For the third year running I attended the Barrington Court Wassail evening. Wassailing is an ancient tradition which involves blessing your apple trees for their forthcoming cider crop, and banishing any evil spirits by making a lot of noise. This was the biggest Wassail at Barrington since it was re-introduced. We had a mummers group from Langport who did their wonderful play, with everyone joining in cheering on brave St George and hissing and booing the Devil! There was also a magnificent Samba drumming band who whipped up a hell of a noise and an irresistable rhythm that had people swaying and feet tapping. We also had a Wassail specialist who sang some old carols - and then there was me! I read the Gloucestershire Carol which is another traditional Wassail poem/tune. Then we progress to the main apple tree and the blessing begins, with much offering of cider and toast, shouting and even the letting off of guns!
All the cudos for organising this event must go to my old mate Matthew Applegate who did a magnificent job and was a superb MC for the whole thing. In the deep winter darkness and with a huge bonfire to warm our hearts (and generous quantities of Barrington Court's own cider!) it was a perfect evening - until the heavens opened. It rained in quite Biblical proportions and I have to say I was soon drenched, frozen and in need of food. So I quietly sloped away from Barrington and headed back to Crewkerne and a Chinese takeaway! Lovely.