If you have an apple orchard, and especially if you’re hoping to get some cider from it, then one tactic to ensuring a good harvest is to Wassail it. Briefly, this consists of alternately bribing the trees with gifts of toast dipped in cider, and frightening evil spirits with noise and ructions.
Over at Hogacre, we’ve been assisting doggedly wassailing their orchard for some years. As far as I know, none of the trees have yet to produce fruit. Obviously without our efforts things would be in an even more parlous state.
As usual, this year we did a few dances while the crowd waited for darkness to arrive.
Then in the gloaming we head over to the smallest tree in the orchard, where master of ceremonies Tim Healy explains wassailing and related customs, and leads the crowd in singing and noise.