Hazel, willow, beef and storytelling from Bedfordshire

Wassledine willow wassail

Wassledine willow wassail working well, except Truffle the dog

Wassledine willow wassail working well, except Truffle the dog

It’s hard to ask for help. Pride, perhaps mixed with the certain knowledge that the help we might request is for work that is hard, cold and pretty dull. On many occasions  over the last few years however, visitors have suggested we tell them when we need a hand; but we’ve not been good at asking.This year we did and things turned out well. We decided that a ‘wassail’ might be the thing to attract some volunteer help, excused by the promise of some good food and good company and a day out in the best fresh air that Gravenhurst has to offer. If a libation would aid next year’s willow growth, that could only help.

Jane spent some time reading about wassailing. Apple growers are reputed to beat their trees still, discharge shotguns and pour liberal quantities of cider onto their orchard’s soil; all in the interest of improving the quality of future harvests. Tradition, apparently stretched to other crops and although we couldn’t find any reference to willow, we felt that the willow gods might be pleased if we offered them a little something.

Rather than putting a general call out, we decided to ask a small group of people who have offered help in the past. And they came. Or at least those that weren’t struck down by the flu.

Bread and borsht

Bread and borsht

What a great day! I really think everyone enjoyed themselves even though it was extremely cold. Jane’s beef borscht was a definite hit and the wassail cup went down very well too. Thanks to everyone for their help. Particular to Jenny for her most excellent fruit cake. We really hope you did enjoy the day; we certainly did. If we do it again next year, it will have become a tradition and I feel a willow song and costume (or at least a daft hat) coming on. Any ideas – please let us know.

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