For any of the Morris community out there who are familiar with the Shrewsbury Morris squires, this might make you chuckle! I give you Bev & Ray Langton!
The sun always shines on the…………well, we’d like to think so anyway! The forecast today was rain but it only arrived as we drove from the car park at the end of the day as is so often the case when we dance out.
Rewind five hours and we were arriving at Attingham Park for our four-spot dance performance on Bank Holiday Monday. The omens were good as we were met and welcomed by the lovely staff who kindly allocated us their restroom for the day and offered us tea, biscuits and…….cake!
Now, as anyone who knows us will tell you we NEVER pass up the offer of cake so this was an excellent start to the day 🙂
The team was a little minimal due to various reasons but we had enough ladies and men to perform and everyone, from musicians to dancers gave their all and did a great job, entertaining good and appreciative crowds at all four spots throughout the day. We met lots of friends and supporters who kindly came over to say hello (we love meeting people).
One of our newest members brought her family to watch her Shrewsbury Morris debut and, if she felt nervous she didn’t show it as she piled in and did really well. We couldn’t clog as the surface didn’t lend itself so the Lasses and Men danced alternate slots and we were able to throw in several mixed dances too, finishing each time with our old favourite Steeple Claydon.
Next stop Wellington Summer Fayre!!
Scorchio! was how Mon 6th May dawned and it just got more Scorchio as the day progressed 🙂 After the slight chill at Upton two days previously we were able to slap on a bit of cream, buy some new shades and dance in the morning sun with our good friends at Coed-y-Dinas near Welshpool.
We received our usual warm welcome from everyone there and enjoyed entertaining the Bank Holiday crowds out in the sun for the first time in a while. The Lasses danced very well and Shrewsbury Clog got a good outing too on a really nice surface.
Bull and Pump had six men to begin with which enabled us to widen the repertoire a bit although we gained an impromptu seventh member (sex unknown but we have our suspicions) when a giant Lego brick with legs took up station at the end of our Gallop perimeter.
He looked (if bricks can look) really pleased to see us and we managed to incorporate him in the dance which he seemed to enjoy. He was a great sport…..a real brick!!
After a fab morning’s dancing we set off for our next spot, beautiful Powis Castle just over the road(ish). We weren’t due to be dancing until 2pm which was just as well as the whole of Powys seemed to be trying to get into the castle grounds! After finding some off road parking we settled down on a sunny slope for our customary group picnic and thoroughly enjoyed watching Ed down a bottle of red wine on his gingham table cloth….and table…..and chairs……the rest of us just slummed it on the grass 😉
From our elevated position we also had great fun telling the overworked parking men where spaces were so they could direct people to them. It was the busiest I have ever seen the castle.
Our afternoon of dance was really great, performing in front of many people although the heat was difficult (shouldn’t really complain) but everyone did splendidly. Our musicians played superbly, not easy as they had to compete all afternoon with some extremely noisy, and close peacocks who clearly were not folk or Morris fans!
All in all a truly lovely day in gorgeous summer weather (where did THAT go?!) in lovely locations. A repeat of our Jubilee programme the year before and thoroughly enjoyed by us and appreciated by lovely crowds watching.
We also met lots of Twitter friends who came up and made themselves known which was brilliant!
The Upton-upon-Severn Folk Festival, traditionally held over the May Day weekend, holds quite a special place for us. In the days when we would camp the whole weekend, usually on the local, soggy rugby pitch, the sometimes inclement weather for dancing would usually be forgotten by the evening with a group takeaway in Geoff and Amanda’s caravan over several bottles of “not lemonade”. This would often be while singing or hooting with laughter at Ralph’s hilarious version of Little Cottage in The Wood, which becomes more hilarious the more “not lemonade ” you have…..trust me, I’m a Morris Dancer!
Upton’s a place where Morris and Folk are wall to wall for four glorious days. It’s where the traditional jingly bells and crossed Baldricks of Cotswold Morris meets the heavy drum, tatters and verbal whooping of Border.
It’s where you can sit back with a pint of “not lemonade” and watch a Mummer’s play outside a pub while next door a group of pirate women are shimmying to a slinky bellydance, and down the road a Canadian Morris team (complete with their very own Moose) delight an appreciative crowd of agog tourists.
This year was no exception although sadly we could only dance on the Saturday. Securing our usual place beside the Anchor Inn (funny old thing) early on meant that we had a lovely spot for the morning beside the river. This was shared with various other sides which meant everyone had regular rests while someone else danced. This always presents a great opportunity to meet other dancers, chat and learn about the different forms of this great, colourful tradition of ours. Although it was a cool day, the warmth of friendship between Morris people was clear and we had an excellent time. Our fabulous musicians kept all the dancers going throughout the day and our lunchtime public spot in the town centre went well with everyone having their “game face” well and truly on and doing the team proud.
The lovely (and lively) Lasses displayed some excellent lines as always, the men got through several vigorous versions of Bricklayers (one by special request of Fi from Foxes’ Border Morris!!) without becoming disemtrowelled and Shrewsbury Clog coped superbly on sometimes difficult surfaces. Margaret and Barbara also performed their own amazing clog dance to great acclaim from the watching public.
We left Upton while still on a (legal) high from our performance and headed for home, tired but happy and looking forward to some “not lemonade” with our feet up!
Roll on next year….Upton, we salute you yet again!! :))
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Our first dance-out of the season saw us invited to perform at Shifnal Farmers Market on Sat 20th April. We arrived on a gloriously sunny Spring morning and, while we were readying ourselves managed to meet a lot of our friends on Twitter, which is how we “got the gig” on the first place!
The team all performed very well considering it was the first dance-out of the 2013 season and some of our new members also came along to watch and see what they have got themselves into ! (they’re still with us so we clearly didn’t frighten them off 😉 )
As our performance got going we attracted a large and very appreciative crowd which pleased the adjacent market traders and particularly the church raffle ticket sale which was taking place in a gazebo right next to our dancing area. We should have asked for a percentage!
The beautiful weather continued throughout our time there and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, all three teams (Bull and Pump men, Lasses and Clog) got a good work out. Our musicians played really well too, as always and we are looking forward to adding to their ranks as the year goes on.
Cathy Brown has taken to swiping my camera when it’s my turn to dance with the men which means that at last there are some photos of the men with me in them. Well done Cathy 🙂
Our welcome from the organisers and the people of Shifnal was wonderful and we really appreciate the trouble they took to look after us.
Great fun, great weather, super dancing and lovely people…….the first Morris of the season doesn’t get much better than this.
Shrewsbury Morris are proud and delighted to be hosting this year’s Morris Federation AGM and Day of Dance.
The Morris Federation is a United Kingdom association of self-governing Morris clubs, which aims to encourage and maintain interest in the practice of Morris dancing by women and men of all ages – over 400 sides are a part of the Federation.
On September 28th 2013, Shrewsbury will be hosting the annual AGM and Day of Dance – welcoming many of those Morris sides to our beautiful town of Shrewsbury. A spectacle not to be missed, if you follow us on Twitter at @shrewsmorris or @28Sept2013 we will keep you up to date with all the sides that are coming along and where you can see them dancing.
We are also delighted to announce that Shrewsbury firm Red Recruitment have agreed to sponsor the day. Many thanks to them! There is still room for more sponsors too; if you are interested in being a part of a fun, cultural and beautiful day for Shrewsbury, please do get in touch with us via Twitter or at [email protected]