Saturday, 15 January 2011

Wassail !

Here's to thee, old apple tree,
Long may you bear.
Hats full, caps full,
Three bushel bags full,
And a little heap under the stairs.

This afternoon I went out with friends to Hayles Fruit Farm to join in with the Wassail. Lots of people were there, including our local Morris team Happenstance and a local Community choir. The children were given cup cakes, two of which had a coin inside them...the cupcakes not the children!. One for the girls red wrapped cakes and one in the boys green wrapped cakes. Whoever found the coins were crowned The Wassail King and Queen. They then led a procession to the oldest part of the orchards. Everyone circled a beautiful old Blenheim Orange. The Wassail Bowl was filled with 'Badgers Bottom' Cider, and everyone could take a piece of toast dip it into the cider and place it into the branches of the old tree. After The Gloucestershire Wassail was sung a gun was fired into the tree.The gun shot is to wake the tree and the toast is to promote a good harvest .

The procession then reformed by us all parading around the tree with lit lanterns. We were all offered hot apple punch...non alcoholic...,there was more dancing with the crowd joining in and more cheers. The event is organised jointly by 'Marking the Year' and Hayles Fruit Farm.

The songs were handed out on printed sheets so that we could all join in. I appreciated the mention on the sheet that I had painted their signs...If the event carries on getting bigger I expect they will need some more signs !

The afternoon was a great communal event and a new revival of a very old traditional festival. Of late the people of Winchcombe seem to be really getting together. Shopkeepers are working on special opening events such as the recent Art and Antiques weekend. Our Country Fair is getting bigger and bigger each year, and more community events such as The Arts and Music Festival in May are being organised. It's good seeing a good local community get even better. and

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