Monday, July 17, 2006

Morris and Ceilidhs

Photos: 1) Old Palace Clog dancing at Butlers Wharf 2) Bedfordshire Lace dancing at St. Katherine's Dock

It's ages since I last wrote, and lots has happened. Went to London for a great day out with Old Palace Clog on 17th June. A very hot day, the teams were Old Palace, Meanads and Beds. Lace. We danced (I played!) at Hayes Galleria, The Dolphin Statue by Tower Bridge, St. Katherine's Dock, Tower Hill, St. Paul's, The Globe Theatre and The Anchor on Bankside. A very welcome pint of Young's was had at the Founder's Arms by the Tate Modern, following the St. Paul's stand, and the whole day was a great success, especially as Jenny and James showed up for the last bit of dancing, then entertained us in the evening at James' flat. Gill and I went for a walk to Little Venice on Sunday and found a great pub (The Bridge House), right on the canal near Paddington, with a theatre, good food and excellent beer choices!. As it was Jenny's birthday weekend, we were really glad to be with her.

My own Morris Team, Redbornstoke, are 30 years old this season, and to celebrate we invited some other 30-year-old sides to our party! Oyster Morris, Sheffield City Morris and the Ironmen came to Ampthill on the weekend of 23 -25 June, camping at the Rugby Club, dancing in Bedford, at Woburn Abbey, in Ampthill Town Centre and at the Ampthill Gala. The standard of dancing throughout the weekend was exceptionally high, and the quality of the food (mostly by our own "chef", Andrew Hogg) was also magnificent. Evening frolics included silly songs, a blow-football World Cup and beer-mat Olympics. Everyone agreed that it was a weekend that would not easily be forgotten!

Photos: 1)Blow Football World Cup 2) Redbornstoke dancing in Ampthill

I called with Grand Union the next Friday (30th June) at a Unicorn Ceilidh in Hitchin Town Hall. Another hot night, the audience was not large, but they were enthusiastic and we all had a good time. It was nice to see the band again, as we hadn't worked together since Towersey Festival last year.

On the Saturday, it was the Herts. Summer Festival, with several hundred children, a live band (Jump the Vortex) and me calling. Again it was hot, but the children managed well. We did about 14 dances in the three hours from 11:00 to 2:00, interspersed with spots from the excellent Tom Moore, a young and hugely talented fiddler from Norfolk; Morris dances from Pirton and Codicote schools, and a display of Maypole dancing from nine schools, filling the arena with colour and movement. On to St. Albans for a Ceilidh as part of St. Albans Folk at the Festival weekend, dancing (for the third time in a month) to Stomp with Andrew Swaine. Andrew has some super dances (I especially like The Linton Rocket and that waltz-time couple dance) and the band sound better every time. Bought the CD this time and I'm loving it for its variety and sheer cheek!

Next morning, I led a melodeon workshop for beginners. Always a hard one to call, the participants seemed to make some progress, and I made some new friends in the melodeon-playing world!

Still in St. Albans, the annual St. Michael's Folk Evening on Wednesday 5th July was a very friendly, relaxed affair. Gill was dancing with English Miscellany, and I met up with lots of friends, listened to some music and drank some beer!

A dance-out with Rockhopper at the Olde Leathern Bottle in Lewknor (with guests Jabberwocky) on Sunday 9th July was hot and friendly, and the journey to and from the gig was very pleasant, driving through the lovely Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire countryside.

This is such a busy (and enjoyable) time of the year. More to come in the next post!


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