Here’s a wonderful guest post by bard and reallywannago.com blogger Lisa Goodwin
The Wishing the World Better Club
“If you have visited Glastonbury any time in the last three years you may have noticed a friendly character trading at the bottom of the High Street. Often dressed in green and sitting over a tiny portable stall adorned with beautiful handmade wands. His tall frame was accentuated by a green top hat sprouting long feathers, locals know him as Green, the Wand Seller.
Typically, he could be found opposite the George and Pilgrim. Sometimes he would leave his stall, trusting it was safe to go and have a pint. Often, he would engage in long conversations with tourists, give directions and chat to locals.
Green is kind and generous. He is an old-style street trader who has been selling his wares for 20 years. This is his lifestyle, he does it to make a modest living and to bring joy to people.
Every purchase comes with a pretty little bag, each bag has a small slip of paper inside that reads, ‘You are a member of the Wishing the World Better Club.’ Many people do not discover this until they get home.
I have known Green for over 18 years. We were there at the founding of the Wishing the World Better Club. In fact, Green told us when we met again, the inspiration came from a conversation he had with Max when we all lived at Tapeley Park Estate in 2002. Our family moved from North Devon 15 years ago and we didn’t see Green until he turned up in town.
When he arrived in Glastonbury, he approached the Town Council to explain his intention to trade on the High Street. He asked them if he would need a Licence. Apparently, he didn’t, and he was told to ‘just get on with it.’
On a few occasions the police asked him if he had a licence to trade. He explained what the Town Council had said, and he was happy to get a licence if he required one. The police said they would check it out. He never heard from them, so he assumed everything was fine.
The wand seller had a secret pastime. To give something back for his good fortune in being here, he would go up the side of Glastonbury Tor and make a labyrinth for people to enjoy. He marked out the lines with plain white wands and left them there. When he took the sticks away two weeks later, an impression would be left in the grass where hundreds of pilgrims had walked the labyrinth.
A big-hearted man, he would happily chat to anyone. On one occasion he broke up a fight on the High Street. Nothing pleased him more than to pass the day enjoying the unique Glastonbury experience, talking to locals, itinerants and tourists with equal grace. There was never any doubt of the Wand Seller’s positive impact in our community.
‘That’s why I was shocked to find out I wasn’t welcome here.’ He told me when we met at the Mocha Berry at the end of October.
During the first week in August 2018, Green was presented with a Cease and Desist Notice by two men he described as ‘Enforcement Officers.’ Wearing purple high vis jackets, they approached him on a busy afternoon whilst he was working and handed him the letter.
‘It was horrible.’ Green told me. He had come here with all peaceful intent, and rather than being asked to get a licence, he was told in no uncertain terms that if he didn’t leave, he would be prosecuted.
‘I was treated like a criminal.’ He said. For the council to go to all the effort and cost of obtaining a cease and desist notice was an insult. ‘I’m an approachable bloke. I would have been happy to move on or get the licence.’
It was the way he was asked to stop that really upset him. Glastonbury had booted him out. He left town and quietly sunk into a period of depression. He was bruised, it felt like a bad ending.
A shadow came over his eyes as he remembered how wounded he felt. But suddenly he changed, and the sparkle came back as he told me what happened next.
He was once told by a wise friend. ‘If a story doesn’t finish good, it isn’t finished.’
He was out with his mother in a North Devon café reading the Guardian. There was a news piece about anti-social behaviour in Glastonbury. The story reported ‘Bad Vibes in Glastonbury,’ and talked of plans to hire a private security firm to patrol the town.
He read on to discover that there had been a public meeting and he was mentioned in the article! Green swore out loud, even though he was having breakfast with his mum. The quote from the Guardian stated,
‘Some people are worried about the security patrol and say that measures to tackle trouble could force out people who make Glastonbury special, such as those who sell wands and charms and read fortunes on the street.’
His mum asked him what was wrong, so he showed her the article. His 80-year-old mother was just as shocked and swore out loud too. It was ridiculous, he had been told to cease and desist and now he had gone he was heralded as one of the people who makes Glastonbury special.
It was then he decided to come back and finish the story. He packed one hundred wands into his back pack and returned to the High Street. Green, for the love of it, spent the weekend outside the George and Pilgrim giving beautiful wands away for free. As we wandered by on the way home from the Faery Ball, he called out to us and rummaged into his bag. He was happy that he had two wands left that he could give to us, long time members of the Wishing the World Better Club.
Did you buy a wand from the Wand Seller? If you are a member of the Wishing the World Better Club, please let us know so we can pass on your good wishes to Green. He will be missed in Glastonbury, and we wish him well on his next adventure.”
Lisa and Max Goodwin are founders of The White Spring Sanctuary and Bards of Glastonbury. They have been magically involved in the Glastonbury Community since 2006. They are currently preparing to travel around the world discovering and sharing stories of inspiration. Read more at reallywannago.com
The photo of Green that heads up this article was taken by Deborah Richards, she’s got a fantastically distinctive style, please do look her up on Instagram at Art Of Eloquence Photography . The wonderful head and shoulders portrait of Green was taken by Sue Nitti, check out her work on Instagram @picturethisblondie She’s taken hundreds of wonderful portraits of Glastonbury characters. The street scene was taken by our Town Crier David Greenway, another talented local photographer and all round lovely bloke.
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