Skip to main content

Well, Well, Well!

One of the joys of moving to a new area is the discovery of local traditions, often unknown outside of their small area.  England is rife with such customs, ranging from the riotous  (Padstow 'Obby 'Oss - a Cornish village May Day parade) to the ridiculous (Gloucestershire cheese rolling - chasing a Double Gloucester cheese down a 1 in 3 hill).  Both of these have become internationally famous, but few people we know outside of Derbyshire seem to have heard of the local practice of well dressing.

That's not the same as being well-dressed, you understand.  In fact wearing your best clothes to help dress a well would be a really bad idea.  The process starts with trampling clay underfoot, softening it to fill a wooden frame.  Then you have to trek through the woods to find flower petals, leaves, twigs and alder cones to build up the picture.  Only natural materials are allowed, although not necessarily British - we noticed coffee beans and glacé cherries included in some patterns!


The designs are beautiful, and amazingly detailed; it can take up to three days to create the well dressings.  Once finished, they are displayed at water sources around the village for a week or so.



We visited the tiny village of Tissington, which claims to have originated the custom.  It's a beautiful place to wander around on any sunny day, so the open-air artwork was just the icing on the cake.  Many of this year's dressings commemorated the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War I.  The sombre depiction of a battlefield was particularly moving. 





Lightening the mood, the Faith, Hope + Community picture featured farm animals, teapots and sugar cubes.  And some strange things that looked vaguely like moneybags.  Any guesses?




Altogether there were seven well dressings spread around the village.  We admired them all, shared a picnic lunch, and walked a small portion of the nearby Tissington Trail.  My mom taught Toby a few flower names, and on the way home he fell asleep in the car.  Still clutching a sprig of wild garlic.


All's well that ends well!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Reading for Spiritual Formation

Do you read books in order to live a better life? I read books for lots of reasons, ranging from escapism and enjoyment to information and obligation.  In some sense, every book we read lodges somewhere inside us, affecting who we are and how we react to life.  I am the product of many books (far too many, some would say!) Not my library! (Image: Pixabay) Last year, though, I read four books with the specific intention of growing spiritually.  These four books were chosen by the Renovaré Book Club.  Renovaré Book Club Renovaré wasn't a name I'd come across before.  Turns out that it's a Christian group founded by Richard Foster (who wrote Celebration of Discipline ) and involving Dallas Willard (who wrote The Spirit of the Disciplines ), which probably gives you a good idea of their emphasis!  I was impressed with the quality of resources offered with the book club - podcasts, articles, discussion boards, online Q&A - and I also thought they'd done a good job get

Baby Language

For some reason baby equipment is an area in which American English differs markedly from British English. As well as learning how to care for a baby, we had to learn a whole new vocabulary! Fortunately we are now fluently bilingual, and I have compiled a handy US-UK baby dictionary for you. Diaper n. Nappy Mom says if you can read this change my diaper. The first time you change one of these you will be all thumbs and stick the little adhesive tabs to yourself, the baby and probably the changing mat before you get them where they ought to go. A few years later you will be able to lasso a running toddler and change them before they even know what's happened (yes, I have seen it done). You will also get through more diapers than you ever thought possible, creating scary amounts of expense and waste. Hence we are now mostly using: Cloth diaper n. Reusable nappy Cool baby. No longer those terry squares, the main drawback is that there are now so many types it can be qu

our new apartment

Moving was a slightly surreal experience given that our new place looks almost exactly the same as the old one, except for being a different layout. That's what you get for living in a throw-'em-up-and-pack-'em-in apartment complex I guess - albeit a very nice one. So, entering apartment 433: To your right is the master bedroom: with en-suite bathroom: and looking back, from your left, that's a walk-in closet, door to the hallway and door to the bathroom: Following the layout so far? OK, go back to the hallway and put your back to the front door again, and this time walk straight forwards into the sitting room: As you can see, ahead of you is the door to the balcony: for which I have grand plans for a herb garden and other plants. Leading off the living room is the dining area: and if you walk through that and round to your right you reach the kitchen: Go back through the living room again: and if you turn right (