WHITTLESEY IS A small town in the drained flatlands of north Cambridgeshire, not far from Peterborough. Every year in January it hosts the Straw Bear Festival as the revival of an old custom in which a man is clad in straw and paraded around town, visiting every pub on the way.
The celebrations began this year on Friday the 9th of January and ended on the Sunday when the straw costume is set ablaze. To add to the Wicker Man feel, a band plays while this is going on, although there’s no king-for-a-day inside – just as well, as I was downwind of the smoke.
I took along my little Olympus LS-14 recorder as an afterthought and recorded the finale:
It was a blustery day and so, despite having a small furry whatsit covering the recorder’s protruding on-board mics, there’s a fair amount of wind rumble present.
As the man says at the end, Happy New Year everyone!