Monday, October 19, 2009

Ely Apple Day Festival & Mannington Hall History Day

On Saturday the 17th of October I told autumnal themed tales at the annual Apple Day Festival in Ely and on Sunday all sorts of stories at Mannington Hall in Norfolk.

The gathering crowds at Ely Apple Festival
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The Apple Day was very different to anything I've ever told at before and was a great experience. Not least because it encompasses all I love about my favourite season, autumn. All around the leaves were falling and there was a feel of excitement in the air. You could smell winter and there was even a hint of Christmas and all the feasting and festivities that accompany it.

The Lady Town Crier Calls all to the opening of the Festival

That's because the festival is very much a celebration of natures bounties. Of enjoying all that the woods, gardens and orchards have to offer and all mixed in with some great cakes, pies and cider. What more could you ask for!

More than just apples were for sale this day

There was a real sense of occasion, with the local 'great and good' parading about in their gold chains. They may have looked out of place amongst the greenary had it not been for the very grand surroundings of Ely Cathedral and the other historic buildings that surrounded the festival 'Palace Green'. And as well as the civic elites the visitor could enjoy traditional crafts, folk music, morris dancing and even some traditional games incorporating many an apple!

Cake stalls outside the West Front of Ely Cathedral

In some ways it was a very traditional scene, but there were some world charities represented at the event including Amnesty International and there can't be many cultures that don't celebrate the changing seasons and the coming of the harvest; even if they don't do it in such an English way!

Telling the Green Man

Many thanks to Aileen and Tracy for booking me and I look forward to returning for the Ely Eel Day next year...

Mannington Hall was also a very different sort of event because although I tell at many historic fairs, most are a celebration of one period. Mannington however was like a mini English Heritage Festival of History; a celebration of all English history with the typical medieval and Tudor stalls, but also classic cars, military vehicles, and a world war II band singing many classics from the time. There were even some girl guides reenacting earlier girl guiding! And all in the grounds of a medieval moated manor house. There's not much more I can say about it, other than I enjoyed telling medieval tales beneath a great oak (one of many fine trees on the estate) nearly as much as I enjoyed having a mug of tea from the 1940s tea stand!

Thanks to Ian Pyecroft of Black Knight Historical and of course Lord and Lady Walpole for putting up with the many colorful if somewhat weird characters!

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