I was delighted to be invited to the 2011 Wassail last Saturday courtesy of James of Rocquettes Cider. The ancient art of wassailing involved us all coming together to celebrate the coming year and wish for plenty of long hot summer days and a plentiful crop of apples and...yes...some great cider.
Not that I am a cider drinker, but it was fantastic to be involved in this event. I took my friends Jo and Sam along with me and we met everyone else at the Last Post for some hot cider before walking down the road making lots and lots of noise (children shouting, me banging a spoon against a saucepan, Jo hitting the maracas so hard one of them broke, Sam banging a baking tray, someone blowing into a bugle, James humming his harmonica, more people banging singing bowls and saucepans and everyone making stupid amounts of headache-inducing noise) all the way to the orchard.
Once at the orchard the noise continued to wake the orchard (last year was apparently good and it worked because they had much more apples than usual) as we stood around an apple tree glowing in candlelight, before James read his Pagan rhyme and blessed the tree with what I assume to be cider, and people hung medallions of toast from the branches to feed the Robin who is guardian of the orchard!
So much fun!
Back at the Last post we were treated to the sounds of "the John Welsey Stone" who played a lively set of "Raw humped up sounds in the Wassail tradition". Plus there were hotdogs if you were so inclined - no vegetarian this year though!
It was a night of coincidences and I had a thoroughly enjoyable time meeting up with old friends and making new ones in the process.
So let's hope for lots of apples this year and more wassailing fun next year!