I’ve had an epiphany.

8 Jan
Apparently, rural Somerset is really not that weird for most of the year until I get there. I’m not sure whether to believe this, since my last visit involved celebrating "Tower Day" (the anniversary of Norton-sub-Hamdon church tower being struck by lightning), and setting my socks on fire. This weekend I innocently headed down there to pick up Simon (in my train), being unaware that I would not only be helping to host an epiphany party, but that epiphany is the day of choice for Wassailing.
Wassailing, for those of you who don’t get to watch Points West, is a nice little Pagan ritual basically involving singing to apple trees to encourage them to produce more cider next year. So here’s how it went at Haselbury Plucknett. First off, everyone drunk some mulled cider, tramping through the kitchen in their wellies. Next, the Apple Queen (not voted democratically, just the daughter of the farmer), rode through the farm on her horse, accompanied by her Apple Lady In Waiting, up to the orchard, where she was crowned with a crown made of, predictably, apples. We all clapped at this point, as seemed right and proper.
Then a sterling effort was made by Sim’s dad, the Reverend Peter Thomas, to Christianise the thing by saying a prayer or two. However, I think this was somewhat overruled by the next bit – pouring a libation of cider into the earth to make sure it stayed friendly, or something. Next up, the farmer explained, and I quote: "it is tradition for a piece of toast, soaked in cider, to be placed in the branches of an apple tree by a small boy."
So we did that.
Then an old man fired a rifle, mercifully missing the boy in the tree who it looked like he was aiming for, and we all made a lot of noise.
This seemed to do the trick, because we were then all free to sing wassailing songs (all about cider) around the wassailing bonfire, accompanied by a violin, an accordian and a lute.
We went home after that, to prepare for the epiphany party, obviously, but I can only imagine that the others partied on all night. Well you would, wouldn’t you.
And since then I have been going around with that flipping song in my head.
"a little drop of ziderrrr will do us no ‘arm."

4 Responses to “I’ve had an epiphany.”

  1. James Edwards-Smallbone 10/01/2007 at 10:24 pm #

    So just normal everyday westcountry occurences then.

  2. MrTimUk 16/01/2007 at 10:24 pm #

    Sounds a lot like the Uno-Dos-Toast ritual…

  3. Joe Farrow 16/01/2007 at 10:24 pm #

    Ahhhh cider…….. I miss the West Country, have you been to a real live Shindig yet?


  1. my wassailing bowl « Mel is a geek - 22/05/2011

    […] in Chiselborough to a populace that doesn’t see the ironic charm of their village events. Last year, a lady there recognised me and said, “weren’t you down here for Tower Day?”, to […]

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