There is an ancient Chinese curse which goes: “May you live in interesting times.” There have been times this past year when I have wondered whether I had unknowingly offended someone of oriental persuasion when it came to the Dark Gathering! There has also been the odd occasion when I wondered whether it was actually going to happen or not, especially when it came to wrangling with the dead hand of bureaucracy. Indeed as the date of this year’s Dark Gathering approached there was a last minute flurry of obstacles, cancellations and complications – not to mention wet weather that seemed to take on biblical proportions!
Undaunted we soldiered on…
On the day, we had to put out a disclaimer on the website and social media that there was a police warning of a yellow flood alert on some of the roads approaching Boscastle and for folks to be aware of this.
Then 40 minutes before we were due to start the afternoon’s proceedings, the torrential rain stopped – for the next 36 hours! 😀
Now, I could fall back on the cliched ‘As if by magic’ but that’s a bit hackneyed now – this was bordering on the miraculous. Well Done to all those witches who were spinning their weather magic for the Dark Gathering! Given the sheer amount of rainfall over the last 6 weeks, I still can’t quite believe we got away with yet another dry Gathering.
So the sixth Dark Gathering began with gusto with Steve Podger, our enduring MC, introducing the wonderful Beltane Border Morris, who have over the years become the backbone to the Dark Gathering.
Next were the fun-loving and ever ebullient Wreckers Morris from North Cornwall.
What came next was a bit of a gamble as far as I was concerned. Earlier in the summer I learnt that regrettably Wild Hunt Bedlam Morris were unable to attend after all, and I was left to search for a replacement. Quite by chance I happened upon Huginn & Muninn. They were certainly different, which was what I was after as I do like to inject a little of the unknown and edgy into the proceedings. So it came to pass that the wild and wacky Huginn & Muninn made their eccentric debut at the Dark Gathering.
Here is a prime example of how bizarre Huginn & Muninn can be:
Whilst all this frivolity was happening down at the harbour, way, way up the hill at the Napoleon Inn an ancient custom was being enacted by Cwmni Gwerin Pontypwl and Bagas Werin Mari Lwyd. A Welsh/English pwnco was performed plus a dance performance with songs for the delight of the onlookers.
Following this in response to a special request, Mari Afon Lwyd (or Fflosi as she is affectionately known) bestowed blessings upon the household of Ivy Cottage. In return the Mari Lwyd party received thanks and copious libations. 🙂
Then it was off down the hill to the wondrously warm welcome from the Wellington Hotel who laid on lavish libations for our merry band of revellers. Cwmni Gwerin had to perform outside the Museum at 4 pm, so as they left Bagas Werin were joined by a new Mari Lwyd called Mari Sol.
Everyone continued to entertain wherever they visited including the Cobweb Inn. Meanwhile Cwmni Gwerin Pontypwl were bringing Welsh dancing to the audience at the harbour.
Following their break, all the Morris sides completed their afternoon’s entertainment with pizazz and vigour – in fact, it was quite difficult to persuade them to stop!
However, the light was fading fast and it was time to prepare for the Lantern Procession – and for whatever the evening had in store for us all…
Besides which Penkevyll was getting very restless in her stable and was eager to met her bone sisters, the Mari Lwyds!