By David Lyons - 28th November 2019 1:15pm
Haddenham orchard volunteers, local residents and curious visitors will be conducting a rather different working party in Townsend Community Orchard on Saturday 11th January.
As part of a time-honoured tradition they will be wassailing the fruit trees to bring about a good crop of apples next autumn.
Wassailing is one of those ancient customs that have survived in rural communities (and increasingly in urban ones) and become refined and redefined as culture changes. As a means to drive out evil spirits and promote good health and a good crop in the coming year it was an accepted calendar custom which has waxed and waned in the 21st century.
More recently made popular by the Archers radio programme and TV programmes it is also embraced by commercial cider makers as a promotional opportunity. The majority of wassail events are run by local communities wanting to raise awareness of the natural and social capital locked up in these special places.
In 2019 the Townsend Community orchard play host to a 'Jazz picnic' and children's bedtime stories during the feast festival, besides the annual Easter Egg Hunt. It has been proposed that the orchard host a Shakespeare play in 2020 and perhaps some light opera, if sponsorship can be found.
Meet outside the bakery at Fort End from 4pm on Saturday 11th Januarywith a procession up Bakers Alley to Townsend Community Orchard at 4.30pm where will enjoy mulled cider and perhaps some apple cake...last year someone even brought a bottle of cider brandy!
Bring: some cider, torches, musical instruments (optional!), warm clothes, suitable footwear, children, (we need them to put toast in the trees!), a slice of toast, some cider, apple cake and good cheer.
For more info call Dave on 01844 296174
The Wassail is organised by the Townsend Community Orchard group, a sub- committee of Haddenham Parish Council.
"Here's to thee, old apple tree, Whence thou mayst bud
And whence thou mayst blow
And whence thou mayst bear apples enow! Hats full!
Caps full! Bushel--bushel--sacks full,
And my pockets full too! Huzza
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