Knutsford Royal May Day is an annual May Day weekend event that began in 1864. A procession of children dressed up in various forms of costume, morris dancers, brass bands and wagons march through the centre of Knutsford ending in the crowning of the Royal May Queen on “The Heath”. Knutsford May Day gained the title “Royal” in 1887 by the Prince and Princess of Wales, during their stay at Tatton Park whilst visiting the area for the Royal Jubilee Exhibition in Manchester for Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee. I had the honour of being invited to this years (the 148th Royal May Day) as part of an extensive May Day bank holiday weekend away from the delightful Telford.
After arriving in Knutsford, we had another jolly jaunt around the parkland at Tatton Park, discovered an Antler, wandered around the Gardens (both of these were free having parked in a road in Knutsford instead of the car park and becoming a member of the National Trust (I think it saved me about £20 taking Penrhyn Castle into account, the membership cost was less than that!). Joining with the rest of the group in Tatton Park gardens, seeing a number of bizarre spaceship/aero-something exhibits being constructed in the gardens, including a large suspended silver thingywhat (for I have no other word that can describe it) which emitted both Indian music and a sheep’s “baa”… most unusual.
Having walked through the Gardens, back through the park, past a dead squirrel that was lying on it’s back with its legs and arms in the air (a sight that caused a certain someone to burst out laughing uncontrollably with no noticeable reason, until the aforementioned was well, mentioned).
After eating some food and exiting Tatton Park via the Knutsford Entrance, we waited for the procession to begin, during which time much fun was had by certain members of the group having purchased a furry snake.
Here are a selection of photos from the procession:-
Jack in the Green above reminded me of Cousin It from the Addams Family, but with his hair dyed green.
I’ve been thinking of upgrading Minerva with one of these to save on the petrol costs.
Once the procession was over, it was time to head to The Heath, navigate past the children’s collection point and watch a selection of dances such as the Dutch Dancers, the solo dancer dressed as a sailor and various other groups of young children dancing in the ring. The compere lady was a source of amusement; repeating herself, describing each dancing act as lovely and seemingly reading the content of the programme in order to stall between each dance. After all but the maypole dance was finished, the Royal May Day Queen was crowned, the maypole dance began and it was soon time to leave, during this point I was understandably craving a cup of tea, though my craving was not satisfied until later that night.
Memorable Quotes from the Knutsford Royal May Day:-
- Girl to her parent’s whilst looking at me: “It’s not a spotted coat its a flowery coat”
Me: “I’m not wearing a spotted coat nor a flowery coat!”
- “We don’t know you well enough yet Dean to stroke your face with the snake.”
Once the Royal May Day festivities had ended it was time to drive to Bangor, which for a one hour and forty-five minute drive, went very quickly. What makes this more unusual was the fact I had no music or conversation due to a sleeping passenger, though it was rather amusing watching him slide from side to side when I drove round a bend/switched lanes.
Later that evening was a trip to Bangor University to watch the sleeping passenger play his Double Bass in a performance of Dvorak’s Stabat Mater, followed by late night Chinese takeaway, misbehaving technology and The Vicar of Dibley. A nice way to end a long day I think.
Tune in later this week for May Day Weekend Part Two: Penrhyn Castle, I am now going to spend the remainder of this Bank Holiday watching the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth, a DVD I have not been able to watch since January.