A wassailing time!

On the morn of the old 12th night my-friend-T, along with her 10 year old Pickle and I, (hmmm, her daughter who we have nick-named Pickle, not an actual 10 year old pickle…) well, we went-a-wandering.

IMG_7490.JPG Through the St Martins lanes we wandered, until we reached the neolithic passage grave of Dolmen de Faldouet.

IMG_7491.JPGWhilst Pickle made fairy houses out of twigs in the dolmen, we went in search of ivy bounty, to make head-dresses for our Wassail. As dusk fell we made our way to a friends’ orchard, deep and dark in the Rozel countryside. We congregated on this chilly night, warmed by the conversations of dear, old friends and the delights of making new friends, not to mention the first taste of the cider we made here in this orchard last autumn. Delicious! Surely there’s not a better way to wish good health to an orchard, than by drinking the fruits of its labours from the last year.

SAM_0014.JPG On the aga we warmed through cider, nutmeg, ginger, old spice (oops, possibly allspice), sugar and the flesh of baked apple whisked in to make a traditional Lambswool wassail for us to drink and to toast to the health of the trees.

SAM_0020.JPG A king and queen were chosen and regally adorned in their ivy-leaved headdresses. They led the procession to tallest and strongest tree in the orchard.

SAM_0022.JPG Round and around the tree we went, making lots of noise, the banging of pots, the clinking of glasses and merry shouting, to scare away any evil spirits lurking in the depths of the orchard.

SAM_0023.JPG We circled around the tree and drank the warm mulled cider to wish it good health. Wassail!

SAM_0033.JPG You’ve heard about toasting someone’s health, but did you know that it originated from wassailing? We soaked pieces of toast in the Lambswool wassail and threaded them onto branches of the old apple tree, as a toast to its health; to return the gift of the last autumn bounty; and as a gift to the tree spirits.

SAM_0064.JPG Back in the barn once more, out came the guitar for an old-fashioned sign along. My hubby had penned a wassailing song, with tales of the apple harvest, the trials and tribulations of making the cider, and the wassailing. He played it through once and then we all joined in, in tune or otherwise (me), it mattered not.

SAM_0070.JPG We feasted on bread, cheese and dorset apple traybake, washed down with cider and ale and more than a sprinkle of merriment.

A great evening with the best of friends. Wassail!

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