The Mariner: Sailing Around Middle-Earth
The Tolkien Society sends this in: This year’s Middle-earth Weekend has the theme of the Mariner to tie in with the International Maritime Organization’s Year of the Seafarer. Although Sarehole itself is landlocked and hobbits had a fear of boats Tolkien’s ‘Shire’ for which Sarehole was an inspiration was bordered by the elven towers at the outskirts of the Grey Havens from where the elves would sail West to Valinor. A story that links the earliest ages of Middle-earth with “The Lord of the Rings” is the tale of Eärendil the Mariner.
Since the first “Fun At Mill!” Tolkien Weekend in 2000 events at Sarehole Mill have focused on Tolkien’s life and local connections, the local environment and ecology, and the history of the area around the Mill, Moseley Bog, and the River Cole Valley which are all now part of the Shire Country Park. The weekend’s programme runs from 11am to 5pm each day and information on how to get there can be found on the event’s own dedicated website: www.middleearthweekend.org.uk
Around 10,000 visitors come to see this historic working mill and the fair on the green behind it; all sorts of people, not just Tolkien fans, rub shoulders enjoying the stalls and displays. The Tolkien Society will have a display in the Mill, which should be running, and there will also be displays from local and national groups, a range of sideshows, various dramatic presentations, a telling of the Voyage of Eärendil, demonstrations, readings, poetry, costume displays, songs, Vikings, birds of prey, displays from a food historian, Morris Dancing, and fine things to buy.