WASSAILING IN OUR APPLE ORCHARD!
Since for us the farm is more of a sideline than a primary source of revenue, we have been able to retain many features that a more mercenary approach would have put paid to years ago, and our traditional apple orchard is a very nice example of this. According to Marcus Henderson of the Kent Cider Company, for whom the annual crop is destined, some of the trees are likely to be around a century old, which makes them particularly attractive subjects for the ancient custom of wassailing. As that Wikipedia source explains, The purpose of this is to awake the cider apple trees and scare away evil spirits to ensure a good harvest of fruit in the autumn, and it duly took place (for the 14th successive year!) last weekend, with the date being chosen to more or less coincide with the old Twelfth Night. In Marcus’ version, this takes place just after sunset, when the revellers gather around a decent fire and consume potentially significant quantities of his admittedly excellent products. Whether it actually helps the trees I cannot say, but clearly that isn’t the point. It’s a nice throwback to rather less frantic times than the current crazy ones, so it should certainly help some of us!