Telegraph Hill Solstice Parade, 21st June 2013

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When the good (and some might say zany) folk of Telegraph Hill/Brockley/New Cross/environs decide to get together for some communal antics, the sun has been known to shine.  You only need to look here to see some evidence of this statement.

There was no better time for this magical phenomenon than last Friday evening, Midsummer’s evening in fact, when the Garlick Man cris crossed up the hill alongside his spouse-to-be, the Green Woman of New Cross, for a very special wedding on the top of the world.  And boy was she (he) a stunner.

Given that June has so far been cold, grey and windy, it felt pretty special that the longest day of the year decided to defy the forecast and go all sunny and mild as well as long.

We gathered at the beginning of the parade at the Telegraph pub, to find birds, bees, dragonflies, fish, (real) dogs, and all manner of dressed up types.  We followed as the parade slowly wandered (and karate chopped) up the streets, through the Lower Park and up to the Upper Park, stopping to play music and entertain and bewilder passers by at regular moments.  Only one teenage driver dared a stand off against us, but I didn’t fancy his chances against the determined paraders.

This summer solstice parade between New Cross and Telegraph Hill is apparently a revival of an old tradition in SE14, which culminates in the marriage between the Garlick Man (of Plow’d Garlick Hill – the former name for the park) and the Green Woman of New Cross.

This year there were sessions held beforehand to make costumes, placards and food for the picnic.  Local band Les Zoings joined the parade to provide the music as we made our way up to the top.

Because of the fine weather and clear night, people stayed on the hill until long after the nuptials.  There was also a fundraiser at the Hill Station which, by all accounts, ended off a fine evening with more jollity and music.

Enjoy the photographs and make of them what you will.  I for one am looking forward to welcoming in summer like this again next year.

For more on the history of this tradition, you might like this by beuysterous.  Does anyone know anything else about this lively and quite bizarre parade?  As usual, you can click on any of the photographs to see them in their full size.

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