Sunday, 29 January 2012

Apple Tree Wassail !

'Wes hal' Saxon for be Hale and in good health' - Our Winchcombe Morris Happenstance organised a traditional Wassail again this year and its getting bigger and better each year.


The apple tree wassail is a toast to the tree , wishing for a good harvest of fruit in the autumn. Years ago labourers were paid partly in cider so it encouraged labourers to want to work at the farm with the best cider.

Part of the tradition is to crown a King and Queen who lead the procession to a chosen tree.


Everyone forms a ring around the tree and makes lots of noise including a gun shot into its boughs to wake the tree spirit up. I the old days a shot into the top boughs of a tree would also break off dead branches.
You can see one ofthe tree spirits..if you look !

The King and Queen are the first to dip toast into cider and hang on the tree...
"Here's to thee, old apple tree, That blooms well, bears well. Hats full, caps full, Three bushel bags full, An' all under one tree. Hurrah! Hurrah"

...then everyone joins in doing the same....Flo the young whippet was being fed toast by some of the children....I bet she had a hangover this morning especially when it was dipped in 'Badgers Bottom' Cider !
Bob holding the Wassail Bowl.
   The Wassail bowl is filled with a special spiced apple drink which is tasted then the green man pours it around the trunk of the chosen tree.
   Old apple tree, we'll wassail thee,
And hoping thou wilt bear.
The Lord does know where we shall be
To be merry anither year.
To blow well and to bear well,
And so merry let us be;
Let ev'ry man drink up his cup
And health to the apple tree

Bob, Cressida and the Green man
"Here's to thee, old apple tree, That blooms well, bears well. Hats full, caps full, Three bushel bags full, An' all under one tree. Hurrah! Hurrah"

Apple-tree, apple-tree,
Bear good fruit,
Or down with your top
And up with your root.-19th century


 Bud well, bear well
God send you fare well;
Every sprig and every spray
A bushel of apples next New Year Day.-19th century Worcestershire


     Blowe, blowe, bear well,
Spring well in April,
Every sprig and every spray
Bear a bushel of apples against
Next new year’s day -Painswick in Gloucestershire
The torchlit procession back up to Hayles Tea Shop for warm apple juice, tea and cake !

Albion Band singing Wassail

If you fancy a day out why not visit Hailes Abbey, Hailes Church then have Lunch or Tea at Hayles Fruit Farm..and don't forget to visit Winchcombe !










Sunday, 22 January 2012

Skulls and Morris

Today is the 21st of January and we joined in the celebrations of Hen Galan.,the end of the old year and the start of the new. ( Normally the13th January according to the Julian calender www.timeanddate.com/calendar/julian-calendar.html ).In 1752 everyone moved to the Gregorian calender, except for a small community in Pembrokshire, Cwm Gwaum. Here it is celebrated with children singing traditional songs trying to get money or sweets from house to house. ..along with the Mari Lwyd.Its an old Welsh tradition that has had a revival here in Chepstow.
There were a lot of men and women dressed in multicoloured ragged jackets, fancy hats and blacked faces..Border Morris - mainly dance teams using sticks from along the welsh English borders.
I remember in the past seeing them burn the end of a cork to wipe their faces with...probably not pc now so have to use face paint !. The event is organised by Widder Morris www.thewidders.co.uk/widders_wassail.htm .
Later in the early evening the sides from Wales meet the wassailers and hankerchief morris dancers from England half way across the bridge. (One side of the bridge is in England the other in Wales.) Wassailing is a tradition from the south of England...and guess what they were from Winchcombe !
.
Later in the early evening the sides from Wales meet the wassailers and hankerchief morris dancers from England half way across the bridge. (One side of the bridge is in England the other in Wales.) Wassailing is a tradition from the south of England...and guess what they were from Winchcombe ! The Mari Lwyd also shows his bony whiteface...The Mari Lwyd The Grey Mare...or even night mare!  It is unique to this part of Wales and is used to celebrate the passing of Midwinter . The revellers knock on doors singing as they go. The occupants of the houses can either answer the door with drink and food,or they can challenge the revellers to a singing competition. The following links to a great BBC black and white film of the knocking on doors and singing. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_xFo6Hifzk

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Ice cream music

Tonight the local ice cream van came down the road, I'm not sure how good their business is...most of us have freezers but I do love hearing its chimes. I have an awful thing to admit though...I am one of those Mothers who used to tell their child that if you can hear the music then the van has run out of ice cream....the shame of it ! We can all have ice cream in the freezer but you can't beat a '99'
Charles II started the rage for Ice cream in this country but the hey day of the van was in the 1950's. The earliest vans had a hand bell but the motorised vans could use the vans electrical system to power a type of Swiss musical box. It was designed by Ray Harris and Bob Vickers for the Toni Bell Organisation in 1954. The traditional loudspeaker a ' Grampion horn' was pointed down to the road so that the sound would surround the van evenly. Favourite tunes were and still are 'Greensleeves', 'Teddy Bears picnic ' and our local one ' The merry widow '. If you click on the following link there are a selection of tunes to hear-
 .http://menmedia.co.uk/tamesideadvertiser/news/s/1060219_does_this_chime_with_you

The 'mobilers' as the ice cream people call them can now play all sorts of tunes, with crystal clear clarity all on a chip...as long as the tune is out of copyright. One manufacturer is having talks with a record producer so who knows what the future holds !
The following link is to an ice cream van orchestra ...
http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/video/2009/may/04/whitechapel-ice-cream

In Belfast the police while trying to stop a crowd of teenagers decided to broadcast ice cream music through their tannoys ! Apparently the teenagers stopped throwing and began laughing...
http://www.policespecials.com/forum/index.php?/topic/107973-police-cool-belfast-trouble-with-ice-cream-van-music/

No photos today ,I didn't get out fast enough with my camera but if you are into old time music you might like to listen to the following link...Flory FForde singing 'Oh, Oh Antonio ' kindly shared by Gramaphoneshane.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdaXZEbHi88

In quaint native dress an Italian maid
Was seeping distress as the streets she strayed
Searching in every part for her bold sweetheart
And his ice-cream cart
Her English was bad It cannot be denied
And so to herself In Italian she cried
Oh! Oh!  Antonio, he's gone away Left me alone-ee-o,
 all on my own-ee-o
I want to meet him with his new sweetheart
Then up will go Antonio and his ice-cream cart
Oh! Oh! Antonio, he's gone away Left me alone-ee-o,
all on my own-ee-o
I want to meet him with his new sweetheart
Then up will go Antonio and his ice-cream cart

Oh Francis Rossi fro Status Quo isfrom an old Ice Cream Family...perhaps their song  ' Whatever you want ' is actualy about ice cream !

  ice cream van
Picture from Zacek Perri-Corgi photos



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