Thursday, 6 May 2010

May day

May day seems to have been slowly disappearing in the UK since my childhood (not so long ago!) when we had a maypole in the playground and enforced country dancing. I have heard that it's a government conspiracy because it's traditionally associated with workers getting together and agitating but I suspect that it just gets forgotten about in all our busyness.

There are celebrations around May day in Cornwall, Padstow 'Obby 'Oss and Helston flora day but neither involve a maypole. So we felt incredibly lucky to come across a revived May day picnic with maypole just outside Penzance at Trereife house. It was so lovely, completely hand made and nothing commercial apart from nettle cider and pimms for sale (the nettle cider is an acquired taste although J liked it).

Sadly we had no camera over the last week or so (only because no-one can remember to buy batteries!) So these gorgeous pictures are not my own beautiful images but they capture the spirit.

The only stalls were demonstrations of green living. One lovely man had brought samples of water from local springs to try (ones that are regularly used so safe to drink from) and there was a talk on forest gardening. But my favourite thing which we absolutely have to make was the forerunner of the slow cooker, a haybox cooker. You bring your casserole up to boiling and then simply put it in a box of hay all day to cook, no fuel at all! A friend said she's made one in a big chest that will take three pans and is making most of the family meals in it. So we have a plan to make one and I will write more after we have experimented.

And of course the maypole was beautiful, decorated with bluebells and greenery and strings with flags decorated in pressed leaves. There was cornish dancing and beautiful music along with dancing around the maypole. The council were not interested in funding this festival which I can't help feeling was a good thing, better to have willing volunteers and to be able to make it a community creation. I hope you all had a lovely May day too, maybe there's a revival out there.

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