Jim Causley's new song, informed by the workshops at the farm, was the centrepiece of The Halstow Wassail, convened on 18th January 2020. We took apple tree wassailing and regional harvest-time conventions as our starting point, shifting attention onto the wider microbial ecology of the farm. We began with an incantation, which takes a form similar to many others, before breaking into a celebration of the yeasts, bacteria and moulds to be found in the orchards and barns, on the apples and presses, in the barrels and – significantly – within each of the guests and in the cider they drink as they take part in the wassail.
Abigail North's new bowl, a gift to the Grays, remains at the farm. It's hung in an apple tree, before being passed around between guests, at each year's wassail. §
Robert Darch produced a new series of photographs documenting the wassail at Halstow, detailing the proceedings as the singers, chorus, and guests they gathered at the apple tree. §