Thursday, 18 June 2015

West Country Green Scythe Fair


Last weekend three of us went to the Green Scythe Fair at Muchelney.  We were a bit apprehensive as we thought we might not have been quite weirdly green enough to fit in. But it was in fact a very friendly event with all sorts of people there, including loads of children, who enjoyed making dens out of all the mown grass.

As well as the hand crafted caravans as pictured above, there were numbers of green woodwork demonstrations, tools, interesting foodstalls, and of course the scything competitions.  

Some of those taking part in the heats looked no better than us, so Phil and I thought we might have a go next year.  You have to see how far you can get in one minute.  We did indeed have a go on this two handed saw, cutting a very neat slice off a large log.

Two giant dragon flies were stalking around . . .

. . . and there were two ingenious guys who had constructed manual hay baling machines, 
- which worked!

But the climax of the afternoon was the scything finals where experts from as far away as Kent, Yorkshire and Cornwall were lined up to mow an 8 yard by 8 yard square as fast as possible.

Scheduled to start at 3.00 pm 'zummerzet toim', the tension mounted for a full one and a half hours before the scythers finally set to.  

Tremendously varied styles but one thing they all had in common was a state of exhaustion after completing their patch.  Scything is really a slower, rhythmic activity rather than a competition against the clock.

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