High on the hill the fog which has been forecast for shortly after dawn is only manifesting itself in the occasional wisp. In the growing light the view is spectacular, taking in the valley below and the hills in the distance. Everybody is out of breath after the climb especialy the bloke who has carried the Dorset Ooser up to take part in the celebrations for it is no small bit of kit. This mask, representing the Horned God Cernnunes, has been part of local folklore for many centuries. As another name for the Horned God is Cerne his appearance here each May Day is possibly highly appropriate - though if there is any connection between the Horned God and the name of the village we've no doubt that it is a local secret.
Now to the dancing and the stars of the show-the Wessex Morris Men. Even at 05.15 and after climbing the bloody big hill there are great elements of humour, entertainment and energy with their dancing in the dawn-the po-faced traditionalists of modern perception they certainly aint! Besides the dancers themselves there are about twenty or so folk like ourselves who have come as spectators, both to the dancers and the sunrise, but you know that even if nobody came to watch these guys would still be up here having fun. As with most, if not all, Morris sides the Wessex Morris Men have a Fool-a character dressed in a smock and carrying an inflated pigs bladder tied to the end of a short stick. This latter he uses to beat any of the dancers not keeping to the correct steps and also to keep the spectators in line. We noticed that this guy is obviously somewhat older than the rest of the side but it was not until we checked out their website that we discovered he was one of the founders of the Wessex Morris Men. As this was back in 1957 it would put his age now into his 70's-and still fit enough to dance energetically after climbing up a bloody big hill before dawn. Hats of to Jim!
Getting down the hill is a lot harder work than getting up, the steepness combines with the slipperyness, but thoughts of a fry-up overrides all else and sees us down without mis-hap. To add to the mornings' fun a Hare popped out of a field at the side of the road, gave us a friendly wink and disappeard back from where it had come. It was as if it had been waiting for us, the Spirit of the Fields. Following breakfast we head for Glastonbury and by 9am we are sat on the Tor-our second bloody big hill of the day and well worth it to sit and look out over Somerset under a clear blue sky. Then off to the cheese farm to pick up the Masters posh cheese (see earlier post 'Glastonbury and Cheese'. It will not enlighten you much as to why we do this but it will show that this behaviour is not out of character for us) The rest of the day we spend relaxing in the town, watching the world go by and the pageantry taking place in the market square; which involves more dancing, the crowning of the May King and Queen, music and folk stopping work for a day to take part: Glastonbury certainly knows how to celebrate! As a special treat to ourselves, on our way home we stop off at Heck's the Scrumpy farm for a couple of gallons of their finest straight out of the barrel. Summer has arrived.