Traditionally held on Twelfth Night 6th January or the old Twelfth Night, 17th January. I have more information and a couple more pictures but has anyone else anything to add, any bits of folklore, any Wassail party stories to share etc.
Standing around the corner tree in the orchard after making a noise - note the pans and spoons! I think this is when we were singing the Wassail song.
Last weekend we went to a Wassail Party - a new experience - in a newly planted cider orchard on the Isle of Wight. Wassailing is to ensure a good cider crop in the coming year and is more common in cider growing areas such as Somerset, Devon and Hereford. We ate and drank, walked up to the tree at the edge of the orchard making a lot of noise, sang our Wassailing song, tipped cider over the tree and tied a piece of apple cake soaked in cider in the tree ( the cake was delicious - I ate some of it for the 'pudding course' of the meal later). Traditionally the cake is for the robins which are the good spirits of the orchard.
The apple cake tied in the tree after everyone had taken it in turns to sprinkle cider over the tree
The Fire pit which was very welcome and much needed to stand around on such a cold day, note the large pan of 'chilli stew' and the small pan of mulled cider in the corner and the potatoes wrapped in foil.
Apologies if there has been a long gap - a combination of being busy and a computer update. I am now back on track and learning (slowly) what to do with the new computer.
Sister Anselma tells me we now have an Isle of Wight stockist for Little Pax. Unfortunately there has been nowhere to buy this Isle of Wight Apple on the Island, although available from Frank P Matthews (mail order) and Orange Pippin (online) there has been nowhere local to buy trees of this variety. I gather Palmers Brook Nursery in Wootton will be stocking it shortly and Quarr Abbey may be ordering some more trees for sale. Don't forget money from each sale goes to St Cecilia's Abbey in Ryde where the apple was raised by Sister Anselma - you can read the story elsewhere on this website. This is a rich tasting small apple which stores well.
Our shed has plenty of apples but this warm weather is not helping them to keep and the blackbirds are enjoying the throwouts as a feast. It has been so warm and damp that even the red Siberian crab in the front garden is softening up so that the birds can eat it. It usually stays hard and firm until March.
Going back to my query and photos earlier this year, we have plenty of mistletoe but without berries - this is still a mystery as I can't find a female mistletoe anywhere in the neighbourhood to account for the increase in plants in our garden. Thank you Steve from the Orchard Survey for your suggestions.
I lost some contacts and emails during the update - there may be a few people waiting to hear from us about pruning - if it is you please get in touch or I shall revert to the phone. There is one local lady who I only had a email for contact and no phone so if you would like pruning advice please get in touch.