Creating My Odyssey

Quirky artist / writer / explorer / wild west, steampunk & ghost nut /renaissance soul / mental health & lifestyle blogger

Saturday, 2 December 2017


Although my fascination encompasses the wild west - mostly - when it comes to dressing up and re-enactment, wiki/English Civil_War, cavalier and eighteenth century male costuming has always lit my dripping wax candle as well. Eighteenth century breeches, boots, velvet jackets, men's shirts - perhaps filly, tricorn hats, guns and swords are sooo exciting! Who doesn't want to swash their buckle? Okay, not everybody, but I luurve it! (Shame about my big bum. So not the right image).

     I've invariably worn my favourite feathered stetson, guns, knives and fringed pants or calf length 'buckskin' skirts as and for a long time the cavalier look fought alongside wild west, but the wild west won out! 

     Why? People frequently ask me that. My fascination grew after watching
The Virginian, Smith and Jones, and High Chaparral on telly during the sixties and seventies, and
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid the cinema (my westerns have to have humour). Perhaps I was a fella in a past life but I often wonder if it's in my genes/jeans.
An ancestor, great Uncle Herring, went to seek his fortune in the gold fields of British Columbia According to family lore he was 'burnt out of his homestead' by Indians but survived to head south to Los Angeles and join Sunkist , the orange juice production company. Wonderful story. Another family member (by marriage) prospected in Dawson City, Canada Up until the 1930s, when prospecting, he took up residence in a cabin that's been restored and is now rented out as the 'Gold Rush Cabin'  to holiday makers. I've gotta visit and stay there.


     Back to reenactments. I managed - finally, to indulge in a few years of wild west living history, dressed in buckskin fringes, stetson, pants and holstered Colt .45 as Kitty Le Roy, (the real item ain't someone I'd emulate today. I don't gamble or dance!). 'My' Kitty Le Roy is a saloon-going prospector/adventurer, and I re-enacted a gold rush camp with my pard/Husband quack Doctor Jack Coltrane. I enjoyed it once we had the tent up and running. Husband, being a bit of an exhibitionist, loves dressing up and this forced him to totally relax, away from his highly stressful job. 
     But damned anxiety got in my way, even after I'd recovered from depression, until I realised that living history, while I'm glad I've done it, just ain't my bag, man, which I feel sorry about. Interesting, because I had to distinguish between feeling anxious because of my illness, and anxious because I was genuinely anxious and that it had nothing to do with being unwell. Confused I was. I couldn't precede each event without being riddled with anxiety, because wild west events always, because of the nature of the thing, involved people (strange, that). I felt shy of folk (back then) and was constantly trying to prove myself - 'Hey, look! I'm Kitty Le Roy!' - until I reached the conclusion, after I had fully recovered and could see more clearly, that I was trying to do/forcing myself to do something that really didn't suit me. Such is life. I'm not an exhibitionist (shame) at heart, but while I was depressed, I was desperate to show off my interests, and this one in particular, because I'm an older woman into the west and guns! And my epic novel, Alias Jeannie Delaney, the life story of a devastating cowgirl who's the fastest gun in the west, came into that category.

     Time has passed and I still love the idea of dressing up and indulging in visits to festivals or conventions. Star Trek
Steam punk Mediaeval Maybe all three at once! I particularly fancy steam punk
wild west. Factual history with a bit of fantasy thrown in. I adore the costuming! Husband's niece, seriously into pirates, has influenced me big time. In fact, pirates, particularly the female ones - Anne Bonney and Mary Read and Grace o'Malley - definitely float my galleon! Pirates are bad.
They travel galleons in the tropical high seas - I adore travel, the sea and the tropics, so this encompasses several interests all in one go - nicking treasure from equally bad, usually rich, people. I want to be a pirate! Husband has said he doesn't want to know cuz he was the one who had to organise it all. I totally get that. He said that if I really want to do something, I've got to organise it and he'll turn up on the day. Maybe I will.

Bonney, Anne (1697-1720).jpg
I research female outlaws, pirates, cowgirls, adventurers, you name it, and love the idea of emulating them. I browse lady pirates, 'normal' cowgirls and steampunk cowgirls on Pinterest  and the spark pops up in my brain. 

     Just to round off, A few years ago we had our daughter and twin granddaughters stay with us over Halloween. We all dressed up - Husband was Lurch the butler - - suits him. He's tall and can be gaunt when he chooses. Daughter was glam witch, the girls were mini witches and I was ugly old hag witch who hated children (figures). When local children knocked on the door to trick or treat, Husband would put the appropriate music on Michael Jackson's Thriller and open the window so that the music would drift outside, and we would answer the creaking door with big cackles from me and a gaunt 'Good evening.' from Husband. The kids would run screaming. No, they didn't - that was the Adamms family. After shrieking at the kids that I hated them and would have them for dinner, we'd hand over a bagful of sweeties. We all loved it and we were expected to repeat this performance every year in our cul-de-sac. We managed the next couple of years. Last year we made a Halloween animation film. Terrific fun!

     Yes, dressing up and being someone else for an hour or two is fabrilliant! I fully recommend it. I'd love to hear from readers who do any of this!

* Please let me know if you appreciate the links, or do they detract?

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  1. When I was a little girl, I loved the Wild West. Then I loved Charles II and fantasized about his escape after Cromwell won the Civil War. Then, my love extended to just about all of British history. I suppose that was because I also loved British literature. I would watch a historical movie on television, and pretend I was wearing those beautiful dresses that I wouldn't have been able to move in. That's as close as I've come to historical reenactment or even dressing up. But it sounds like fun! I also streamed about being on a pirate ship when I was a teenager, but that came about after reading Frenchman's Creek by Daphne DuMaurier. I still like to daydream, but I don't think I'll be dressing up soon! (The links distract just a little bit. Try to hook them up just to a word on which to click.)

    1. Hello Maria! I read Frenchmans Creek too. In fact I loved Daphne and read a lot of her books. I couldn't have worn the dresses though. I had to swash buckle or nothing! 😃. Give it a go, Maria! Sounds like you'd enjoy it. (Regarding the links, I tried to create just a word, but don't know how 🤔). Jo