Tag Archives: janet weight reed watercolour portraits

A Wassailing We Will Go…….

On Saturday 14th January I took the train to Kent and stayed with my good friends Gail and Mick.    We began school together at the tender age of five!     The Camp School was set in the middle of bluebell woods and was comprised of wooden army huts from the war….(this was post war Britain)    All in all it was an idyllic setting and way to begin school life.

Mrs. Whitefield, one of our teachers, believed in keeping local ancient traditions alive, and thus influenced Gail and Mick to involve themselves in the traditional arts of South East England.     Gail has written numerous books on the subject and written plays which are performed in schools….

quick watercolours of Gail and Mick painted a couple of years ago. 



On Saturday evening 14th January, we drove out to The Gate pub- Marshside to celebrate the ancient custom of Wassailing.    It was the perfect evening…cold, clear, with stars and moon shining brightly.

As we ate a delicious meal in the Pub in front of a roaring fire.   It felt as if we had gone back in time.     (please excuse my photographs – I didn’t want to use a flash, and so they are somewhat grainy, however, in a way they capture the atmosphere) 

20-11-15-1-56320-11-15-1-634The Wassailing bowl awaits the celebrations……..20-11-15-1-605

Then it was out to the ancient apple tree orchard which surrounds the pub where the reciting of incantations and singing to the trees hopefully will promote a good harvest for the coming year.


The word ‘Wassail’ comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase ‘Waes hael’ which means – Good health.    After singing to the trees, the Wassail bowl was passed around the crowd.    Originally the Wassail was a drink made from mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar……

Guns were fired and then the celebrations began…..

1481540745_15420853_10154762474102442_4475831116796379836_nBack into the warmth of the Pub….for much merriment and wonderful music……

20-11-15-1-646A picture of The Gate – Marsh Side during the day time.

I highly recommend for it’s lovely atmosphere and wonderful food…especially on a cold winter’s night. gate_inn_boyden_gate_chislet_41_0A Bientot

communication through art

This is my third short, true story based on the portrait of a Turkish woman I painted in 2007 and how we communicated through the power of art.   


In 2007, I was staying with a group of painters in a small compound in the town of Akyaka, which is in the Ula District of Mugla Province in south western Turkey. 

On this particular day, the group had gone off to explore a bigger town, however I decided to stay behind to enjoy a quiet days painting.

Run by a close knit family, the accommodation was set around a central pool and cabana.  Surrounding the compound were orange and lemon groves, beautiful wetlands, and just minutes away the sparkling Gulf of Gokova.  

There was not a soul around, other than the Mother of the daughter who ran the compound.   She was sitting quietly beneath the cabana enjoying the early morning sun.

I approached her and using a sort of sign language and displaying my paints and paper, asked if I could paint her.     She nodded, yes.

For the next hour, we locked eyes and observed one another.      The only sounds were birdsong, and the gentle flow of water from a small fountain.      Time stood still….we were completely in the moment, and although not a word was spoken, there was a deep mutual understanding. 

I painted two watercolours, one for her and one for me.

After I finished, the daughter appeared, and said that her Mother thanked me.

A Magical Hummingbird moment.


A Bientôt

A Wassailling we will go…..

This weekend, I am going to Kent to stay with my dear friends, Mick and Gail, and a Wassaillng we will go.

We met at The Camp School in Kent when we were five years old!….the school was made up of wooden army huts (this was right after world war II) and set in the middle of bluebell woods.

We had no central heating, we grew our own vegetables and creativity was abound.   All three of us have dedicated our lives to the arts.    Mick is a photographer/musician, Gail, an author/actress and I am a painter.     Gail and Mick married and have a glorious daughter.

Recent watercolour of Gail


Recent watercolour of Mick


There are two forms of Wassailing…one would be called carol singing where villagers go from house to house,  and the other centres around the ancient custom of visiting orchards in cider producing regions of England, reciting incantations and singing to the trees to promote a good harvest for the year. 

Tomorrow night we will be visiting the orchards that surround Gail and Mick’s home to sing to the trees:)


And of course the magical hummingbirds will be there…..



Have a lovely weekend.

A bientôt.