Last year we (and Shrewsbury of course) had the serious privilege of hosting The Morris Federation Day Of Dance (it’s actually their AGM but it’s a damn fine excuse to hold a huge Morris houlie too).
It was a great success and one of our guests that day, the delightful Belfagan Women’s Morris Dancers from Cockermouth in Cumbria were chosen to host this year’s event in the beautiful Lakes town of Keswick…walking boots on Shrewsbury Morris!!
We had been looking forward to this all year so it was with great relish that we made our collective ways (or not) through the varying degrees of backed up motorway traffic to Keswick on Friday 26th September. We had all decided to stay in different accommodation so the hardier souls camped or motorhomed, those with rugged tastes stayed in the town youth hostel and the lightweights and comfort seekers stayed in B&B (hello blogger!! *note, and webmistress!).
Those who were lucky enough to be retired or on a career break (as my wife calls it) had legged it up the M6 early enough to avoid the traffic, checked in chez comfort and were checking out the Keswick ale houses by 4pm……it should be said at this point that we are NOT a boozy side but there are certain things that need to be reconnoitred early in order to inform the later arrivals of their location and suitability (that’s my excuse anyway). Actually I fell asleep (lightweight again) so missed the later arrivals!!
By 10pm we were all in location and in various states of tiredness etc and looking forward to the weekend’s dancing.
After breakfast on the Saturday (during which I had to pose in Morris kit for some overseas visitors to take photographs!!) all the visiting teams (some 30 of them) met up at the central location for the day, bought our super duper laser guided badges and filled up with coffee, tea and biscuits before splitting up and heading off for our first dance spots.
We were starting our day by the town underpass with the delightful Carlisle Sword and Clog team, many of whom were already known by some of our members, so it was a good beginning to the event for us, along with Ripley Green Garters too. We then had a hysterical dance set in Museum Square with Pately Long Sword before a less than hysterical forced march down to the riverside of the spectacular Derwent Water for a spot on the Landing Stages with the lovely Westmorland Step & Garland Dancers. It did get easier after that with us wending our way gently back to the town, stopping to dance with the super Strictly Clog (who boast the Morris Federation President in their ranks) in Hope Park on the way.
An elongated lunch break allowed us to rest a little and get some fuel on board after a very energetic morning and was for me a chance to get round town to put human faces to Twitter names, having been talking online to Keswick tweeps all the week before.
In the afternoon all the visiting teams got a chance to showcase a particular dance in front of everyone else in a massed spot which is always an enjoyable (if a little nerve-racking) experience.
It had been a lovely day’s dancing, our musicians were, as always superb, all the dancers put everything into the performances and danced well and I think we entertained a lot of people judging by the crowds and the smiles on lots of faces.
The evening saw us enjoy a wonderful team meal in Sienna’s in Keswick, which had a brilliant restaurant upstairs with superb staff and fabulous food (you know, the sort you take mobile phone pictures of and post on Facebook/Twitter/insert your choice of social media platform?)
Sunday morning of the Day of Dance always sees some teams stay and dance in the morning before leaving for home and this was no exception. Our hosts (who did a brilliant job the whole weekend) had organised a really nice dance spot at a well known local tourist rest place called Rheged and a good few teams had stayed overnight and rocked up there to put a good finish to a fine weekend. The teams rotated around the real estate until finally all converging on the large downstairs hall area where representatives of all the teams were involved in a final “massed dance” called Greenhams (I think) – anyway it was great fun.
A great weekend, we had super fun, it was lovely to meet lots of other teams dancing different styles of Morris and the weather was pretty good to us all.
Congratulations and thanks to the fabulous Belfagan Morris for organising such a brilliant event which went like clockwork and for looking after us all so well. No doubt they had a houlie of their own afterwards to celebrate the end of a long year of preparation….and we know what THAT’s like!! :)))