Well Dressing

Well Dressing PosterLast Saturday, 1st July, a village near where I live in Staffordshire held its biannual Well Dressing. This custom was revived in 2012. The second local event was held a year later in 2013 and since then it has been held with a two-year gap, in 2015 and again this year.

The custom of well dressing is believed to have its roots in pagan times when the local community would decorate and bless the wells to give thanks to the gods for clean water. Some people believe that, rather than being a pagan custom it stems from the time of the Black Death (1348) when people would give thanks, again for clean water.

Originally the ceremony was confined to one or two villages in Derbyshire Peak District in the 19th century, having been introduced in Buxton in 1840 but it has since spread to  other villages, mostly in the neighbouring counties of Staffordshire, South Yorkshire and Cheshire but it has also spread to a few villages in Shropshire and Worcestershire, as well as the village of Kemsing in Kent where it was introduced in 2011.

The Croxton event near my home celebrates a different theme on each occasion. This year it was ‘Supporting the Community’. There is a trail of about 5 wells which have been refurbished in recent years and are dressed by different organisations within the community. The main well is blessed by the vicar of the local church, linking it to Christianity for modern consumption, and there are other events and activities available on the day to celebrate the occasion, as you can see from the poster.

First Croxton Well DressingThe  dressings are created on a board, usually a pallet filled in with clay, making them very heavy, and the are ‘coloured in’ with petals – hence the alternative name ‘well flowering’. Here is a photo of the very first Croxton well dressing (2012) at the main well and sponsored by the local Women’s Institute who are very active in encouraging the tradition to continue.

I did not manage to go along on the day but hope to follow the trail before the boards finally fade. There is a walking and cycling route established to view them so perhaps it will be out on the bike.

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Roadside Daffodils

Roadside daffodils
deliberately snapped and scattered.
I gather them, fill my vases, so I at least
can enjoy their fleeting beauty.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
We have some wonderful grassy areas on the corner of our road, in front of our house. At the moment these are full of daffodils. But some low-life yobs seem to take great pleasure in breaking off the flower heads, some just buds, and scattering them. I can’t bear to see them lying on the ground unable to fulfil their potential so I pick them up and put them in vases. Fortunately there are still plenty growing, but everyday more have been scattered.

Foraging

Busy bumblebee,
foraging around the flowers,
filling his panniers with pollen.

Green Fingers

I love a tidy garden.
Mine always looks a mess;
I haven’t got green fingers
nor take the time I guess.
Oh, the plants are thriving
but so are all the weeds,
can’t bring myself to pull them up
until they’ve spread their seeds.
Their flowers are so pretty
I leave them all too long
and next year twice as many
will round my garden throng!

Weeds

Spring’s lush growth
has overtaken my garden;
weeds among the flowers.

Imperceptible

Plants growing taller
imperceptibly,
flowers blooming, despite
changeable weather.

Spring

Sunshine and showers,
lush green grass,
multi-coloured flowers,
beautiful spring.

Self-Set

Blue forget-me-nots
self-set in the rockery.
My happy surprise.

Tiara

A mass of crocus blooms,
rainbow-hued, push through the lawn,
encircling the tree
like a multi-gemmed tiara.

Buttercups

Buttercups
scattered across the lawn
like gold-dust.

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