Tuesday 28th November
The first of this year’s mistletoe auctions in Tenbury Wells – the crowds are out in force as usual – and I spend 30 minutes just trying to park. The Auction Yard – now under the ownership and management of William Chase (best known for Tyrrells Potato Chips [don't call them crisps]) has been revamped a bit – and the stock is laid out at the back of the site. Tyrrells are a main sponsor of this year’s Mistletoe Festival and we are very grateful to them. The auctions themselves are managed by Nick Champion – who has been mistletoe auctioneer for many years.
And what a lot of stock there is – loads of mistletoe, and all very-heavily berried (despite the scare-stories of the News of the World a few weeks ago – and just as I, and anyone else who looked, predicted!). There are the usual camera and film crews about – including all the local press – Worcester Journal, Shropshire Star etc and a video crew. There’ll probably be more next week – we’ve got the druids coming then.
This pic shows some of the crowd waiting for the holly wreath sales to end and the mistletoe to begin. They look a bit impatient…
With the glut of mistletoe prices are low – Nick Champion was reported afterwards as saying "Normally we would expect in the region of 700 – 800 entries at this first sale… this year we received 1,100 lots." Quality mistletoe was selling at 50p – 70p per pound – about half what it makes in some years. You can read newspaper reports here (Hereford Times) and here (London Metro).
The video crew are a local unit from Hazelwood Video, haeded by producer Paul Bye. They are making a video about the River Teme, with most of the filming next year, but wanted to cover the Tenbury mistletoe events now. They film at the auction and then we go out of town to a local mistletoe-filled orchard to film a session with me talking about mistletoe. You can Paul’s range of work on his website, and read an interview with him (and see a ‘high-speed trip’ down the Severn) here.
Meanwhile, at the Festival venue just at the auction entrance, I see we have a lot of visitors from out of town – identifiable when they ask for directions to the auction!