September The weekend of 23rd and 24th was probably the highlight of the year. We had managed to get ourselves an invitation to Southdowns Folk Festival in Bognor Regis, a relatively new festival that none of us had been to. As we really do like to dance beside the seaside, we were somewhat disappointed to find out a couple of weeks before going that all of the dance spots were in the town centre. Fortunately upon request the organisers arranged a couple of extra ones especially for us on The Esplanade – so all was good!The whole weekend was great. The weather was good and the audiences were most appreciative – we even developed groupies that started to follow us around. What’s more our Long Man man came to join us for theSaturday – the first time in Datchet kit for 17 years. So thanks again Bognor – we will be back at sometime!
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The week after performing at the Datchet fete at Churchmead School, we held our bi-annual day of dance. Beginning in Datchet we danced on The Green with our guests for the day: Taeppas Tump North West Morris, Thames Valley Morris Men and Whitethorn North West Morris. We then travelled by train to dance at various spots in Windsor before returning for one last late afternoon spot in Datchet. It was a great day – so thank you everybody.
Our last event before the August break was another pub night – this time at The Cricketers in Littlewick Green with HUMP (Hurst Morris People).
On one of the hottest days in the year we were booked to entertain an international conference of academic writers at Royal Holloway College. Although it was the evening when we danced it was still really warm and sultry – but like true professionals we managed to do our thing for the allotted hour. Despite the heat, it was a real honour to perform at such an event in such a wonderful location.
Long Man Morris Men invited us to their Midsummer walking tour of Lewes which included dancing within the grounds of Lewes Castle and an end of the day exclusive and informative tour of Harvey’s Brewery. It was a most enjoyable day and our hosts were most welcoming. As one of their members being a Datchet man of years gone by (indeed a Datchet boy beforethat) we had him joining in with us for a couple of dances that he still knew – indeed ones that he originally choreographed when Datchet was still a Cotswold Morris side. By the end of the day we had him interested in joining us again on special occasions where the journey from his home on the South coast would be worthwhile.
This month began with a crazy pub night in Richmond at the invite of Greensleves Morris Men. Being a warm Friday evening, the onlookers were numerous and adequately lubricated to enjoy the unexpected entertainment that was put on for them.We also returned to the Magna Carta tea room to dance at the National Trust’s Magna Carta anniversary event. Although generally a quiet affair, we were soon adopted by a large family gathering that were having a picnic. Brought together by family tree investigations and links to Datchet, they were only too happy to share part of their afternoon and picnic with us. Like Yogi Bear and Boo Boo, Morris Men will never say no to a picnic!
Runnymede saw us dancing in the summer at sunrise, supported as usual by an enthusiastic, insomniac audience keen to start a Monday morning off at 5.30am. Unfortunately it will be a few years now until we coincide with weekends again – but it’s just got to be done!The following weekend had us leading the procession at the West Drayton May Fair. The dancing went down well and we even had a special request for us to sing our version of the May song Hal an Tow – although surprising it had nothing to do with the fact that we were being supported by folk singer-songwriter Pete Morton.The month also included a couple of pleasant mid-week pub nights with Taeppas Tump and Mayflower Morris.
March And April
March and April we presented a cheque for £460 to the Thames Valley Air Ambulance as a donation, following our collections over the festive season – so a big thank you to everybody who put something in our hat or bucket. Soon after we put on an evening of dance and music to the Scots’ Society of St Andrew in Slough. Needless to say as dancers themselves, they were soon up having a go at our somewhat different tradition. St George’s Day this year was celebrated in Harmondsworth village and The Great Barn – looked after by English Heritage and well worth a visit especially if things move forward on a third runway for Heathrow