Tag Archives: The Star

Midsummer Crawl 2017- Oak to Holly

IMAG0058IMG_1100What did you do on the hottest June day for 40 years? No-one knew exactly what to expect for the second Midsummer Crawl, even those who were in on the planning, but the outline of events was in place. As before, we convened at the Apni Haveli (formerly the Woodman) opposite an oak tree for initial mingling before the assembled party read out snippets of information about how Midsummer is celebrated in various countries round the world. These gave an inkling of what was to follow. Then came the adorning of the willow headdresses which culminated in revealing John as the Oak King, with Dee as his consort, The Goddess. It was explained that tonight they would consummate their union in an act so overwhelming that the Oak King would perish and be replaced by the Holly King who would steadily gain in power until midwinter. Needless to say, there was a fair amount of innuendo throughout the evening.

Midsummer 2017 blowing bubblesMidsummer 2017 walking by Sladeimag0059.jpgThereupon all set off, blowing bubbles on the way, to the Who’d a Thought It up the road. The activity here was for the women to gather names of 9 sacred herbs written on small cards which The Goddess had strewn around the garden. Meanwhile, the men drew lots. On the women’s return the couples were matched up, willow rings were exchanged and the Oak King declared them married, since fake marriages are a Midsummer custom in some parts of the world. Meanwhile, the other customers looked on with amusement, and one bloke came over to introduce himself, see above. Once Dee had shown everyone how to dance a simple dance step, the parade danced via the back roads towards The Star, to the accompaniment of wrist bells for the ladies and The King’s Knee Tremblers* for the men, and with natural confetti showering all around. Here, we picked up a few extra punters and chatted up the locals who wondered what on earth we were doing.

Midsummer 2107 Erik reading poetry The Star

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Feasting Swedish-style on herring, new potatoes and sour cream with dill

At The Star, Erik read several Midsummer poems in the garden, including audience participation, then joss sticks were lit for the journey to The Ship. Here, the activity was to draw effigies of witches, bulls, cocks and cats. These were duly burnt in a small tin, and while the women practiced jumping, the men prepared the Midsummer Fire. In reality, this was a trio of tealights in a facsimile of a fire pit, but it served the purpose. Once everyone had jumped over the fire thrice, The Oak King led us to the holly tree that stands adjacent to the Rugby Club. After a quick group rendition of various animal noises with an ‘authentic’ Swedish accent, the old year was wound down by walking three times clockwise round the holly tree, before the new year was wound up by walking three times anticlockwise, accompanied by the hullabaloo of bellowing animal cries. As with so many Art Plumstead open air events, those who wished to, adjourned to The Old Mill.

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Preparing to jump the fire

*these are made from can lids lashed together like castanets and secured to the knee with knicker elastic from the £1 shop. They make a splendid clattering noise and are ideal for drawing attention to oneself.

More Treasures Unknown

IMG_20170416_160556590_HDREvery Community Market since January has seen the monthly watercolour workshop move from ‘beginners’ to ‘improvers’ – they will be selling a selection of their cards and paintings at the Make Merry – but the 5th annual Easter Quiz Crawl (see pics of the gleeful winners) launched the warm weather season of Art Plumstead activities and reminded those who have been in at the start that we will have reached our 5th Anniversary on September 2nd, right in the middle of Plumstravaganza 2017.

IMG_20170416_160604160_HDROnce again, Karen managed to find a different part of Plumstead to be the setting of a trail combining anagrams of local streets and questions to answer about places seen en route. There were also a few random sights to be spotted and identified. To make it slightly easier they were all in sequence, but no team managed to spot all of them. The teams set off from The Star and meandered round the back streets to journey’s end. At the final count, there was only one point between the scores of the first and second teams. For the second team, it was a bitter pill to swallow, but it was metaphorically washed down with a few pints in The Old Mill.

IMG_20170416_160610672It is about to get busy in the Art Plumstead Calendar, starting with the Tree Trail in Workhouse Wood, and if you aren’t already on the mailing list, the simplest way to be kept informed is to sign up using the contact form at the bottom of the Art Plumstead home page.

 

Quintessential Strawberry Moon Madness

Midsummer MagicIMG-20160621-02113After assembling at the Apni Haveli – formerly The Woodman, and sampling the poppadoms and the meat and vegetarian samosas, the midsummer element of the evening began in the yard outside, attaching the first symbol (earth) to the wearable wreaths sourced from locally foraged materials.  Friendly passers-by were rewarded for their interest by being presented with their own wreath to wear or take away, complete with the full complement of symbols and complementary tubs of bubble mixture. We then proceeded to the Who’d a Thought It?, blowing bubbles as we went, before attaching the second symbol (spirit).

IMG-20160621-02128Using the back way, we continued to The Star, where the barmaid was pleased to receive and wear a specially completed wreath. The symbol for that pub was fire, depicted by circles of orange peel attached to yellow card. A raucous chorus of ‘I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles’ seemed like the thing to do and was delivered with gusto, followed by a cheer for West Ham. From there it was a short hop to The Ship; element – water. The last time a strawberry moon coincided with the summer solstice was in 1967, the year the film The Happening was released. Gary Botting, the Canadian theatre critic and playwright, who himself had “constructed” several happenings, wrote in 1972: “Happenings abandoned the matrix of story and plot for the equally complex matrix of incident and event.” How appropriate then, that Karen should discover a discarded rubber strawberry in the pub and manage to coax it back into pulsating life, before it was seized by Alison and worked mercilessly to create a create an ever-changing light show.

IMG-20160621-02132The evening concluded with admiring the one day post-strawberry moon en route to The Old Mill, where the final element (air) was attached to our wreaths. The newly paved back yard became scene to a further bout of bubble blowing and further general horsing about with much discussion of future ideas for midsummer themed events. Plumstead was a happening place to be this midsummer, thanks to Art Plumstead.

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