Today I made a 2.5m daisy chain because it’s Furry Day, aka Flora Day, aka St Indract’s Day, aka The Feast of the Apparition of St Michael, and it’s also the 75th anniversary of VE Day. Furry Day is an old celebration which takes place in Helston, Cornwall, involving a lot of revelry and dancing. As far as I’ve read, furry refers to fair or feast, and not some ancient annual anthropomorphic animal cosplay convention. With the exception of the odd dragon, of course.
However, as the alternative name Flora Day suggests, Furry Day is also about flowers. So I got up early, went for my daily walk via the local churchyard and gathered some daisies. But then I saw some buttercups, and a bit of cow parsley, some ox-eye daisies, a cowslip, and a dandelion or two. Reader, I ended up with another tutti, albeit one below the dog leg line.
As a child, I’d sit on the grass and make daisy chains because I wanted to wear a fairy crown. As an adult, I’ve made them to help with those socially awkward picnic moments that often occur when you’re single, childless, sober and the last pick for the rounders team. And I am EXCELLENT at rounders. But because I didn’t want to be accused of sunbathing and moved on, I gathered up my nosegay and legged it back home.
Daisies wilt very quickly.
There’s quite a meditative quality to threading flowers. The grope, the split, the thread; the grope, the split, the thread. A bit like a production line. And before long, the chain had grown, I was out of flowers, and the thumbnail responsible for doing the splitting, a little green. And I was a little sad. Daisy chains shouldn’t be made at home, they should be made sitting in the sun, preferably with a glass of something cold and a soggy sausage roll by your side. Ah, well. But I soon cheered up at the prospect of enacting one of the other features of Furry Day – dancing.
Having been alive in the 1970s, I spent many a breakfast being serenaded by Terry Wogan and his rendition of the Floral Dance, which riffed on a traditional song written by Katie Moss in 1911 to celebrate the Helston hooley, which in turn is said to be a riff on an even more traditional Cornish air. And nobody can be sad for long when listening to Terry’s dulcet tones.
So I cued up the band with the curious tone, and I watched old Wogan with his microphone, then I jigged and I jogged, and I bustled and I pranced. Hurrah! For the Cornish Floral Dance!
Cooper, Q. and Sullivan, P. (1994) Maypoles, Martyrs & Mayhem: 366 Days of British Myths, Customs & Eccentricities, London, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc
Roud, S. (2006) The English Year: A Month-By-Month Guide To The Nation’s Customs and Festivals, From May Day to Mischief Night, London, Penguin Books