As with many local villages, Maypoles have been springing up all over the place … and we now have an impressive Maypole in the village square!
It’s great to see the younger (and not so young!) men of the village working together. They clearly had done this before …
Firstly the Maypole entered the village square, using a tractor for the base end and a set of wheels to carry the top end. The bark had already been stripped away, leaving a smooth and light wood-coloured trunk – but the very top of the tree had a few pine branches left on it. Strapped part way down was a separate ‘good looking’ pine tree, with all branches intact, perhaps 3 metres high. This was soon to be the ‘new’ top of the tree.
The trunk was positioned with the bottom end near to the prepared concrete base (sunk into the ground) and the tree was laid out over a couple of stands. The very top of the tree was removed with a chainsaw – and the new separate tree was then attached in its place, using nails and wire to secure it firmly.
The younger members of the Maypole Team stepped into action and decorated the new top of the tree with red and white ribbon. Further decoration along the upper half of the trunk was added, including large circular green wreaths, which end up being suspended once the Maypole is vertical. More greenery was twirled around the tree trunk – and then the lifting began.
Three main elements come together to position the Maypole. Pitch forks, long poles, and enthusiastic and knowledgeable men of the village. The long poles look like over-sized chopsticks with a rope tying the ends not quite together (but which leaves about 25 cm between the top of the poles). It’s the rope part that comes into contact with the trunk, with each top of the chopstick being positioned either side of the trunk.
So – the lifting begins, with men holding each side of the chopsticks to lift the trunk and the pitch forks keeping the trunk of the Maypole, and the chopsticks, in the right place. The lifting sticks get progressively closer to the base, whilst ever-longer lifting sticks appear on the scene to lift the other end and then move slowly towards the base as the Maypole gets higher. A little drama was added when the pole was almost upright and the wind seemed to increase – but everyone kept their heads, and after a good 90 minutes or so the Maypole is eventually lifted into position!