This year’s SABI annual winter gathering was a most auspicious occasion as it marked 10 years since we first got together to organise ourselves into an association based around our (then comparatively new) shared passion for scythes. Our aim was to encourage others to join us and grow the movement.
I am very pleased to be able to report that we are still here 10 years on, and that we are every bit as enthusiastic as we were back then. Together we have enjoyed many successful scythe festivals, gatherings and events. Scything has almost become mainstream now; with thousands of scythes sold and demand for scythe courses growing year on year.
Our formative meeting took place over a weekend in January 2011 at John Letts house in Oxford. The warmth and camaraderie of this first gathering set the pattern of the nine winter gatherings that followed: huddled together in a small space, sharing ideas and good food, looking forward to the possibilities of the coming summer when the sun shines and the grass grows.
This year’s gathering was of course of necessity a much less cosy affair. The pandemic reluctantly forced us to accept that the best we could do for our 10th anniversary was to gather virtually via Zoom.
It was a different type of meeting of course, but something of the usual warmth and enthusiasm came through.
This digital meeting was not a convenient format for all, but, on the plus side it did mean that it was possible for people to join us from all regions without having to travel the many miles required to meet face to face.
On this basis alone we resolved to do more of this in the future, to widen participation and reduce fuel usage.
Watch this space!
‘Pop up’ scythe Events near you
Major festivals and events such as the Green Scythe Fair will be cancelled once again this summer. In response we resolved to encourage and facilitate small local ‘Pop up’ scythe events all around the country.
These events will be organised by individuals locally, and their size and format will of course be shaped by what lockdown restrictions look like come the summer. In 2020 for example, it was possible to gather with up to six scythers in an open field to mow (2m Social distancing is a given when swinging a scythe!)
Such events will be publicised as and when they are confirmed; on this website, via email and on Facebook .
If anyone has a venue or event they would like to set up and publicise do let us know.
Future Zoom meetings and events
We are exploring the possibility, as described above, of setting up more virtual meetings and events via zoom. These would initially be as a substitute for face-to-face meetings, but hopefully later an addition to complement them.
Two proposed options for upcoming Zoom events are a
- SABI Scyther’s question time (SSQT) where a panel of experienced scyther’s can answer your questions live; and
- International Peening day (IPD) 4th April – in some format over the Easter weekend
We were all pleased to report that the general interest in scythes and scything has not diminished over the last year as a result of the pandemic.
On the surface group events and courses have been suppressed by lockdown restrictions, but sales of scythes to individuals, and of seed to create meadows, have increased as folk have looked to ‘rewild’ their gardens and become more self-reliant in these endeavours.
It is a trend that I feel will continue.
Keep safe, Stay sharp and carry on mowing!
Minutes of this meeting now available here