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Friday, 26 June 2009

Glastonbury and "Bread & Fishes"

As people have done for centuries for different reasons, crowds are gathered at Glastonbury this weekend. I hope they have a brilliant time and that, for once, the rain stays away....though there seems to be something cathartic about wallowing in mud!

The Leeds Festival used to take place at Temple Newsam but some people complained about the bother it caused and it was moved. Personally, though I never attended the festival (and live close enough to be disrupted in a minor way by the crowds and the noise) I loved seeing the young people making there way there. I didn't mind queuing up for a long time behind mud-soaked people in shorts and Wellington boots (strange attire) in the supermarket as they filled their trolleys with cans. It had a summer feel about it and - in spite of what was reported in the Press - all the people I saw coming or going to the Festival, were so friendly and free. It had the feel of Medieval pilgrimages, of 60s flower people, of youth and life about it. Yes, the park was often a mess the next day. Yes, some people had caused trouble, but out of the thousands who were there, it can only have been a minority. It was just lovely seeing people gathering to enjoy themselves.

The other day, walking through the beauty of summer sunshine to the 'Little Temple' at Temple Newsam, I met a family: one of the most beautiful little children I have ever seen was with her parents. We spoke for only a few moments and they said it was their anniversary and asked me to take a photo. I did, we exchanged pleasantries and I walked on....but walked on feeling happier for that brief encounter. It so reminded me, on such a lovely day, of that wonderful song: "Bread and Fishes", which recalls a meeting with the Mystical Family on their way to Glastonbury. I don't know those people's names. They don't know mine. "Our names they mean nothing, they change throughout time...." but I am so glad I met them the other day. In other versions of this song, the words are different, "my name it is Joseph, this is Mary my wife, and this is our young son who brightens our life..." It doesn't really matter, I think, how we interpret it. It's about pilgrims and travellers and what it means to be alive.

Here is a really beautiful version of "Bread & Fishes" (which goes here by a different name: "Wind the Willows") by Blackmore's Night

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