Penkhull Wassail!

Morris dancers in their tatters

Memory of Doomesday Morris at Penkhull Wassail a couple of years ago. They danced and beat sticks to encourage the ancient Penkhull Apple tree to bud, flower and bear fruit later in the year. They were surrounded by a crowd of people, maybe two or three hundred. Some if us carried flaming torches to light our way. A walk around the boundaries of Penkhull and into local hostelries. I was part of the Mystery Singers choir who sang Wassail songs as we stopped off at the pubs…

Crowds and laughter, mad jolly japes, humans being gregarious. That’s what I miss. Thank goodness for Mysterious madness and eccentricity. Let’s pray to the gods of Wassail for this to come again one day, drink cider, jingle your bells, stamp your clogs, crash your sticks together! WASSAIL!

A year ago

I wrote this poem on Facebook a year ago. The Wassail which would have been in January, had been cancelled so I wrote this poem. It might be cancelled again in January 2022.

Drink mulled cider

Dance and turn

beat the apple bough

Sing and burn

Fires to fight

And defeat the dark

Bring good fortune

To the bark.

Wassail the folk

Who sing in praise

A happy new year

And prosperity raise.

Remembered wassail

But not this time

Socially distanced

Won’t be the same.

Apple a day

Apple found in our garden in December. I wrote about it in a blog about Wassails. We joined in a virtual Wassail at the weekend and drank too much cider. People posted photos of previous years Wassails when they walked about with flaming torches around the boundaries of the parish. No threats were made but there were so many of us we had to have a police escort and cars were stopped as we wandered down the road to the Penkhull apple tree. A few jolly hours to beat back the cold and the dark. In some places in the past they used to shoot shotguns at the trees to make them flower and bear fruit. There are other traditions where they beat the trunks of Walnut trees to get them to bear fruit. We’ve never had that problem with ours. The squirrels always find enough nuts and then we have to find places far away to plant the saplings, we’ve already got too many!

Another cake?

I really want to make another apple cake but I keep getting distracted. I have paintings to take to a gallery who are going to try to sell them on line for me. I have to get my cats flea treatments from the vets. I have online lectures to attend. I don’t know how much longer the apples will last. Yesterday I used a large one to make apple sauce. I added cider instead of water and cooked the fruit slowly over a low heat v gradually mashing down the apples. Delicious with cream.

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