Monthly Archives: January 2012

Wassailling. Ledbury, Herefordshire. January 2012.

My brother, his wife and some friends and I went wassailing in Herefordshire. It was a curious experience. A wonderfully clear evening – one forgets how many stars can be seen in the countryside – was obscured by smoke from paraffin-doused torches. It was cold.

There were a lot of Morris dancers, faces blacked (perhaps a tradition suggesting their origin as “moorish dancers”?) and tophats decked out with vegetation – the living embodiment of the green man, I assume. (I used to have a copy of “The Golden Bough”, which must explain all this; perhaps I prefer making up my own explanations…)

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