Thursday, 22 June 2017

Midsummer's Night 2017.

I know a bank where the wild thyme blows,
Where oxlips and the nodding violet grows,
Quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine,
With sweet musk-roses and with eglantine:
There sleeps Titania sometime of the night,
Lulled in these flowers with dances and delight.
(Oberon, Act 2 Scene 1)

A Midsummer's Night's Dream.

Midsummer's has always had a dreamlike quality for me and I've always celebrated it.

In 2014, Robyn and me were up on Box hill, drinking Asti and watching the night fall. Then in the far distance, over 50 miles away, we watched in miniature, Glyndourne Opera celebrating its anniversary with fireworks. A magical night indeed.

In 2015 we spent the night before Midsummer's Day at Stonehenge, waiting for dawn. What words can describe the sight of the sun rising through the stones?

2016 wasn't so great - we had a wedding to sort out in far too little time and the Solstice had to take second place.

This year we didn't have any great plans - and in the end we walked to Ankerwycke to spend a little time at the Ancient Yew Tree - where King Henry the 8th wooed Anne Boleyn and near where The Magna Carta was signed.

It's a magical and mystical place - where the local Witches Coven carry out their ceremonies (this is an area where 'The Old Religions' have survived) around a Yew tree which may well be 2000 years old.

I foolishly walked all the way (well why not?) and as we got to the fields we marvelled in the oranges and yellows of the last flare of the suns setting.

All around us rabbits were rustling and cows were wandering about to find somewhere comfortable for the night.

It was still stinging hot.

We passed the pond and in the distance, the Thames glinted. We walked through the wood to the ruins of the old abbey.

And when we got to the little glade where the Yew is, Robyn tied one of our ribbons to the tree, something which has happened for millennia - for luck.

Then we walked back - by now I was in a lot of pain and struggling, but I made it.

Quite an achievement and part of the magic of the night.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)
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