Saturday, December 2, 2023

Waes Hael to all!


Photo/ Rich Ward

Aelfgythe Border Morris’ Squire, Pam Morley, reports on their wassail.

Aelfgythe Border Morris hosted another successful annual Wassail, starting at The Crown Inn, Withybed, with dancing from five Morris sides: Alvechurch Morris Men, Bloodstone Border Morris, Pebworth Morris, Ragged Oak Morris and, of course, Aelfgythe.

The participants and audience (assisted by John Bright’s Regiment of Foote from the English Civil War Society) processed through the village to The Weighbridge Pub at Scarfield Wharf. We were lucky that the weather was dry and not as cold as in previous years.

The Wassail ceremony, led by Steve, our Green Man, followed its usual pattern, with the help of the Alvechurch Community Choir who sang a traditional Wassail carol. The Green Man explained the purpose of a Wassail with many cries of “Waes Hael”, meaning live well, or good health, followed by the traditional response of “Drink Hael”, or drink well, from the audience.

The John Bright’s musketeers played their part in waking up the trees by firing several rounds, which produced some wonderful flashes of gunpowder. The audience also took an important role, joining in with the chorus of our Wassail poem and then hanging toast in the branches of the trees. The orchard had been decorated with many lights in the trees and looked absolutely magical.

After the actual Wassail was over, there was more dancing and then the invited guests were treated to very welcome hot soup and a buffet. The evening finished with a social gathering and music session.

Many people helped to make the evening such a success, and Aelfgythe would like to thank the publicans, Morris dancers and musicians, John Bright’s Regiment of Foote, Alvechurch Community Choir, ABC Leisure for their generous sponsorship and donation of a day boat pass for our raffle prize, and all our friends and supporters who worked hard to make sure the evening passed without a hitch.

We would also like to thank the audience for their contribution and support, and the kind permission from photographers Mark Easter and Rich Ward to use their fabulous pictures.

This year’s Wassail was the best yet, and we hope everyone had as much fun as we did. We are already planning next year’s event, which will be held on Saturday February 6, 2021.

If any women would like to try Morris dancing, or any musicians would like to play with the band, email for more details. You could be dancing or playing for next year’s celebrations! Until next year. . . Waes Hael to you all.