Saturday, 14 January 2012

Days Out in Devon: Wassailing

My usual Friday night consists of snuggling down into my aptly named Stressless  chair with a glass of something stronger than a cuppa and watching whatever's been recorded that takes my fancy.  But last night I went out and arrived home at the heady hour of 8:30pm.  Easy tiger!  Louis and I attended the annual Wassail in the orchard at Parke, the headquarters of the Dartmoor National Park, a family friendly event organised by Ranger Ralph but open to all.  These strange gentleman came too.

Now wassailing is an Olde English tradition which sees evil spirits being scared away from apple trees so that a good crop is produced for cider making.   A thoroughly productive exercise I hope you'll all agree. So how do  you promote rich fruity pickings without resorting to copious amounts of Miracle-Gro.  Easy!  You just sing to the trees with a bunch of Morris men whilst a big bloke  fires a shotgun into the sky and the kids beat improved drums.  This is supposed  to ward off the devil and his mates.  Then after that's all done and dusted,  the  branch or the oldest tree in the orchard is then adorned with toast dunked in cider.  Here's Louis, carrying his Quality Street tin and spatula drum kit, with the toast he made himself over the campfire.  No its not a trick of the light.  It was  really that black.  Remind me not to ask him to make breakfast.

We went back in broad daylight just to make sure that the whole set surreal shenanigans  hadn't been a figment of our imaginations.  Et voila!  Here's the boy himself under the bread strewn branches.  So it wasn't all a bizarre dream fuelled by a tiny shot of scrumpy!  And just in case you're wondering the shot is meant to be at a funny angle.  I was trying to be arty.

1 comment:

  1. I am so happy to know that the old traditions are being kept up, it is what England is all about. Louis has such a sweet face. I had to enlarge the picture to make sure that it was really toast on his stick!