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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Sunday, August 01, 2004
    Lammas lament
     
    I'm trying to get excited about Lammas. It's one of those old English festivals which might reward replaying - like Rogation which, as you may have gathered, I'm quite keen on.

    It's today, Lammas. Though it's dropped off the calendar still some folklore societies, wiccans, pagans, Irish and merrie witches keep it going. The church has let it drift away, harvest festival taking its place.

    The point about Lammas is, it's about celebrating the year's first fruits. On the opening of harvest bread was baked using the first of the ripe cereal, the church would hold a 'loaf mass', festivities would break out, outstanding rents would be collected and local officials would be elected.

    And pieces of land held privately for the growing of corn would, on Lammas, have their fences taken down and be thrown open to pasturage during the rest of the year for those who had common rights. Jubilee!!

    Here was my Lammas, with all its imperfections:

    For the first time since moving to my new house I thought I'd get the breadmaker going, to produce a Lammas Loaf, only to discover that my flour supply is all well past its sell-by date.

    The only local intent on celebrating first pickings today was a bloke who tried to snatch a handbag from church, but who I thwarted on his way out of the door.

    And as for the opening up of private space for common use - well, kicking a stray football back over the fence to the gang inside Farmfoods car park, I realised they've already done that. Good for them - but round here every day is potential Lammas Day as far as trespassing/liberating is concerned.

    That's Liverpool 11 Lammas, 2004. Hardly Exeter, is it?