorm by high rise apartment blocks due to a height restriction. It's great to meet B and J again and for them to give us insights into Spanish life as well as introducing us to other Brits who have emigrated and interestingly we review restaurant prices on their benchmark for the rest of the week. Talking of restaurants they take us to a great cheap Chineses called Wok which offers all you can eat buffet and much wine (I get very full and slightly slurry). Both bars and restaurant despite the European smoking ban allow me to smoke indoors! Fabulous! J has work the next day but for B it's Spanish Constitution Day and a holiday so we talk about life in Spain and their festivals (didn't realise most summer festivals in Spain are night affairs - the day being too hot). By breakfast beachside at a cafe - K and I are thinking how wonderful it would be to live here in Spain with it's space, it's uncongested roads and it's friendly policy to immigrants.

We arrive back at La Manga around three pm after an aborted plan to hook up with Z and the others in Cartagena as the shops are shut. We've found out there is a Medieval Christmas market in Cartagena however and leaving Z again at the apartment with the rest of our party K and I slip back to check out Spanish nightlife (our visit to Xabi has clearly given us an appetite for it) the port city is alive! It's packed with Spanish out promenading under the wonderfully Xmas decorated streetlights. The whole place is a throng of Spanish just milling about. We join them for olives, nuts and coffee and walk down to the night clubs on the port side. They're horribly synthesised clubs (the kind you get all over Europe and we could be anywhere even the UK) so we leave and head for the port on La Manga eating at a busy (=good) Italian restaurant cheaply and it's lovely food. We arrive home before closing time but at the beachside apartment everyone has already gone to bed.

Friday is a different story, suddenly the people we are with realise they are missing out on the fact Spain sleeps in during the afternoon and comes out to play at night. We do the same looking after my niece while the others shop in Cartagena and spend our time lazing by the pool. The afternoon we eat at the boat restaurant on La Manga, overlooking the inland sea (the Mar Menor) more gorgeous seafood and delicious Postre and we're stuffed and take ourselves off to the park next door - however the weather is turning, clouds and winds rise! We return to the apartment - watching the gorgeous sunset birds migrating and the bats circling in the fading orange sky it's warm and sultry. We stock up on Don Simon and eat most of the food stocks we have left - chatting and reading and packing for the early morning return.

Saturday dawn is amazing, the (now) cloudy skies bands of red and grey and the sea like strawberry blancmange - everything is tinged in burnt gold and liquid orange. Many photos aqre taken before the bags are put in the car and the convoy leaves La Manga destined for the airport. No problems leaving apart from a small fracas over bag weight but eventually the Don Simon boards the plane! The return journey starts well enough but wind and rain rise as we head for Blighty. The landing is like something from Alton Towers and the grey vertical rain, floods on the roads and strong winds bring us back to earth with a bump.

Last night was the Archery Club's Xmas meal but unfortunately i think we were too exhausted to fully enjoy it.


Amazingly it seems my theory could have some corroborating evidence:

1. Firstly I hear word that St Petrocs the Padstow Church has in its East Window - behind the High Altar a depiction of a canopy with bow, arrow, sword and two peculiar hunting horns which is a badge representing St. Petroc, the first Abbot and founder of Padstow church. And the bow? It's a reflex recurve and not a longbow!!! St Petroc the saint of Cornwall is symbolised with a reflex recurve.

2. Then I'm told that in Cotehele - the National Trust house in Cornwall on the wall are hung two unstrung reflexes! These would look odd to anyone not in the know about bows as unstrung they look like this:


and when strung like this:


When I was told this I had a dim memory of seeing an unstrung Reflex in Buckfast Abbey - but I'll need to go there to prove my finding.

But so far it looks like the history books and the Cornish archery society are wrong and indeed the Cornish used recurves and not long bows.


To explain for Bus:

So it's May and we've got 12 festivals line up for the year. So K takes the car into Nationwide for a complete service, explaining it's got to do about 2000 miles in the next 3 months and we're prepared to pay to ensure it all runs smoothly.

Should have guessed when she came to pick it up at the allotted time and it was still in bits, that it was gonna go pear shape. However they said it'd be ready in half an hour, so a coffee later she leaves the garage.

During the drive to Wychwood the car sounds a bit ropey. So it's taken back in for a check up and given a clean bill of health.

IOW the next weekend turns into a disaster, it's a hot weekend, the fan breaks, the engine overheats and the radiator cracks. We limp into Newport hours late and can't get on site as the Press Box has closed, we miss the first night and have to B&B it.

Car is looked at by another Nationwide garage, who patch up radiator and ensure fan works by us manually plugging and unplugging it.

When we get home car goes back to Nationwide, apologies and new radiator and they 'check nothing else is wrong'

We next use the car for Cornbury on journey home engine sounds funny and fan is making funny noises, suspension is creaky. Guilfest a week later and the journey home becomes a nightmare. It takes hours and hours to limp home, with no fan - the thing has disintergrated - we're doing 20mph and getting too tired - no garages open on A303 and engine starts miss firing and timing slowly becomes more shot away.

Car goes back into Nationwide, shattered fan is replaced, they say it's fine. Timing still shot away and it's misfiring. We consider selling it and decide to see how much we'd get part exchange.

K takes it to her 'old' garage for an estimate, they show her (we know nothing about engines) oil leak over engine, cracked Cam cover, damaged fuel line, damaged cam belt, exhaust to engine thingamy is missing, exposed bit of engine that is anything flew up inside would break it. Fan is still cracked - plastic shatters in hand! Both brakes and suspension are 'dangerous'

They recommend not using car full stop. It is due MOT next week and won't pass on anything. K and Z see a new car they fall in love with. We get hire care for weekend to get us to Reading, and use Fiat around town until finance is agreed. Fiat will be scrapped tomorrow after we gave it to garage today.

K is livid with Nationwide, got a detailed report of what's wrong with Fiat along with their report of clean bill of health! She's mad, wants compensation and has photos of damage, negligence and broken stuff. she's emailed head office using tips on wwww.howtocomplain.com.

We have new car which we'll stay on path to wilds of Dartmoor to pick up Z tonight in.


It's only about 7 or so hours until we set off for our twentieth year of Glastonbury. My wife yesterday badly twisted her ankle and despite much grinning and bearing (and a few tears) she is determined to go and won't consider any other option.

We are taking our campervan and so will be arriving on site tonight Tuesday. I'll be letting you know how we fare and what wonders we witness on this blog.


The fast paced NHS!

So all tests done and the docs have ruled out muscle, blood, joints or bones as the cause of the problems. Seems it's neuological - now whether that's down to the quantities of drink and drugs I've bashed into my system or whether it's something inherited genetically. Thay can't say, just yet, but they'll be able to tell me...

...January 17th! What, how long? So until then I have to suffer what feels like (not that i know) arthritis, in my ligaments it seems. Great, the not knowing but knowing what it isn't is worse! Well best case scenario is some form of Parkinsons - mmm nice!


Target Practice

Well two significant things today:

Firstly it's the first anniversary of my Dad's death. It's depressing having no family as they're the only folks actually interested in what you're doing. I've seen him briefly in the 'otherworld' and he's happy enough i think. But I've kind of knocked the whole spirit stuff on the head the last few months, too many people opposed to my views i guess and withdrawn myself from the edges of the spiritworld. I've had the occasional trickster, laughing at my situation and flash of other paths but not often and i feel too filled with inertia to dive into other possibilities.

I've not returned his shamanic mask and staff to Vanuatu yet, who knows when I will? My sister wants us to and says he asked her to return them upon his death. But the journey creates too much fear to consider, maybe I need some kava to grow more adventurous. Meeting all those village elders without him! It's weird to think he met so many religious people over the years, took part in so many ceremonies and was so prepared for his death - but it doesn't help the fact he only hinted of his impending end and had to travel half way around the world to die near the temples he felt most spiritual at. I still don't feel he's assimilated into the universe yet tho. Possibly he's around my grandmother or his wife or even us, his children at times.

At least he was able to go to the temples of the clouds, not restricted like mum was with her cancer, unable to even leave the confines of the hospice. Her spirit seems have dissolved willingly into the waters of the world however and I'm used to her passing now. Doesn't say i don't miss them both occasionally.

The inertia continues into my existence, wasteland indeed, I can't face either Grandmother or step-mother today and really i should get in touch. Perhaps tonight after the second thing - Our first archery lesson. Hope it's good and the weather holds off long enough for our 2 hour session. We're both a bit nervous about it. Z for her performance and me for the people - I mean what type of person is an archer? Guess we'll find out in an hour or so.


No they don't wear green tights. They were actually quite cool down to earth people and after a while i was hitting bullseyes (Gold!) everytime. Got asked if I'd done it before as i had natural 'string walking' - how cool is that?

In further developments to point one:

Off to see my nan tomorrow for lunch, cheer her up a bit - i phoned her in the end. After step mum had phoned she's away tomorrow til 18th and dad showed up - well kind of - she heard a noise as though she'd dropped something, looked and there were her earrings from her wedding day which had been missing for years - she was convinced she'd lost them abroad. Nice of him to do that for her i thought. Made her day too. Though she's a bit low, obviously. She was putting a very brave face on.


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