haircuts, hersty and the ancient oak

haircuts, hersty and the ancient oak

 

Welcome welcome one and all, to yet another long awaited thrilling entry in the continuing saga on the times, trials and tribulations of life as a modern day medieval fool. Or as I prefer to call it “my blog”.

It’s been a busy summer, busier than normal, but that’s the way I want it. After all, to quote from the great prophet, “an unemployed jester is nobodies fool”. I could write 4 or 5 entries about the fun we’ve had this summer, but instead I’m going to concentrate on a couple of the best. I.E. “England’s Medieval Festival” (A.K.A. hersty) and “The Ancient Oak Medieval Fayre” (A.K.A. the ancient oak medieval fayre).

England’s Medieval Festival

England’s Medieval Festival is a great event held over the August bank holiday at Herstmonceux castle near Hastings in east sussex. This was it’s 26th consecutive year, of which I think I’ve performed at the last 24. During that time it’s seen many changes and has grown from strengh to strengh. The most notable changes from my point of view is the inclusion of camping for the public (including some groovy glamping tents). This is a wonderful and unique chance to fully immerse oneself in 3 whole days (and nights) of medieval life. And lets face is, what child (aged 9-90) doesn’t want to spend the evening siting at a table, listening to some world class, kicking music, whilst chatting to knights, princess’s and of cause, the worlds sexeyist (and most humble) fool.

Best mead ever!

And if that’s not your thing, then there’s the outside cinema with an array of medieval themed films. Or maybe you want to really push the boat out and enjoy a medieval banquet held in the castles great banqueting hall. If you’re really lucky, then some knights might even invite you to join them in their camp as they sit around a fire, supping on ale or a bottle or two of mead from the greatest of all mead producers, The “Magic Mead” company. In my humble opinion they are purveyors of the some of the best meads I’ve ever tried (and over 30 years of medievaling means that, in my time, I have tried a mead or two).

The other main change from my point of view, is the inclusion of a wet weather contingency plan. This ensures that the fun continues regardless of the traditional bank holiday weather, but more on that latter, for I’m getting ahead of myself. First, let me start at the beginning, which for us was turning up on the Friday afternoon and, in a break from our normal hersty setting up routine, setting up in daylight. It’s so much easier (and a lot less painful) to hammer in 83 heavy duty metal tent pegs when you can see what your doing. And a lot easier to juggle in my shows when my thumbs aren’t swollen from misaimed mallet swings.

setting up

Over the years we and the adjacent shows and stalls have always set up in the same places and know exactly where to place ourselves. In our case we are between the 3rd and 7th posts of the fencing around kids kingdom. Unfortunately the site owners have removed the fence, meaning that I and my neighbours spent a good ten minutes standing there, scratching our heads, trying to work out who goes where. Luckily for us, although we only meet up once a year, we all class each other as good friends, so it was all sorted out without fistycuffs or lances at dawn.

Day 1

Saturday morning greeted us with brilliant sunshine and the promise of a fun filled, action packed day, and so it was with a spring in our steps that Jester Dragonfly and I headed up to the front gate, eager to meet and welcome that mighty hord known as “the public”. Now it’s a long walk from our medieval encampment in kids kingdom all the way up to front of house, but one of the unique things about England’s Medieval Festival is the “gatters”. These are a fleet of golf carts that travel around the site. They are not just there to transport mega stars like my own humble self, but also members of the public. Simply wait until a gatter comes along, stick out your thumb, jump aboard (making sure its stopped first) and tell them where you wish to go. This free service is perfect for the elderly, parents with tiered out kids or those who simply fancy a ride.

As expected, it was a busy day and I was soon enjoying performing my “welcome routines”. These are a variety of short routines designed to get people in the mood for a fun day whilst also giving them some info on whats happening where. It also gives me the chance to interact 1 to 1 with people, thereby giving them the personal touch that this festival is well known for. Then, after a couple of hours of “welcome to england’s medieval festival. The best festival in the whole field” and other witty intros, it was time to head back to camp and get ready for my first show.

After checking all my kit was ready, I wandered out onto the footpath to talk to passers by. Telling kids, adult, dogs and anything else that ventured by that it was nearly show time and asking them to come and watch (well it’s really embarrassing if I’m the only one there). I need not of feared, for I had a great crowd and as I gazed out at them I recognised many faces of fans who come to see my kids show year after year. Some of them even had children with them!

Children's entertainer ely
Performing at Hersty

After my show and a quick bit of lunch, it was time to do some walk about. I love doing walk about as you never know who you’re going to meet or what the kids are going to say. As such you have to be ready for any and everything. From kids who want to see magic, adults who want to hear a joke and people who need info or have a problem. As the face of the festival you need to be ready for it all. But walk about is also my chance to meet up with old friends, re-enactors, traders and members of the public who, over the years, have become true friends. Then, after my second show and yet more walk about, it was time to head back up to the gates and do the good byes.

Another thing I like about this festival is the fact that, even though it’s one of the largest of it’s kind, the orginisors still take the time to listen to ideas from us mere mortals. One idea I had was to build a platform for me inside the castle tower a the entrance/exit. Here I sit chatting to the public as they leave. Asking them if they’d had a good day (in all my years there no one has ever said no). Laughing and joking with them and performing various short good bye routines, including one where I portray rapunzel’s brother, repugnant.

Eventually the last of the daytrippers, pushing prams full of tiered out babes leave and its time to have a couple of hours down time before my final show of the day. For although the kids kingdom has closed, we still have all the glampers and campers to entertain. This includes a fire possession from the camp site to the beer tent, where many bands perform through out the night. But that’s not something I take part in. My job is to perform for the grand banquet in the castles grand banqueting hall.

The Grand Banquet

Here the room is filled with 3 long tables. The two longest tables are

king and queen
England’s Medieval Festivals king and queen

surrounded by banqueters (if that’s not a real word, then it dammed well should be). The 3rd table is reserved for the nobles of the house, including the festivals very own king and queen. A lovely couple who, when not kinging, queening and presiding over banquets, spend their spare time running “The Crossed Keys“. A lovely old fashioned pub in chatteris. If you’re ever in the area and want the very best in food and ales, all served in a old world setting, then you wont do better than visiting the crossed keys pub (tell them I sent you, I might make a free beer out of it). Then, at around 10pm, and only then, is my days work done and I can finally stop playing the part of the happy, care free fool and go back to being a misible, child hating what name. (That’s a joke by the way. The truth is I love my job. It’s a true passion and oh so much better than working for a living). And so it is that, work finished, it’s time for a quick drink and dance to some great live music in the tavern, then off to bed, for tomorrows another busy day.

Day 2

Sunday morning brought with it dark, heavy clouds and the promise of rain. But unlike other, lesser events, this doesn’t mean we remain shut, for here at england’s medieval festival the moto is “The show must go on”. For not only are there the campers and glampers to entertain, but over the years the daytrippers have also come to learn that we remain not only open, but also up and running.

The promised rain began to fall just as I started my first show of the day, but one of the percurlyatites that I’m known for, is my love of a challenge and the challenge was this. Do I stop my show and move it under cover (stopping part way through is never a good idea) or do I prove to myself that I’m good enough to be able to keep people standing in the rain for the next 20 minutes just to watch me? I’m proud to say that I raised to the challenge.

Now whenever I’m performing, at the back of my mind, there’s always the fear that, mid performance, I’ll mess up and my balls will drop. Add to this the slippery nature of my now wet balls and you can understand just how uncomfortable I felt. (should I pause awhile here whilst those of you with a childish mind stop sniggering). but that wasn’t the only problem. The stuffing in my horny hat isn’t waterproof and the added weight of the water in the stuffing meant that, as I jumped about, so I was constantly being slapped in the face by a soggy horn (oh please, stop laughing and just grow up).

Like I say, I love a challenge, so my 30 minute show lasted about 40 minutes, simply because it was so much fun to keep them there. But eventually I drew my show to a close, took a well deserved squelchy bow and quickly moved my equipment into the dry before venturing out once again into the rain, this time to perform walk about routines.

I’m lucky in the sense that I have a full length, woolen medieval coat which keeps all save my head not only dry, but also warm. So I was quite happy to wander around in the rain. As the rain got heavier and heavier, so I headed down towards the massive medieval market. Here I knew I’d find lots of traders who, due to the weather, weren’t going to do a lot of trade. So I amused myself by strolling around singing “summertime”, “oh what a beautiful morning” and other similar themed songs in such a happy manner that it was almost guaranteed to get on their nerves (hey, its one of the perks of the trade). and it was whilst strolling around that I saw a show the likes of which I’ve never seen before.

The world famous hersty mud stage wasn’t affected by the rain

The jousting field was deemed too slippery for the horses to perform safely on, but our motto here is, as stated earlier, “the show must go on”. And so it was that I gazed upon the sight of crowds of people thoroughly enjoying getting soaking wet as they watched the jousters jousting without the horses!

Grown men in full armour running at each other with great big, long wooden poles, often slipping and fulling in the mud long before they reached their target, as they done a truly brilliant job of entertaining the crowds. It was one of the funnest thing I’ve seen in a long time and proof of just how hard everyone at england’s medieval festival works to make it one of the best shows around. regardless of the weather.

Day 3

Monday was, thankfully another dry day and warm enough to cause steam to raise from soggy knights and damp damsels. The crowds were larger than normal and a great time was had by all as knights battled, jousters jousted (with horses this time) and I, your humble narrator, donned his spare, dry hat and spent the day fooling, juggling, magicing and all the other “ings” that one would expect from Britain’s premier humble fool. Then, after the last show was completed  and the last goodbye said, it was time to pack up our tents, wring out our soggy bits and finally head home from what must be one of the best and most enjoyable herstys we had in a very long time.

But our time at home was somewhat short lived. For we arrived home late tuesday night. Unpacked and washed kit Wednesday, then repacked Thursday ready to venture forth once more bright and early on the Friday. This time to a smaller, yet no less entertaining show known as The ancient Oak Medieval Fayre.

The Ancient Oak Medieval Fayre

Based just outside of Cambridge, this is a wonderful medieval show put on by a friend of mine. In fact the show is so good that Jester Dragonfly and I are always more than happy to not only perform at it, but also help by crewing free of charge. I also supplied free advertising for them on both, TV and radio. You can watch and listen to them by clicking on the red links, but I wont as I hate watching myself

Out on a wing falconry

Like all good shows it had all the basic elements of a fun filled medieval re-enactment. I.E. knights in armour hitting each other on the head in a historical manner, jousting from the world famous “Horsemen of the knight“. living history camps with vikings, saxons and of cause medieval encampments from over 10 different reenactment groups! It had a medieval market where one could buy anything from mead to armour, wooden swords to full on, double-handed war axes forged by master blacksmiths and oh so much more.

There was a wonderful birds of prey display by tim and tina from “ Out on a Wing Falconry “. This lovely couple perform one of the best falconry displays I’ve seen in a very long time and are also really nice people who have a true love for their birds. So if you’re looking for a display for a show or birthday treat, or maybe you want to give someone special a one to one day flying birds. Then give them a call. You really wont be disappointed.

there was even a chance to tryout your skills as an archer care of the “Phoenix Warlords Medieval Reenactment“. The rather good and nicely priced beer tent was supplied by “The Trolls Bottom” and came complete with an array of fine ales and ciders as well as mead and a selection of their own flavoured spirits.

Our dear friends “The Pentacle Drummers” were there performing with ear splitting enthusiasm as they beat dried animal skins with lumps of wood and I, your poor humble narrator, performed comic skills of mystery and dysterity. All this and more was happening at east Anglia’s biggest and bestest medieval reenactment, all contained in a field just a few miles from the centre of Cambridge city.

Now every gig is different. They all have their strong points and their weak points. and the strong point about this event, the one thing that sticks out in my mind even more than the awesome entertainment, is it’s feel. It’s like being on your local village green with family and mates.

It was a sunny weekend and families set up house on the green surrounding the main arena. Spreading out blankets and picnics as they settled down for a fun filled day. Once settled they could let their kids run free, safe in the knowledge that they could watch them from a distance as, vorpal swords in hand, they challenged other kids to do battle. As the kids from one family made friends with kids from another family, so their parents would chat and new friendships were made.

Then the 5 kids fighting each other would decide to team up and fight the kids from a couple of other families At one point I sat at my tents, watching as this happened and thinking that it was like watching 11 year olds acting out “Game of thrones” (but with less blood and more clothing).

There was an array of food outlets, including one of my personal favorites “Dragonjaks“. A wonderful bunch of chefs who not only knock out great food at great prices whilst smiling and chatting with folk, but also kept me in a constant supply of coffee. Even the medieval market had a big family feel, for it was chock-a-block full of the “cream de la cream” of traders. All of them being the old school type of people who would always go that extra mile to help someone out, be they fellow traders or members of the public.

Next to our colourful, medieval encampment was a “have a go archery” stall, run by The phoenix war band. These are a wonderful bunch of reenactors who banded together to raise money for charity. Their have a go encampment has a range of bows of different size and strength to cater for all ages and the money they raise goes towards good causes. They also had a large, square medieval tent with the sides taken down so that they had some shade. And here it was that the true star of this blog, the stupendous Stormageddon, had his Stupendous haircut.

“But what” I here you cry “Is so stupendous about a haircut”? Well read on dear reader, for all shall be revealed.

Storms Sponsored Haircut

Our son, the fazmagorical Storm (A.K.A Stormageddon) is very nearly 7 (14th of September) in all those long years, he has never had, what my parents would call “a real haircut”! and he is very well known for his long, flowing blond locks. However, earlier this year he told us that he wanted, as he put it, “A boys haircut”.

Neither his mother, Jester Dragonfly, or myself wanted him to lose his rupunzalish look, but at the same time, he is now old enough to make the decision, and so it was that we begrudgingly agreed. After a talk with him about it he decided to do several things. The first was that he wanted to donate his hair to “The Princess Trust“. A wonderful charity that make wigs for children who, due to cancer and other illness’s, have lost their hair. Something that I personally feel is a wonderful idea made even more beautiful by it’s pure simplicity.

He also decided to see if people would sponsor his hair cut to raise money for 3 other good causes.

  1. Muscular Dystrophy UK are a wonderful charity who work in a number of ways with and for those who, like Storms cousin, suffer from this genetic condition. As we have the condition in our family it is, understandably, a subject close to our hearts.
  2. The Anne Harris Children’s fund are a small charity who raise funds for child related good causes. They were also the main funders for my work with children in conflict zones and, when we told them that we needed £2000 for a hoist to lift my nephews wheelchair into the car, offered to fund the whole lot!
  3.  Last but by no means lest, he wanted to raise money for his beaver pack (like cubs but for younger kids) as he wanted to give something back for all the fun.

We decided to set a goal of £1,000 to be shared equally between the 3 . I’ll be honest here and tell you that I was really worried that we had set the goal too high and he would be disappointed when we failed to reach it. I’m immensely proud to say that I need not of worried. For not only has he reached his goal, but he has passed it! I cant tell you how much yet, as the money is still coming in and people are still donating. Some in person with hard cash, others via his fund raising page https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/stormshaircut

To all our friends, in-laws, nephews and total strangers who donated and/or shared his page on social media, we here at the fools house would like to send you our sincere thanks. Indeed “Thank you”  falls far short of the gratitude we feel for your amazing response. There are way too many of you to mention here, but what I will say is that “the phoenix warband” made the largest, single donation. Something that literally brought tears to Jester Dragonfly’s eyes (where as I, being a manly type of man, merely had smoke in my eyes).

The cutting of the hair was performed, free of charge by the lovely Sue from “Short Back And Sides” in March and was happening at the same time as one of my shows, so I didn’t see the work in progress, just the end result, and what a result! Truth is I hardly recognized him as he looked so…….well……..normal! And I’ll never forget the look on his face when I took a photo and showed him what he now looks like. I admit to having a fear that he wouldn’t like it and would ask for it to be put back on, followed by the tears when we say that we cant. However he was totally amazed by his new look and also (I’m relieved to say) impressed with it, and still is.

can you tell the difference

sadly sold out

Eventually this event had to do what all events do, I.E. come to an end. And so it was that, with heavy heart, I waved goodbye to happy parents and tired children. However, my sadness at their departure was short lived, as the event owner not only paid us cash, but even gave it to me rather than the better half! And so it was that, with a skip in my step, I headed at full speed towards a stall going by the name of “The king of Cups“.

I’d strolled by their stall earlier in the day and just happened to notice that they were selling their own brand of chilli mead. Now as anyone who knows me will tell you, I love chilli’s, so I sampled a wee taster. It is one of the best chilli meads I’ve had in a long time. Not only is it a lot hotter than most commercially available chilli meads, but (and this is what all chilli lovers look for) it had a real depth of flavor.

The king at the king of cups stall

I stood there as way after wave of flavor washed against the inside of my cheeks like a finely mixed napam and paintstripper cocktail, before swallowing and enjoying its warming feel slide down my throat, kicking my tonsils on route with all the subtleness of a welsh rugby team on a stag night. “Yes” I thought “I want a bottle of this”. So you can imagine my disappointment when my eagerly held out hand of hard cash was met with the news that they’d sold out! And so it was that, with a crushed heart I returned to our encampment, handed our wages over to Jester Dragonfly and broke camp, ready to head homeward.

I can’t say how good this festival is and also how much bigger than last years. If it keeps on growing at this rate then some of the more established local events had better watch out and up their game. As this has all the promise of becoming one of East Anglia’s major attractions.

Future events

But enough of times past and onto up and coming events

Cambridge Living History Fair

October 20th and 21st

I’ve been performing at “The Cambridge Living History Fair” since it first started, many moons ago. Since then it has simply gone from strengh to strengh. “But what it a living history fair” I hear you ask “And would I, a mere member of the public enjoy it”? Again you can check out the link above or read My review of The Cambridge living history fair in my blog entry entitled “My review of The Cambridge living history fair“.

King Henry’s Christmas Court

This year King Henry the 8th will be holding a christmas court at the mary rose museum in Portsmouth. The quite sensibly named “King Henry’s Christmas Court” will be held over several weekend in the build up to and over the christmas period. And what king would dare to hold court without his trusty fool, yours truly the one and only DevilStick Peat. I’ve never performed here before, but a couple of years ago we took the kids to the museum and everyone, adults and kids alike, had a great time.

 

And on the subject of christmas. Booking are coming in fast. So if you’re charged this year with finding great entertainment for your works christmas bash, medieval banquet, or christmas market, then why not hire the best. The one and only DevilStick Peat.

Well that’s all for now folks, but before I go I’d just like to wish our son and the trus star of our show, the one and only Stormageddon a very happy birthday.

The Loxwood Joust

The Loxwood Joust

Held over the first two weekends of August, The Loxwood Joust is quite simply the best medieval event since medieval times. If you want to know why I say that, check out this review here from 2 years ago, but bear in mind that the event isn’t just 2 years older now, it’s also 2 years better and bigger.

If you’re a reenactor or household, you might want to also check out this review here

But whether you’re a reenactor or a member of the public, trust me when I tell you that this is the medieval event of the year.

This event has special viewing areas around the arenas for disabled people, but please bear in mind that it is an outdoor, grassed event so ground my become soft in certain climates. To the best of my knowledge, all areas can be accessed by wheelchairs, however as the event area grows larger every year I advise checking access with the organizers via the website listed below (don’t be shy, they are really nice people).

The Loxwood Joust

The Loxwood Joust

Held over the first 2 weekends of august, The Loxwood Joust is quite simply the best medieval event since medieval times. If you want to know why I say that, check out this review here from 2 years ago, but bear in mind that the event isn’t just 2 years older now, it’s also 2 years better and bigger.

If you’re a reenactor or household, you might want to also check out this review here

But whether you’re a reenactor or a member of the public, trust me when I tell you that this is the medieval event of the year.

This event has special viewing areas around the arenas for disabled people, but please bear in mind that it is an outdoor, grassed event so ground my become soft in certain climates. To the best of my knowledge, all areas can be accessed by wheelchairs, however as the event area grows larger every year I advise checking access with the organizers via the website listed below (don’t be shy, they are really nice people).

Festivals, Jesters, Tutus and Filmwork

Festivals, Jesters, Tutus and Filmwork

So the  blog title, “Festivals, Jesters, Tutus and Filmwork”, shows just what a busy few months we’ve had since I last posted a blog. So let me tell you a little about what we at the fool’s house have been up to.

New magic

Not just the best mead at the festival, but the best mead anywhere, ever. (check out their chilli mead. It’s so yummy).

I, your ever humble narrator, has been busy working on various new routines to frill and entertain you all. I have a new Tommy Cooper style “glass bottle, bottle glass” routine care of one of my sponsors, the wonderful folk known as “Magic Mead”. You can find these wonderful folk at various events, including England’s medieval festival and their mead really is the nectar of the gods. Although sadly, all the bottles they donated were empty.

I’ve also been busy working on a unique version of an old con known as the pea and shell. But fear not, as this is a “no money, purely for fun” routine involving the biggest pea and shells you’ve ever seen, ever.

One for the ladies

Shows and workshops

In between training and learning the skills needed to execute these “so exciting that the public might just wet themselves” routines, we’ve also been busy working and performing all over the country. This has included  children’s Birthday parties in London, circus skills workshops, including a week long circus camp for home educated children (although how teaching juggling ended up with me wearing a tutu is another story, for another day), adult birthday parties in Lincolnshire, and our “Total immersion” show at various events. Including “Battle medieval fayre” a wonderful, free to enter event run by the local community and housed under a hot sun in the shadow of the towns impressive looking abbey.

At “templecombe medieval pageant”, deep in the heart of somerset (a wonderful event run for charity), I had the pleasure of performing outside a reconstruction of a genuine medieval tavern! Then, latter that night, I also had the pleasure of tasting some of it’s wears.

Closer to home we ran our total immersion show at The Famous “Cambridge town and country fair”. Again this is a free to enter event. It’s held on the fair green meadows of Parker’s piece in the city centre and, in our humble opinion, has something for everyone. There was a horse display (with real live horses), birds of prey (although who they were praying to, I know not), an array of live music care of the buskers stage, the goat show (this is a show involving, well, goats), steam engines, stalls and lots more.

There was even a stall run by “The cambridge pentacle magic club”. Here you could see a whole range of different types of magic and performance styles. It’s a shame I had to work, or I’d of spent all day at the stall, stealing ideas and routines. If you’ve ever wanted to learn magic, then this, amazingly friendly club is the place to start.

Award winning Cambridgeshire children’s entertainer magician juggler and jester DevilStick peat’s photo of the pentacle drummers
The awesome pentacle drummers
Me enjoying executing a 5 ball multiplex routine

At midsummer we were again down south. This time at eastbourne for  “The Pentacle Drummers” summer solstice celebrations. Imagine not just the sound, but also the earth shaking vibrations of over 30 mad drummers, each one of which is “going for it” with all the suttalness of a deranged dinosaur on hot coals!

This yearly celebration of all things eccentrically  british (I.E. Morris dancing, warm beer, kilts, and a pagan celebration wherein the oak and holly kings beat the heck out of each other with pillows to the background roar of face painted adults all setting an example of reasonable behaviour for their kids by screaming for blood) is a wonderfully small and friendly event which we love performing at. The daytime performances were all free entry this year. Then in the evening there was a great selection of bands, including our good friends “Portcullis”. A great medieval band, perfect for handfastings, events and medieval re-enactments.

 

Community projects

But it’s not just been about making money. we’ve also been busy doing free, educational stuff. Next month we’re running a free workshop for children in Ely, and only the other week we were at Manea primary school. Here we put up a small medieval encampment and taught several class’s about medieval life. Why did we do stuff for free? Because its our local community and therefore local children and we here at the fools house strongly believe in supporting our local community.  Besides, the kids were great fun to work with and the look of awe in their eyes as Jester Dragonfly proved how many arrows she could shoot in a minute was a true joy to behold (in days of old an English archer was expected to be capable of shooting ten arrows in a minute, jester Dragonfly managed eleven!).

Film work

behind the scenes look at filming

More recently I’ve been filming for American television! This was long hard work outside in the heat of the sun in a woodland clearing. They were filming a pretend medieval festival and I of cause, was playing the part of the festivals premier fool. This involved juggling for anything up to 2 minutes whilst the main stars walked around, or gazed in wonder at my gravity defying feats. Then we’d stop for a few minutes, then refilm the same bit again and again and again.

To put this into some kind of perspective, we started filming the first one minute long scene at around 9 30 am and finished filming it at around 12 15. Nearly 3 hours for a shot that, once edited, will last less than a minute, but that, as they say, is show business.

Award winning Cambridgeshire children’s entertainer magician juggler and jester DevilStick peat on the cover of the loxwood joust programme
spot the cool fool

Future filming

On the subject of filming, keep watching this space, as we are again filming in august. Not for telly vision this time, but for our new video all about us. A professionally made promo video highlighting what we offer and why you should book us above all overs (and we’ll cry if you dont). It’s being made on location at one of Britain’s best medieval festivals, none other than “The loxwood Joust”. This festival is based near Guildford and is so popular that it has to be held over not one, but two weekends. Obviously, being Britain’s bestest medieval festival, they need Britain’s bestest fools, Jester Dragonfly, DevilStick Peat and the jesters jester, Stormageddon. So why not come along and enjoy not just our shows and the jousting, but also the cooling shade of it’s ever increasing woodland areas. Who knows, you may even end up in our video.

We’re also planning on making some instructional videos. These are designed to help all you potential jesters, young and old alike, to learn juggling and circus skills so that one day. should you work hard at it, then you might be nearly as good as we are. Who knows, I may even teach some very effective, yet easy to master magic (that way I’ll have the privilege of being kicked out of the magic circle before I even join it).

Shows throughout Britian

But we’re not just filming this action packed summer. We’ll also be spreading merriment and laughter the length and breadth of the country. Next month we’ll be spending a week way up north in “Alnwick castle”. This lovely castle is one of the best in england. Not only is it one of the few castles still inhabited by it’s owner, but its also so beautiful that some of the scenes from harry potter was filmed there. we’re there for a whole week, so if you’re one of our more northern fans, then do come along and not only say hi, but also enjoy our award winning shows and circus workshops.

In August we’re way down south at “England’s Medieval Festival”. Held at Herstmonceux castle in the sussex countryside. This event has gone from your average medieval festival, to one where you can camp over and enjoy not just a day of jousting, battles and brilliant jestering, but also a night full of fun with it’s open air cinema (showing medieval themed films) banquets within the castles banqueting hall and live, medieval music within its tavern, crammed packed with knights in armour, wenches and princesses.

In september we’re off to the east of England for “The Ancient Oak Medieval Fayre” in east anglia. This is not just east anglia’s premier medieval event, but also where our son, Stormageddon is going to undergo a life changing experience. That’s right folks. For the first time ever in his whole life, Stormageddon is going to have what my parents would call “a PROPER haircut”!!!

“But why is this going to be a life changing experience” I hear you cry. Well I’ll tell you.

Storms haircut

Award winning Cambridgeshire children’s entertainer magician juggler and jester DevilStick peat’s photo of his son, Stormageddon
Storm A.K.A. Stormageddon, relaxing at last years Loxwood Joust

Firstly, Storm has decided to donate his lovely long blond locks to “The little princess’s trust”. This is a truly inspirational charity who make wigs from real hair, then donate them free of charge to children who, due to cancer treatment and other illness’s, have lost their hair. A wonderful and life enhancing idea that can change a child’s life,  made all the more beautiful by the simplicity of the concept.

Secondly his doing it as a sponsored event. The funds he raises will go to the following causes.

Muscular Dystrophy UK

We have a nasty strain of this inherited condition in our family, so as I’m sure you realize, it’s a cause that’s close to our hearts.

The Anne Harris Children’s Fund

This wonderful small charity has not only supported my work with children in conflict zones, but has also offered to buy the hoist my nephew (who suffers badly from muscular dystrophy) needs to get in and out of his mothers car. Thereby making not just family days out easier and less trouble, but also more mundane things like the school run.

March 2nd Beavers

A precursor to cubs and part of the scouting movement, beavers is great for younger children and storm wants to raise money for his own pack as a way of saying thank you for all the fun.

Neither his mother or I want him to lose his locks. Indeed I can see his mother shedding a tear or two (although I, being a manly sort of man, will merely have smoke in my eyes). However, not only must we respect his choice, but we also feel truly proud of the way he wants to use it to help others.

Now I know that, in these times of austerity, not everyone can afford to sponsor Storm, but you can still help by spreading the word via social media etc, or talking to your boss about the company sponsoring him etc. By doing so, your be helping Storm help others and have our eternal thanks.

To see his sponsorship page and read more about it, just click on the photo below 

Well that’s all for now folks, I have to step away from the computer now as it’s a wonderfully sunny day, the lawn is freshly cut and the paddling pool is filled with fresh cool water. All on which means that my kids are complaining that they’re bored and want to go on youtube.

So until next time I bid thee all hail and fare thee well

your cool fool

Peat

 

 

Pentacle Drummers Summer Solstice 2018

Pentacle Drummers Summer Solstice 2018

My write up on this event in past years can be found here 

However, here is what the event organisers say about this years event (which I do believe is all wheelchair accessible, however, please bear in mind that it is an outside event of grass, which may get soft in certain climates).

We are back with our Summer Solstice Festival 2018
This time with a few BIG changes. 🙂

This year, the daytime event is FREE for all.
We are providing FREE ENTRY to the day time event – with a suggested donation of £1.
This year again we are supporting the Children With Cancer Fund, a local charity that grants wishes to children suffering from cancer. You can find out all about them here. www.childrenwithcancerfund.org.uk

We will be releasing tickets for the evening event shortly and will update the event accordingly with prices.

Taking place over the weekend of 15th – 17th June

Music, fun, food, stalls, plenty of safe space, and FULL CAMPING available.
Come and join us, The Pentacle Drummers, Lords of Earthen Drums at our spectacular Summer Solstice Festival in our home town of Eastbourne.

Friday evening will be for setting up your tent, and hanging out with friends new and old. Perhaps even an impromptu acoustic session will arise.
You are welcome to arrive from 5pm on Friday to set up your tent.

Saturday is the main day of the event. A fun filled, family friendly day, with ceremony & celebration, drumming, morris dancing, jesters bouncy castles and slides, sand pit, fancy dress, combat displays, the Pentacle Drummers Stone-age games, belly dancers and much much more.
For the evening, we move indoors again so we can go on for longer.

Again, we will bring you great, dancing, fun and friends.

Bands will be announced in due course.

Sunday is recovery day. Wake up late, hear the chatter from all the other campers, share stories from the day before, and get ready to travel home.

We work very hard to ensure the best value from our events, and we do not seek sponsorship, we want it to be your event and free of corporate branding.
We are pleased to let you know that prices are the same as last year.

Camping is available on the Friday and Saturday night, bring your own tent of course. The cost for camping on our secure site is £10 per person, whether that be one or both nights.
Children under 14 camp FREE.
On site shower facilities are available too.

FREE parking & FREE children’s activities throughout the day including the amazing Devilstick Peat back with us again.
This event will be held on secure private enclosed grounds, so the whole family can play in a safe environment.
There will be an abundance of refreshments available to keep you going throughout the day, and a bar open till late. Please make use of these facilities if you can and do not bring alcohol on site.

Dogs are most welcome however must be kept on a lead and are the responsibility of their owner at all times. Owners are also responsible for cleaning up after their dog promptly.

Please get in touch if you would like to perform or to book a space at the market.

For more information on stalls email stalls@pentacledrummers.co.uk
or events@pentacledrummers.co.uk for everything else.

We look forward to seeing you all again.
Peace.
PD

 

Templecombe Medieval Pageant

Templecombe Medieval Pageant

Well, what can I say about Templecombe Medieval Pageant, deep in the heart of sommerset that hasn’t already been said.

I used to perform at this event years ago, way back when I still had hair and am so pleased and thrilled to be welcomed back again (and they call me the fool). I do believe that Stormageddon (the jesters jester) mentioned it here

Here is just part of what the event says about itself. For more info please check out their website:

This event, and others like it throughout the nation, present you with an opportunity to see history in a way television, museums and books simply can’t. Reading history, seeing exhibits and watching historical dramas or documentaries are all worthy ways to learn, but when you can actually speak to people who have learnt for themselves lessons about things as small and specific as how to actually strap on and rig armour, how important it is to care for their weapons or how cooking on cast iron and trying to bake at a fire presents unique ways of perceiving our history. We present these things with a borderline obsessive enthusiasm. We want to entertain and educate you, but we never sacrifice comedy for dry information or vice versa. We present factual information in a way to make you laugh, because if it amuses you, you are more likely to learn something. Also we have Vikings. They are loud..

Home ed circus camp

Home ed circus camp

This is an event for home educated children. Several circus’s and other circus performers got together once a year to run a week long intensive training camp for children. The event is so popular that we have been asked not to advertise it, hence the lack of info on this one (it is already fully booked for this year).

Some of these young people will be the entertainers of tomorrow, so to us its a very important event, one that we do so cheaply that it actually costs us money to be there.

My write up/review of a past year can be found here

 

The Lee Valley Easter Country Fair

The Lee Valley Easter Country Fair

Lee Valley Easter Country Fair Sunday 1 & Bank Holiday Monday 2 April 2018 – Good Morning – Due to safety reasons caused by the recent and ongoing weather, we have taken the decision to CANCEL this weekend’s Lee Valley Easter Country Fair. (Statement from the bookers)

The Lee Valley Easter Country Fair is now in its 5th year, there’s something for everyone to enjoy with all day entertainment, including new for this year,  the amazing Equestrienne Horse Stunt Team, Jez Avery’s Stunt Bikes & Buggies, birds of prey & owl flying displays, terrier racing, and to keep your younger team happy and amused – our children’s entertainer Devilstick Peat including Circus Skills Workshop. The goat show which includes bottle feeding lambs and kids, will teach you everything you ever wanted to know about these curious and engaging animals and more besides. Children’s petting pens, historical re-enactment groups and much much more including demonstrations of rural skills will all add to your enjoyment.

You can also browse sample and buy from our range of arts, crafts food drink and gifts marquees as well as outside trade stands

Fully catered & with a licensed bar

And on Monday at this event we are proud to host The Companion Dog Show. so bring along a canine friend and have a go (all proceeds from entries go to Marie Curie care)

Happy new year

Happy new year

As we wish each other a happy new year, the last mince pie is reduced to crumbs and screwed up tin foil and the Christmas decorations that she insisted go up in August, forcing you to choose between adopting a perpetual stoop or risk garroting yourself as you move around the house, finally give up their gravity defying fight, one end floating softly downwards, dangling it’s glittery end in your last pint of Christmas beer. So we at the fools house have been nostalgically reminiscing on the last year’s fooling.

I’m pleased to say that the ups have more than outweighed the downs. The laughter drowned out the tears, and the income paid for my C.U.P.s  (for those of you not in the know, C.U.P.s  is a magical term that stands for Compulsory Unnecessary Purchases. E.G. I know I already have 5 wands and only ever use 2 of them, but I need that new one because it’s shiny and has a deeper shade of black than the others and, and, and I just need it). A common affliction amongst members of my trade and a point of constant “discussion” between Jester Dragonfly and myself. Indeed one of my biggest fears is that, after my death, she will sell my magic collection not for its true value, but rather for the amount I told her I paid for it!

Goals, past and future:

2017

like a lot of people I set certain goals last year, including the following;

Stay alive. √

Well the fact that I’m writing this blog means that I can, despite being married, tick that box.

Increase the amount of bookings we get for birthday parties. √

Although I still want/need more (especially in the autumn and winter months) the amount we are getting is increasing (so that’s another tick).

Award winning march children’s entertainer magician juggler and jester DevilStick peat performing at a birthday party
Performing at the birthday party for 6 year old Liberty. They enjoyed it so much that they’ve booked me for their sons birthday in January! 

Have at least 2 new magic routines ready for the 2018 festival season. √

One is ready and practised, the other is being made as we speak and will be ready for the first festival of the season. So that’s a tick, and in the case of the latter, I’d like to give a big shout out to “The Magic Mead Company”, not just for making the best mead going, but also for agreeing to sponsor it. “What are these two new routines” I hear you ask? Well come see me this summer and you’ll find out.

Blood, pain, danger. The kids will love it

Convince Jester Dragonfly that using a working mantrap in the show isn’t really that dangerous (stupid yes, but not necessarily that dangerous). Failed

Well so far that’s a big, red failed, but I’m not giving up, as the idea I have could well be a reputation maker (especially if it all goes horribly wrong). But more on that idea when I either convince her that I’m allowed do it, or decide that her statements about divorcing me should I ever attempt such a stupid stunt are more of a promise than a threat.

Increase our website presence. √

Although that’s a tick and has been helped by those wonderful folk who have given us a 5 star rating on our “google business page” (if you haven’t yet, then it’s really not to late), our rating place on Google etc is still far from where I want it, very far. So if any of my blog reading buddies happen to work in SEO and are looking for a pet project, then please give me a shout and then you too could enjoy the many benefits of being one of our sponsors.

2018

As for my goals for 2018, they include the following;

First and foremost, enjoy that wonderful blessing called friends and family.

I don’t think my slippers and t shirt will quite make the grade

For life without either isn’t life, merely existence.

Get myself a custom made elf suit.

I feel that I would make a good Christmas elf and could get a fair bit of Christmas work out of it. Lights turn on etc. This would of cause also have to include buying and learning some Christmas themed magic (see C.U.P.s above). Maybe I should talk to that creative genius and costume designer known as “Brighid Designs”  about knocking one up for me

Add a new page to the website full of teaching videos.

These will be made at various events throughout the summer with a view to teaching you, my faithful fans, how to become as skillful as my own sweet self and is inspired by the following video of the true star of our shows, the one and only Stormagedden.

Have a  new promotional video made.

This should be happening at this years “Loxwood Joust” (the best medieval event since medieval times), as the one featured here here is not only very old, but also very amateurish looking. Which is hardly surprising when you consider that a lot of it was shot by our children.

Award winning Cambridgeshire children’s entertainer magician juggler and jester DevilStick peat’s good friend gandolf
Our good friend Gandelf Strutt.

 

Highlights and not so highlights;

 

Although there were many highlights to our year, there was also some lows, most notably the unexpected passing of our close friend, Gandelf Strutt.

Gandelf was one of the first reenactors I ever met. An awesome mate who had the knack of giving wise words of wisdom interjected with just enough humour and mead to stop him sounding pompous. There’s many a tale I could tell about gandelf, however not everyone who reads this blog is old enough to hear them, so instead I shall save them for sharing around this years numerous campfires.

Another loss was Nils Poll. Nils was a juggler and friend from Denmark who invented what to me and many others, was the best ever juggling hats in the whole world, ever. I personally own 4 of them. They are well over ten years old. Have been thrown around, kicked and dropped thousands of times, yet still look as good as the day I brought them. The first time I met Nils was many moons ago at a juggling convention. I’d only just started to try and learn hat juggling and was standing in a corner, struggling to learn the most basic of moves. Nils, an expert with hats saw me and came over and spent at lest an hour with me, showing where I was going wrong and how to learn the moves correctly. Over the years we met at various events and it was always a pleasure to work and play with him. One of natures gentlemen and sorely missed within the circus community

Of the many highlights the most notable (for me) was being asked to perform at the 2018 “British Juggling Convention”This is a week long gathering of jugglers, performers and circus type folk from all over Europe and beyond. Everyone from folk who’d never juggled in their lives but want to learn, up to those considered to be amongst the best in the world will be there. So for me to not only be asked to perform, but also perform in the prestigious “public show”, alongside some of my personal circus heroes! You have no idea of not only how proud I was when they asked me, but also how mind numbingly scared I was when they asked me.

On a side note. The last time I went to this convention was for my honeymoon. That’s right, I’m one of the few people to invite several thousand mates to join him on his honeymoon (well that way we wouldn’t get bored at night). It’s being held in Canterbury in Kent this year, my old stomping ground. So if you’re in the area then please come along and say “Hi”.

up and coming events;

Although the year has only just began, we already have some exciting shows lined up for the summer season. But before then it’s worth mentioning that next month (February) Is the “Cambridge Living History Fair”. This is a wonderful event that’s held twice a year at woodgreen animal shelter in Godmanchester, Cambridgeshire pe29 2nh.

Award winning Cambridgeshire children’s entertainer magician juggler and jester DevilStick peat performing at Cambridge living history fair
The only period event in England that can spell “fair” correctly.

Here you’ll find an array of wonderful and strange oddities, both inanimate and human. For the re-enactor it’s a chance to buy anything from medieval armour to WW2 uniforms. For those who prefer L.A.R.P. you’ll find everything from giant latex war hammers to winged helmets, and for the general public there’s dress makers, mead retailers, and so much more, including the chance to learn about all the weird and wonderful objects on display, their place in history and how they helped to shape and forge that nation that we so lovingly call home.

But it’s so much more than just a place to buy and sell. For there’ll also be an array of entertainment for the whole family. Stories of old from real story tellers. An ancient and noble art that is as enticing now as it was a thousand years ago. Medieval music from a harp playing minstrel. The Romans will be there, not only giving talks and demonstrations, but they’ll also be giving you and your children the chance to get hands on experience in the weapons training of their famous legions, and of cause your’s truly will be there with shows and walk about routines to amaze, amuse and bamboozle you all.

Latter in the year we’re doing all our old favourites, including the Cambridge town and country show. A free to enter event in the heart of Cambridge with multiple shows happening all day every day.

The loxwood Joust. Held near Guildford on the first two weekends of August, this must surely be the best medieval event since medieval times and not just because I’m there.

England’s Medieval Festival. Held over the late August bank holiday at Herstmonceux castle in East Sussex, this is the largest event of it’s kind in Europe. You can even camp or glamp at it, ensuring that the fun never stops.

And loads more events, way too many to mention here.

Well that’s all for now folks other than to say that we at the fools house all hope you had a very merry Christmas and wish you all a very happy new year. May it bring you all that you need to keep you smiling.

Yours

Peat