Ask any resident of the English town of Glastonbury where they are most likely to be living, and many of them will quickly tell you that Glastonbury is very high on their list of number one answers. What is it about this particular town that draws so many of its citizens to count themselves as people who might actually live there? To answer this question, we must first understand the town’s history, its past, where it has been, its history, what it has been doing and, most importantly of all, its history. Founded in Neolithic times, Glastonbury was almost immediately losted in a marsh until it was founded again sometime later bobbing about in the mud. Cleaned up and left to dry out at the bottom of a hill, people soon found that the town made an excellent place to live and began to move in. These early settlers quickly busied themselves with building abbeys and shops and car parks, and then settled back to await the arrival of the first century A.D. It was around this time that Glastonbury was visited by Joseph of Aromatherapy, who was famous for his technicolour walking stick and for smelling very pleasant. A certain legend tells that while in Glastonbury, Joseph buried his walking stick in the ground for safe-keeping, but in the night it turned into a tree, leaving poor old Joseph entirely stickless. And to this day, this is still not true. Naughty legend.
It wasn’t very long before some time passed, and as is so often the case, it wasn’t much longer before some more time passed and then the Middle Ages arrived. This period in history, known affectionately at the time as ‘now’, was the period during which the citizens of Glastonbury began mining for apples. From sweet and red to bitter and green, the residents of Glastonbury were also famous for mining crystals. These crystals proved to be very difficult to make cider from and so cider-makers switched to apples sometime in the 16th century. Because of this, the crystal mines have all been long-since shut down and there are now no crystals to be found anywhere in Glastonbury. None. Not one.
Due to its unique location very close to the ground, Glastonbury became an obvious target for those modern kinds of people who like to pitch tents. During the 20th century, so popular did this activity become in the area that it soon became possible to make a living entertaining these tenty people with live music and alarmingly priced hamburgers. Surprisingly little time went by before the charming minstrels and profiteering hot-dog men of the world decided to keep turning up on a regular basis, to entertain the tent-folk gathered there. And so it was that Glastonbury Festival was born. This annual festival takes place every six months right in the centre of Glastonbury town, and is deeply loved by all the town’s residents. All of them. Without exception. And it is without exception that all visitors to the town of Glastonbury will detect in the air a certain delightful, almost incense-like perfume. It is said, with a wink and a smile by the more fanciful residents that this enjoyable scent is due to the large number of ‘alternative’ shops in the town burning incense in their stores to attract customers. This wonderful nonsense is patently untrue and it is, of course, simply the spirit of Joseph of Aromatherapy wafting about the streets searching for his walking stick, thus proving that the legend about him burying it is entirely true. Good legend. And so it is that Glastonbury town, through its unique blend of cider, crystals, tents, legends and smells has become the third largest town called Glastonbury in all of Somerset.
If you enjoyed this, do check out Andy Brady’s other guest posts for Normal For Glastonbury ‘New Light on Glastonbury Tor‘ and ‘Glastonbury Abbey’. Hands up who learnt something new?! Andy Brady is responsible for both the text and the illustration for this piece. Would you like to write for Normal For Glastonbury? We love guest contributors, just get in touch.
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