Friday 21st January 2010
The evening was an absolute success. Despite the bitter cold, locals and curious people from Bristol turned out for Barley Wood’s first Wassail. They entered past a torch lit gate and walked down the long driveway through the orchard. Each guest was handed a piece of toffee apple cake, inside two of the cakes were hidden beans. These beans would then choose who would become the Wassail King and Queen. At 8.30 pm the crowd was led, by flaming torch, to the corner of the orchard. Ahead the oldest tree was lit by hundreds of hanging tea-lights. Alan addressed the crowd rallying them together before declaring that they must now eat their toffee apple cake, a brief moment and there were two shouts. Mark Cox the Barley Wood gardener stepped forward and then Poppy Perezz shouted and raised her hand containing the small pink bean. The King and Queen were then called forward to perform the Wassail ceremony. Poppy poured cider on the roots and hung toast in the tree, an offering to the robin, guardian of the apple tree. The Wassail song followed with rapturous noise from all the Wassailers and ended with two blasts of a shotgun fired over the tree
Next our friends, including Tom Herbert from Hobbs House bakery, began their Mummers play. They came from Horsely and had performed their play at their own Wassail the previous week. It was tremendous and everyone declared that they had never seen anything like it. The group had tweaked the traditional play in order to offer a modern message, this was achieved with humour and style. The Mummers play took place in a circle of fire, which initially seemed to spiral into a flaming vortex but quickly died down to ankle level flames.
Hot cider and Janet’s Jungle Juice from Westcroft cider were on sale. Music in the cider barn kicked off at 10pm, candlit with the rich smell of apples, the atmosphere was beautiful. Poppy Perezz were excellent and the whole barn were bouncing to their wonderful self titled Electro Latin Pop.
The Barley Wood Wassail will be back next January, with a bigger Bar more Music and more fires. We really hope you won’t miss it.