Diverse entertainment

Diverse entertainment

Wow, what a busy time we’ve had providing diverse entertainment at a variety of events and venues. All of which I shall tell you about in the following nail bitingly thrilling blog about the trials and tribulations of a real life modern day medieval fool.

The wedding:

It all started the other Friday.  I was booked to perform at a wedding in Bishops Stortford. Now normally the clients wants a magician to wander around performing close up magic for the guests, then maybe entertain the kids in another room as the speeches are made. But not this time. This client had seen our show at a festival and booked me to perform a one man stage show lasting 2 whole hours!

That means increasing the length of my stage show by 400 percent! No mean feat. Luckily for me my show has evolved over the last 30 years, so I have a wealth of discarded routines cluttering up the fools house. A few hours of rummaging through cupboards,  shelves and boxes. Occasionally interspersed with cries of “oh I’d forgotten about that trick” or “what the heck is that and how’s it work”, resulted in more than enough good, strong material. Then I had a week or so of reacquainting myself with the props. Making sure that my fingers still had the skills needed to work them. Then came the hard part.

An audience will happily sit and watch 4 people perform half hour sets. But for one man to keep them engaged for 2 hours, without a break, that was one of my biggest challenges yet. I must had written and rewritten my script 10 or more times before I finally came up with a set that I was happy with. One that would make their special day a truly awesomely special day.

I arrived at the venue, got changed and set to work. I must have only been working for a few minutes before 3 children decided to give me a hard time, and that was a blessing in disguise. A large part of my family show is based on the fact that children will heckle me, and the interaction between us. So thanks to those 3 children a one man show had now become a 4 man show. The adults enjoying the way I dealt with the children and the kids enjoying their part of the limelight.

Come 8p.m. my show was over and, although I was pleased with my performance! I was well and truly worn out, but this was no time to relax. I had to quickly get changed, then meet up with Jester Dragonfly and Stormageddon. They were picking me up and taking me to our next venue on the other side of London. We arrived at Morden hall park at around 10pm. Parked our trailer up then headed off to a hotel for the night and a few hours well earned sleep. But only a few hours. Come 6 am, we were up and running again. A quick coffee and shower, then off back to Morden hall where we had medieval tents to erect and 3 days of shows, workshops, Walkabout and fun at The Morden Hall Country Fair.

 

The Morden Hall Country Fair;

Stormageddon and our newest dragon, the good lady rosie, on the land train

We’ve performed our “Total Immersion Show” at this event for several years and it’s a firm favourite of ours. There’s lots happening all day and the public are a true pleasure to work for. Stormageddon was in heaven as not only was his favourite land train there giving people trips around the site, which meant lots of free rides for him. but Stan was also there with his inflatable slides.

Stan is a good friend and a true gentleman. Not only that, but he also has some awesomely tall slides. All of his staff know stormageddon and know that he has a free pass. Now whilst this may be good for stormageddon, it does provide us with a problem. Stormageddon’s motley (jester’s clothes) are only 2 months old, but he’s spent so long on stan’s inflatables that he’s already starting to wear a hole in the bum! Maybe I can sue stan for a new one.

We worked hard and fast, setting up by 9 30, ready for for 10pm opening and my 10 30 show. We do 4 shows a day at this event, plus walkabout and an all day circus skills workshop. So it’s a full on event for us.

Stormageddon wielding the big, heavy hammer (of doom)

 

Opposite us was “Odyssey Blacksmiths“. Run by a lovely young couple called James and Jenny they make and sell all sorts of metal work. They also provide demonstrations and “have a go” lessons, including a chance for children to stamp their names into soft metal necklaces. If you ever see them at a show, do take your kids over to them as they have a great way with children. Stormageddon had a go at this. He used the hammer whilst James held the punch for him. To his credit James didn’t swear once when stormageddon hit his fingers, although after the second time he did change the hammer for a somewhat lighter one.

Jester Dragonfly trying very hard not to look terrified, whilst Stormageddon takes it all in his stride

At one point Jester Dragonfly and Stormageddon were feeling brave and wandered over to a stall run by a group known as “reptile events“. They rescue and look after reptiles, all sorts of reptiles. Including a rather long and beautiful snake that somehow ended up draped over their shoulders. Why wasn’t it draped over mine as well? You think I’m a fool

I was surprised by the amount of faces in the audiences that I recognised from previous years and was more than a little flattered when public came up after a show to tell me that they come every year just to watch our shows and several people enquired about our costs for birthday parties and took our card.

Eventually,  after 3 days of walkabout, circus skills workshops and a total of 12 shows, it was time to break camp and head back to the fools house, arriving home around 11pm. Again it was a case of grab a few hours sleep and a shower before the next gig.

School circus skills workshop;

This was a gig we’d really been looking forward to. Today we were hired to run fun and educational workshops at Manea primary school. This is the school that stormageddon is lucky enough to attend, and I do mean lucky. It’s a wonderful little village school with great teachers who do a wonderful job. Not just teaching but also making learning fun. The way Stormageddon looks forward to school means that I really can’t praise them enough.

They’d hired us to work with the students who’d achieved 100 percent attendance.  A sort of thank you to them. We started the day with a fun demo of how to use the equipment safely, what you’re capable of achieving with it and the various learning stages. Then we spent an hour with groups of around 20 children at a time.

With these types of workshops and the age of the children what matters isn’t whether or not they learn to juggle. The important thing is to build their self confidence, show them what’s possible if you strive hard enough, and most importantly of all, to have a fun time. Having said that, I think that every child managed to achieve something. Be it moving a spinning plate from the stick onto their finger or the basic 3 ball juggle. They loved it and so did we.

Tuesday evening was spent doing nothing other than staring at the telly and having a well earned rest. Then Wednesday and Thursday was spent unloading the trailer. Cleaning and repairing equipment and cutting out around 100 braiding disks ready for Fridays work.

U.K. day;

The braiding disks are about 3 inches in diameter with a hole in the centre. They are made out of cardboard and have 8 slots cut into them. So by the time I’d cut 100 of them my fingers were well and truly aching. Once made we then had to thread various different coloured wools onto them and put each one into it’s own plastic bag. Why? Because Friday we were working at U.K. day.

U.K. day is an annual event (not only that, but it’s also held every year) for the school children of American forces based in the U.K. I daren’t say where it’s held as that’s probably an official secret and the last thing I need is a C.I.A. squad renditioning us to Guantanamo bay. Could you imagine Stormageddon there? The poor yanks would never know what hit them (“look, it’s waterboarding. You’re meant to me upset, not giggling”).

We arrived at the base, whizzed through the security checks so quickly that, unlike last year, I didn’t have time to put a clothes peg on any of the camp guards and set up a couple of tents. One, the largest of our tents was Jester Dragonfly’s work space. Here she would teach the children all about the life of a medieval lady, including medieval crafts. This would finish with the children learning how to braid (hence the braiding disks).

The other tent, a smaller bell tent, was my backdrop. Here I would play the part of her fool and teach them the history and role of the medieval fool, including not only various parts of my routine, but also lots of little known facts about and the various roles of the fool in medieval England (did you know that we were spies also bodyguards, or that St Bartholomew’s hospital was founded by a jester)?

We really enjoy working at this gig however, I do have one complaint. A large part of the fun in my show is the children heckling me. I love it as I never know what they are going to say, so it really keeps me on my toes. However the children on this base are always so polite. It’s all “yes sir” and “no mame”. It takes them a while to realize that not only can they give me hassle, but that I want them to. The other complaint is that they have never been to a pantomime, so things like “oh no I didn’t” just dont get the “oh yes you did” response that you’d expect. Having said that, I am very good at turning nice, polite children into first class hecklers and know better than to try any pantomime lines on this audience.

Saturday was a well needed day off and a chance for us to give in to the colds that we’d both caught. It’s not too bad when you’re performing, as you live off the adrenaline rush and are too busy to think about being ill. But when you finally have time to give in to the aches and pains of man flu, boy do they hit you. With all the subtlety of a speech by Donald Trump.

She checked the red bag (of doom), it was empty. She said magic words and a birthday card magically appeared inside the bag!

Birthday party;

Sunday afternoon we were performing at a birthday party. I love birthday parties. Although the audiences are smaller than at festivals, they are more excited, they all know each other and there’s less distractions. All of which makes for a more intense show. Oh, and another reason I like parties is there’s always birthday cake.

The party went well, with lots of silliness from Jester Dragonfly and I. Not just during the show, but also before and after and jester Dragonfly made loads of her award winning balloon models. Enough for every child.

Corporate entertainment;

Then Monday was the kind of work I really REALLY enjoy. A business meeting with some corporate clients in a lovely pub. After 23 shows and workshops in 10 days (including the 2 hour long show), this was a lovely way to end the latest run of shows. Now we have a few days off before the next show. I say days off, but the truth is I never really have a day off as I’m always working on new routines and tricks for you, my loyal fans.

The trick I’m working on now is promising to be one of my most mind boggling ones yet and it’s very nearly ready. So I’ll do a deal with you all. My facebook page currently has a grand total of 993 likes. That’s just a mere 7 likes short of 1,000!!! Now I really want 1,000+ likes and I know that you all want to see this latest masterpiece of magic. So if you can convince 7 people to like my page, then I’ll put a video of me performing it on line for you to all gaze at with wonder.

Until then, on behalf of all here at the fools house, I bid thee all farewell

your brilliantly humble fool

Peat

P.S. To check my availability, or to see where I’m performing next, please check out our events page

Party tips

Party tips

Everyone wants their child’s birthday party to be the best party ever. That’s only natural. After all, that’s why I’m so popular and busy. But ensuring that you’ve booked the best entertainer money can buy isn’t the be all and end all of making a great day special. There’s so much more that you can do to guarantee that your child’s birthday party isn’t just the talk of the playground, but also of all the other parents.

And that’s just what this blog is going to be about.

I’ve been performing at birthday parties for 30 years and the following simple to implement party tips are based on that 30 years of experience. Some of them might sound obvious to you. Others you might not of thought about. But if you only get one simple idea from this blog, then today’s mission has been a success.

These party tips are offered to you free of charge. Regardless of whether you book myself, or the world’s second best children’s entertainer. Why? Because it’s my honest belief that your child not only deserves their special day, but also that their special day should be one that’s never forgotten. Not just by you, the other parents and their children, but most of all by the birthday child. And following these few simple party tips will really help to do just that.

Party Tips

  1. Avoid a clash of dates with a classmate whose party might fall on the same day by getting your party invites out in good time. Many parent follow this up with a reminder invite a week or so before the big day.
  2. If you tie a bunch of balloons to the front door, fence etc; it guides not just Peat, but also all your guests to the party house and helps to build up the excitement and set the party mood before they even enter the building.
  3. Let other parents know what’s happening when. Peat likes to get set up before the children arrive, so he can greet them on arrival. Also it’s horrible for a child to arrive knowing he has missed part of the show, or worse still, having to leave part way through the show! So please put the times that he has been engaged for on the invitations.
  4. Get a BIG cardboard box and, as the children arrive, put the presents that they bring safely into the box so that they may be opened AFTER THE PARTY.  This way not only will you know who brought what so that thank you letters can be sent, but this also ensures that nothing gets lost or broken during games etc.
  5. Save squeakers, hats, blowers and balloons till the end or they could spoil the party! Hang the balloons up (out of reach) and give one to each child as a going home present.  Don’t leave them on the floor as they won’t last long and may result in a crying child!

    jester devilstick peat
    If you want the juggling jesters (of doom) scream “yes”
  6. Seating the children around a table to eat in another room is always preferable because you isolate the food and drink in one area. This gives the children a subconscious message that it’s time to calm down and eat.
  7. Don’t serve ice-cream, sweets or other refreshments once the show has begun it’s asking for trouble!  Most of the food will end up on your carpet and sticky fingers will get everywhere.
  8. Having a party outside, without a large marquee and a solid floor IS NOT a good idea. Rain and mud can ruin not only my props, but also someone’s best part dress. Hot sunshine can often result in restless children, or worse still, short tempered children. A sudden change in the weather can mean that children are running for cover whilst I franticly pack up my props before moving under cover and birthday photos of little sally with a ruined hair do and a soggy jester just aren’t nice for anyone. However, you might find it more convenient to feed the children in the garden should the weather be warm and dry (but be aware of wasps).
  9. If you have hired a bouncy castle, please let it down before I start my show. This will not only help me to gather them into an audience, but also insure that they all watch the show that you have paid for. After all, if one child goes off for a bounce, all the other children will follow, and we both really will want them to watch and get the most out of my show.
  10. Parents and other adults are very welcome to watch the show providing that they sit at the back and behave themselves!

    jester, juggler and magician devilstick peat
    I say magic words……… “Magic words”
  11. If the children have to leave a show before the end they, quite naturally, get very upset and it disturbs the other children too.  So try to get any parents that arrive early to wait until the performance is over.
  12. When you want Peat to return for another party, he will give a different show, but you need to let me know that it’s a return visit. The truth is that I do so many birthdays that I cant possibly remember every one. However I do keep a data base of what shows were performed for which booking.
  13. Peat loves animals, but some pets find a room full of excited children very alarming and not all children are comfortable around animals. For both their sakes, please keep all animals in a separate room.
  14. Do you really want the party at home? Think carefully about this. Is the room Peat’s to perform in wide enough (I alone need a 6 foot wide by 10 foot deep area)? Is there enough ceiling height (minimum 10 foot)? Are there lots of fragile Ming vases etc. just waiting to be knocked over? A village or church hall only cost a few pounds, yet offers enough room for all the children to run around and wear themselves out, ensuring you a peaceful night. Also, it’s a lot easier to remove ice-cream, jelly and sticky goodness knows what up from a halls floor than it is from your new white carpets, sheepskin rugs etc.

So that’s my party tips. Like I say, many of them might seem obvious to you, but if no one says them, then how will folk know? Also, if you’ve got any that I haven’t mentioned, please feel free to add them in the comments as we here at the fools house love reading all your feedback.

our circus workshop. Always popular after one of my world famous magic and juggling shows

For more information on our unique birthday parties, including our ever popular circus skills workshops, please click here

Lastly, if you’ve liked this blog, then please share it as you might just be helping other parents, and if you’ve really really liked it, then why not scroll back up to the top and look to the right of the page. There you’ll find a link by which one may subscribe to this blog on the life, trials and tribulations of DevilStick Peat. A modern day, medieval fool

Birthday entertainment and special needs circus workshop

Birthday entertainment and special needs circus workshop
DevilStick Peat devilsticking his devilsticks (of doom)
DevilStick Peat devilsticking his devilsticks (of doom)

Before I tell you all about Birthday entertainment and special needs circus workshop, just a quick reminder that bookings for next year are coming thick and fast. So much so that in a couple of days time my first ever newsletter should be out. It will include a list of events that you can see me at and the latest details on how to get discount entry to many of those events. “How do I sign up for it”? I hear you cry. Simply scroll down to the very bottom of this page and look in the left hand corner, where all shall be revealed.

The booking;

My latest attempts to get booked for local birthday parties has so far met with mixed results. The wonders of internet technology means that it’s now a lot easier to advertise one’s wears. Not just locally but around the world. “Which”, I thought as we started the 3 hour drive, “may well be the reason I’m performing in Stafford today as opposed to Cambridgeshire”. However I later learned that they’d seen me perform at a festival, and were so impressed that they sort me out in the hope that I’d perform at their children’s medieval birthday party. Well, who am I to say no.

I’d been booked not only to entertain at the birthday party, but also to run a circus workshop, which is always popular after one of my shows. The party was in the village hall in a lovely country village (not that you get many city villages) and we arrived in good time.

The hall itself was laid out like a medieval banquet, complete with a head table for the birthday boy and girl. (Note to would be parents. If you’re going to have more than one child, have them around the same time of year, that way you save money on parties). I do so love it when the parents have taken the time to think about theming the hall as well as the cake etc. It really does add to the suspension of disbelief, which is what my jobs all about.

Meet and greet;

DevilStick peat and Woodbine, his friendly, pot noodle eating polecat
DevilStick peat and Woodbine, his friendly, pot noodle eating polecat

I met the proud parents and birthday kids, checked what we’re doing when, then got changed and set up my stand, ready for action. Then I got Woodbine (my burping polecat puppet of doom) ready to meet the children. As per normal he totally refused to behave, burping in kids faces, running up my arm etc. The kids loved him and he really helped them to get in the fun party mood before they’d even taken off their coats. Many of the kids were dressed as knights and princesses, which again only helped to add to the mood of the day. This was going to be one fun party and a true pleasure to perform at.

After everyone had arrived I messed about a bit, using some walkabout magic to entertain the children as they greeted each other with hellos and wildly swung wooden swords that somehow failed to cause any major injuries (always a good thing). Then it was show time.

The new magic cake (of doom) routine;

I must admit to being somewhat nervous as I gathered the children and got them to sit on the floor in front of me. Not because I was performing at a birthday party, but because I was going to use a new trick. One that I’d never performed live before. I’d practiced it and even put it on youtube as a wedding present for a friend, but until you try something live, you never know how the audience will react. I’m pleased to say that the look on their faces left me with the feeling that it’s money well spent.

Rather than be nervous all through the show, I decided to take the bull by the horns and open with the new trick. It’s a lovely classic bit of birthday magic, the effect of which is this;

I take what is clearly an empty baking tray and pour in some sugar, flour and an egg or two (including the shells). I then add a little flame from a lighter resulting in a sudden and unexpected bright flash. I put the lid on whilst it cooks for a couple of seconds, then remove the lid to reveal a large birthday cake The youtube clip is a very adhoc, spur of the moment thing which can be viewed here.

The performance at the birthday party was a lot more polished than the youtube one and the sudden flash caught everyone by surprise, including me. I’d decided to make the flash just a little bit bigger than the one in the video, so doubled the amount of “flashy thingy”! There was never any danger. The flash is bright, not hot. However it did make me take a large step backwards. Which was a pointless thing to do as I was holding the baking tray, so it just stepped back with me. However in hindsight, I think the fact that I looked so genuinely surprised at the flash added to the effect and shall now stay as standard.

Adults joined in;

The new trick over I could now relax and enjoy the rest of the show, as did the children and a fun, chaotic time was had by everyone, including the adults. Then we had a break for food, medieval banquet style (well, as medieval as sandwiches, crisps and jelly can be). As the children ate, so I retired to the kitchen area with other adults and, refusing the really nice offer of a beer (I don’t want kids smelling it on my breath), settled for a good old fashioned cup of tea before running the workshop.

Circus skills workshops
Stormageddon teaching spinning plates

Food over it was workshop time. I gave them a quick demo of not only how to use all the equipment, but also how to use it safely, then it was their turn to have ago whilst I wandered around helping and advising not only the children, but also the adults who were prepared to give it a go. It’s great when the adults join in. Oh so often mummy and daddy will sit there and refuse to try anything incase the other adults see them fail! Just what type of example do they think they are they setting for the next generation of possible olympic medalist?

Eventually the party came to a close and kids, knights and princesses all headed home. Again I was offered a beer and, as I’d now finished work and Jester Dragonfly had yet to collect me, so I happily accepted, not just the opportunity to have a beer with a proud daddy, but also the other beer he gave me for the long journey home. I know I’ve done a good job when the booker pays me a bonus, and what better was to pay a jester a bonus than in beers.

Why I can’t say no;

Our next gig was a somewhat different one as it was a workshop for a special needs group that meets in a town near our wonderful village of Manea. When they first asked my price and I quoted them my normal price I think the lady must of had a heart attack (we’re not expensive, indeed we’re cheaper than your local plumber and other skilled tradesmen, but still she seemed surprised). She told me more about the group, it’s size etc and I offered her what I believe was generous discount. However they are a small, self funding group and still couldn’t afford our price, so I asked what they could afford, and now it was my turn to call the crash team. However, I didn’t even hesitate in agreeing her price, and here’s why.

People of all ages and from all walks of life enjoy our circus skills workshops
People of all ages and from all walks of life enjoy our circus skills workshops

It must of been ooooooh, maybe 27 years ago. I was still learning my trade and every month I’d head up to oddballs, a juggling shop in london. Here I would meet other jugglers and try and buy new equipment. One day the owner of the shop, a wonderful lady called suzy oddball, told me that someone was looking for a workshop teacher to work with his special needs group. At the time I’d never even spoken to someone with special needs, and the thought of teaching them scared me so much that I said no! Fast forward two days and I’m at my girlfriend’s house (yes, I had one once) and she gave me a choice. I could ring the man and tell him I’ll do it, or she’ll dump me, because she was fed up with my bad mood. She was right. I was in a bad mood. I was angry with myself for being scared. So I rang him up and took the job.

 

Like I said, I was scared when I turned up, but soon relaxed and realized that people are people, regardless of any disabilities. I noticed one youth, Peter was his name, and he was into repetitive motion. E.G. he would sit down then stand up, then sit down then stand up, over and over again. I got him using a diablo, which involves a repetitive arm movement. he was happy playing with it and I thought no more about it. Then someone called his name and, as he looked up to see who’d called him, so he accidentally threw the diabolo up into the air. By pure chance the diabolo landed back on the string again, and that was it. For the rest of the day he was happy throwing and catching the diabolo. A good day was had by all and I walked away feeling that I’d done a good job and thought no more about it.

It was about 6 months later that I was working at a banquet in Dover castle as a jester. There was a storyteller there called Tony Cooper and we got talking about juggling. He told me all about a special needs group he runs and how he got a juggler to run a workshop for them. I listened politely and somewhat amused by the fact that, in the candle light and my make up, he didn’t realize that it was me he was talking about. Then he told me about Peter. How his main problem was lack of confidence. How if he wanted to pick up a cup of tea he wouldn’t know if he was capable, so he’d just stand there, reaching out for the cup, them retracting his arm, time and time again. Then he told me how, because of that juggler, not only does he have the confidence to pick one up. He now has the confidence to go and make one!

And that’s why we took the job. That’s why we will always take those jobs, regardless of the price. I don’t think I’ll ever see another piece of magic like that again. Let alone be privileged enough to be part of it. But that ain’t going to stop us from trying.

The workshop;

We arrived at the venue early (to be early is to be on time,

A member of the public learning  club juggling at our circus skills workshop
A member of the public learning club juggling at our circus skills workshop

to be on time is to be late, and to be late is

unacceptable). Once there we chatted with adults and youths, some of which we already knew, unloaded the car and set up ready for action. We were ready about 15 minutes early and you could taste the anticipation in the air, so rather than just stand around we decided to extend the workshop by…….well…… about 15 minutes.

Normally we start our joint workshop with a 30 minute fun filled intro that is not only funny, but also shows everyone how to use the equipment safely. We didn’t know what the attention span of our clients would be, so were ready to cut out some of the comedy should minds start to wander. We needn’t of worried, both youths and adults alike enjoyed the show. Then, once chairs had been pushed to the sides, it was their turn to have fun whilst we helped and advised where needed.

I’m so lucky to have a work partner like Jester Dragonfly. Someone who see’s the person as opposed to the disability and can concentrate on how best to help them achieve their objective. Also, I’ve got to give credit where credit is due, and credit was due to the adults there. So often I’ve worked with special needs people only to have their carer say “there’s no point in him trying that, he’ll never do it”. At the risk of sounding controversial, those people don’t deserve their jobs, and their clients really don’t deserve that type of carer. It doesn’t matter if little billy can throw and catch a ball. What matters is the fact that he, like any child, is given the chance to try, and you’d be surprised at just how often I’ve proved those carers wrong. In the past we’ve even had a somewhat larger lady on a tightrope, complete with her wheelchair! O.K. so it took 4 of us to hold the chair, but the fact that she is chair bound, doesn’t mean she hasn’t got the right to try. Like I said, these adults were the types who, like us, had a “can do” attitude and only took breaks from helping the youths try stuff when they were trying it themselves. It was a great workshop with lots of laughter and more than one look of surprise when a youth or adult got a plate spinning, or a diablo going.

DevilStick Peat teaching a new plate spinner how to put it on his finger
DevilStick Peat teaching a new plate spinner how to put it on his finger

Near the end of the workshop we let the youths stand up and show off to the others what they had learnt. A plate spinner here, a diabolist there, and more than one stilt walker who, in attempts to give us all heart attacks, decided that rather than stilt walking, they would have a go at stilt dancing. Then the night ended with me showing them some of the things that it is possible to do with the equipment. All you need to learn it all is determination, a can do attitude and a few years of no social life.

As we were driving home Jester Dragonfly must had been reading my mind, for she told me how much she enjoyed the night and suggested to me that maybe, as they have no government funding, we could go back sometime and do something for free. I’m happy to report that today I emailed them with my suggestion.

What’s next;

When Jester Dragonfly came to visit Santa, guess which book I found her in?
When Jester Dragonfly came to visit Santa, guess which book I found her in?

Christmas is fast approaching, and I’ve been booked to perform at Melford Christmas fair on Sunday 27th of November. This will be the first time I’ve performed at this event. So if you’re around then come and say “hi”.

Then the Sunday after that I’m performing at snettisham Christmas market. I performed at it last year and had a great time.

And on December the 1st it’s my favorite Christmas gig. For that’s the day that I go to my daughters school, wear a red suit, shove a pillow up my shirt, and be Santa for the day. I don’t get paid for it, but it’s great to use a little bit of magic and prove to the children that Santa really is……. well…….. magic, and keeping that belief alive in the kids is worth so much more than money.

Now, before I go, I’d like to remind you all that it’s now possible to subscribe to my blog. There by insuring that you never miss another thrilling instalment. Simply scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email address. Then, every time I get the time to blog, you’ll get a cute little email letting you know. so go on, you know you want too.

Lastly, it for you haven’t liked my Facebook page yet, don’t worry, there’s still time just go to Facebook.com/d.s.peat and  click on like.

 

 

birthday party and Battle

birthday party and Battle

Wow, what a busy time we’ve had of late. 8 days of work in 9 days. Birthday Party, Battle medieval festival entertainment and circus skills workshop, all in 9 days|

Children’s birthday party entertainment and circus skills workshop;

It all started two Saturdays ago when Jester Dragonfly, Stormageddon and myself loaded up the car and headed down to East Sussex where we were performing at a birthday party for two of my fans (aged 9 and 12).

Woodbine and I, ready for a fun filled afternoon of shows, sillyness and circus workshops

The party was held in an old barn in some wonderful woodland that really helped to set the mood for the party

We started with Woodbine doing “meet and greet” as this helps to break the ice and get the children in the right mood. After Woodbine’s antics I led the way into the barn where I performed my “complete Fool” show, with Stormageddon jumping in as and when he felt the need to try and put daddy off. Bless him, he is turning into a great performer and helps to keep me on my toes.

Stormageddon and DevilStick Peat performing their comic intro to 5 ball juggling
Stormageddon and DevilStick Peat performing their comic intro to 5 ball juggling

After the show, which was enjoyed by both, children and adults alike, we had a little drinks and run around time before running the circus workshop.

Circus skills workshop;

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The birthday boy trying to unlink the 2 rings he just watched DevilStick Peat magically link

Jester Dragonfly and I started the workshop with a comic demo of how to use all the equipment safely then, after the demo, it was the children’s turn to play as Jester dragonfly and I went around teaching and giving hints on how to improve their skills.

By the end of the day we had a few new plate spinners and diabilist and the birthdays boys were practicing devilsticks like there was no tomorrow.

After the party we headed to Cranbrook and stayed with a good friend of mine that I know from Black Company, A dodgy band of mercenaries who’s Christmas party I’ve had the privilege of performing at for several years now.

Next morning was an early start as we were off to Battle, near Hastings for their medieval fayre, but first we just had to stop at the “route 1066” cafe.

This is a bikers cafe in Robertsbridge and a great place to eat and we really do recommend it very highly.

After breakfast we headed on down to battle for what we know to be a great little event.

Battle medieval festival;

DevilStick Peat uses “the wand of doom” to produce an object from thin air

Battle medieval fayre has been running for around 26 years now and is the first medieval event that ever paid me to perform for them, and they still ask me back!!!

It’s held just outside the Abby, which makes a very impressive backdrop to the tents and stalls that lead up to the maypole where the shows are held.

 

It’s a small, but action packed event held on the Sunday and bank holiday Monday and, despite it’s size, there is a surprisingly large amount of things going on. These include knights in armour, crossbow archery range, medieval medicine (not for the faint hearted) maypole dancing (you can even have a go yourself) and of cause shows and walk about by that most famous of fools, yours truly DevilStick Peat.

I’ve been performing at the event for over 20 years now, so it’s like meeting old friends, not just the stall holders but also members of the public who turn up year after year (and why not, after all, it’s not only a good event, but also free). I even bumped into a fellow member of “the chaotic minions support group” (A secret group of select magicians*). So in between performing shows and doing walk about with woodbine, regurgitating ping pong balls and never ending carrots (if that makes no sense to you, come see one of my shows) I got to chat and catch up on all the local gossip.

The grand parade;

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Stormageddon and daddy heading down Battle high street

On the Monday there was a grand parade through the town. Stormageddon took part, proudly walking at the front with one of jester Dragonfly’s dragon puppets which he happily waved in the faces of members of the public (weather they wanted him to or not).

Then, once the show had closed, it was time to pack up the box of tricks and head back home. Unload and reload the trailer and get ready for the next show. A whole five days of circus camp for home educated children where we…………….. Arrrrrr, but that’s another story, for another day.

*editors note: DevilStick Peat didn’t mention his connection to the minions to brag, he done it so that other minions would click on his blog to see what he wrote about them, thereby increasing the amount of clicks his website gets.

and unless you promise to stop up staging me, that's just where you're staying boy
And unless you promise to stop up staging me, that’s just where you’re staying boy

new premises, last show and next show

Due to the increase in business and our constantly expanding routines etc, we’ve had no choice but to move to another location. But don’t worry fenland folk. We are still local (Manea) and based close to Ely and March, and available for all types of gigs, including festivals, weddings, children’s birthday entertainment, circus skills workshops and money. but now we are based in the lovely village of Manea, as opposed to Chatteris.

I must admit to being more than a little disappointed when I discovered that “Manea” is pronounced “main-e” and not “mania”. Which would had been so much more fitting for a man in my trade. So after a manic week of packing boxes, moving boxes, dropping boxes marked “fragile” on my toes and then unpacking them again. I’m pleased to say that we are moved in, up and running and open for business .

This is just as well as Friday I had to travel up to “Tatton park” near Manchester for a weekends work.

Medieval jester show

I was performing at “The Tatton park country show” for the lovely people at Oakleigh fairs, and what a great weekend it was. The sun turned out, the public turned out and a good time was had by all.

I was based next to the beer tent so that mummy and daddy could have somewhere to sit and relax whilst keeping an eye on their children as the enjoyed my shows. Obviously many of them were tempted by the fine selection on ciders, lagers and real ales that were on sale, but many of them had driven there so, in the name of health and safety, I felt compelled to point out the following fact:

One third of all road traffic accidents involve alcohol, which means that your actually two thirds more likely to crash if your sober! (but just you try telling the judge that).

This was the 4th time that the event had been held and the second time that I’d been booked to perform at it. I must admit to being somewhat surprised at the amount of adults and children who remembered me from last year. I was also quite relieved that, as always, my show had evolved from last year, so that I had lots of new tricks etc to keep them entertained. I’m still not sure who laughed the most, the children or the adults. What I do know is that they really enjoyed not only my shows, but the whole day.

Many old friends were also performing at the event (my support acts), including Jezz, a stunt rider who does crazy things with motor bikes and drives cars that role head over heels.

“Moment in time” also had large living history displays at the show with every thing from medieval through to the second world war, and some very loud cannons thrown in for good luck.

The evenings were spent sitting around camp fires whilst enjoying the clear night sky’s and laughing and reminiscing about past shows. We even had a lovely roast meal (with a veggie option) laid on by the bar. So a good time was had by all.

I purposely haven’t taken any booking for next weekend as I want to spend the time putting the finishing touches to the new premises, but the weekend after (which is the late may bank holiday) I’ll be performing at a private event on the Saturday, then on the Sunday and Monday I’ll be at Battle Medieval Fayre, which is held (surprisingly enough) at Battle, near Hastings in east Sussex.

Battle medieval fayre

DevilStick Peat is available for festivals, weddings, children's birthday entertainment, circus skills workshops banquets and all types of events
DevilStick Peat is available for festivals, weddings, children’s birthday entertainment, circus skills workshops banquets and all types of events

This is a lovely small but action packed event that is held in the town center just in front of the abbey.

It is run by the local chamber of commerce and totally free to entre. That’s right folks, if you’ve missed my show and want to see what’s new, then may bank holiday is your chance to see me for free. You can also see several other acts there and even take part in the may pole dancing.

Battle Medieval Fayre has a very special place in my heart as it was the very first ever event to actually pay me to be there, over 24 years ago. During that time the fayre has grown and gone from strength to strength. So please come along and say hi to me, my lovely wife (jester dragonfly) and of cause, our very own jester in training, the one and only Stormageddon. (Did you know that the correct term for a jester in training is a “zany”. There you go, you live and learn).

 

To find out more info on the event, simply log onto Facebook and search for “Battle Medieval Fayre”. Here you will find out lots more information on what’s
happening, as well as see photo’s from past years. You never know, there may even be a photo or two of

yours truly. just like this one here.

DevilStick Peat uses "the wand of doom" to produce an object from thin air
DevilStick Peat uses “the wand of doom” to produce an object from thin air

Well that’s all for now folks, as I’ve got loads of new magic and juggling tricks to go and learn. But whilst you’re here, please take the time to look around the rest of my site, as there is always something new to discover.

Your favourite fool

DevilStick Peat