Monday, 2 February 2015

Chepstow Wassail and Mari Lwyd 2015

We do this event every year unless the weather prevents us getting there (we were snowed in at home in 2013), but despite being a bit chilly and a bit damp at the start, the weather was quite kind to us this year. It's organised by the Widders Border Morris who do a sterling job of bringing order out of the chaos...

So there we were on the 17th of January. We arrived a bit before the official start so we could get warmed up with a bit of dancing and danced in the light rain for a half hour or so while more sensible folk watched us from behind pub windows.

As the rain fizzled out other teams joined us - Styx from Stroud and Silhill from Birmingham way - and the Mari's began to appear. Then it was the official start and we all trooped off around the corner below the castle to wassail the apple trees, singing songs and hanging bits of toast from the branches of one lucky recipient.

Then it was back to the Three Tuns for some Mari Lwyding, a bit of a pwnco outside the back door before the Mari's were allowed in for a warm, a beer and a bit of a sing-song.

Afterwards there was more dancing outside, though we missed that in favour of a drink and some food and a bit of a warm. But then as it began to grow dark we headed down towards the bridge and did some more dancing, just ourselves (Heb Enw) and the Widders as the rest of the Morris teams had gone over to England for the wassailing over on that side of the river.

And then it was time for the main event - the meeting in the centre of the bridge of the Welsh and English contingents. We finished our final dance as a rocket went up over the river to herald the approach of the English and then we all gathered on our side of the bridge. Me and Dan piped with Holly on whistle and Micky on ukulele, all with drumming accompaniment from Aaron Meli and others, and the Mari's led us all up to the middle of the bridge which marks the English / Welsh border to meet with the English wassailers and Morris teams.

Then we all headed back to the entrance of Chepstow museum for another Mari Lwyd pwnco, more dancing and drumming, before we headed off for the two and a half hour drive home.

Another great event organised by the Widders. You can get the essence of the whole thing from Angie Latham's video of it below:

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