2011 Calendar

Sat 1:  Lamb at Stoke Goldington, New Years Day – dancing at lunchtime as guests of Stony Steppers. Dancing a little shambolicley - understandable given the day – till mid afternoon, then lots of good food provided by the pub, which was very nice of them.   After having our social skills questioned at the AGM, we all stayed for the jamming session afterwards. A good start to the year!
Sat 8:  Welford Christmas Party at Richard and Mariet’s in their new super lounge. Trying to guess names stuck on our heads proved fun.
Sat 16  Oxford Folk Fest.  Fringe event as main festival cancelled early due to the economic situation.  4 dance spots around town, ending with a mass ‘Jenny Lind’ which we did as chicken chasing, like everyone else!  

Good time spoilt by Kevin and Pete not wanting to do Michaelmas Day, the mixed hay High Badby dance, out in front of all those morris dancers. It was danced and was only half as badly as predicted.  

Mariet took group photo on castle steps.
Sat 23  St Georges Day 7pm at Stoke Bruerne.  Several of us (Lin & Pete, Pat & John, Glynn & Jane, Kev & Sue) had been to Robin Stanley’s wedding all afternoon so did will to stand up as well as they did.  We danced Sheriff’s Ride straight after a young Moulton set and we looked good, with professional recovery from slight cock up.
Danced out David B’s stick throwing dance for the first time, again very good. Glynn got told to stop playing his guitar by Moulton during their set, which didn’t go down well.
Thu 28  Outside Byfield VH. Short set (7 till 7.25 pm) outside Byfield VH to entertain punters coming to see ‘Lark Rise’. Dancing was ok, even the players in ‘Lark rise’ mentioned us. Play was very good too!
Sun 1  Mayday, Brackley, 5.30am Well it should have been at Brackley but we didn’t hear from them so we sent off e-mails to all the Brackley folk we knew and got told a roundabout way that they were only dancing with Aynho that May morning as they were ‘Beating the Bounds’.

Luckily Stony Steppers ‘stepped’ in and invited us to dance on a very hot day outside the Swan at Old Stafford, with them and later Queen’s Oak. Danced out ‘Month of May’ in public. Super afternoon, bit of social dancing then back to Ivor and Yvonne’s for a monster curry! What nice people!
Mon 2  Weston Country Fair,  Still sunny, but windy too for first paid event of the year!
Danced well on top of the Helmdon Road, then afterwards outside the pub. Talked to young man from Brackley Morris men who wanted to know why we didn’t dance out Mayday morning!

Dancing was good and we were paid at the time, but then we spoilt the afternoon by all heading off cross country to the Old Red Lion at Litchborough, when folk had noticed a beer festival on as they passed. Impromptu set of six ok the first set but by the time we did another set we should have left them wanting more! Did get leapt upon by landlady for our card and also a lady from Blakesley who wants to join us!
Thu 5  Royal Oak at the Royal Oak!  First dance out of the season, arranged by Kevin L, was without the squire. I felt a bit rusty and heavy footed, but rest maybe ok?  David T danced a couple of dances. We danced Michaelmas Day without Jane as squire and was as bad as we feared it would be at Oxford!

Food afterwards from the pub was superb!
Thu 12  Old Coach House, Ashby St Leger Arranged by Kevin Mears. Good set outside and on road. Danced  well for about 90 minutes including just about everything in the repertoire in front of a changing, small, but appreciative audience.
Sun 15  Countryside Day, Daventry County Park  A paid booking which the organisers failed to advertise or schedule our dances into the programme. Never mind, had a couple of 20-25 minute sets on the dam by the visitor centre. David T got chatted up by a lady who was fascinated with his instrument!

Afterwards back to Pat and Rogers for a smashing tea, with Roger’s beer list, and us all comparing our operations etc!
Mon 16  Cross Keys, Gt Woolstones  Long journey (for some) to old thatched pub on old Newport road where Old Mother Redcaps (OMR to us – and them- but Old Leather Hubcaps to Stony Steppers) celebrated their 30th anniversary. We danced at the top of the car park which worked ok as it was overlooked by the audience seated in the fenced of pub garden.  There is an on-line video of us dancing Sherrif's Ride.

We danced with OMR and Stony Steppers, who had brought their own floor with them. Afterwards we had a very nice time with half a dozen good beers to choose from, a landlord who wanted us back and a long session singing in the pub.
Thur 19  Plume of Feathers, Daventry.  Arranged by Lin and Peter as their leaving gift as they were of to France for a few weeks! Good dancing on road outside, including the stick throwing, Again small but appreciative audience.
Wed 25  Castle Inn, Edge Hill, with Hereburg and others

This was the first invite of the season to be received and all agreed to go, but slowly people slipped away, claiming holidays, bike rides etc. At one stage it was going to be a rare appearance of Royal Oak Morris Men, (or the even rarer Royal Oak Lite!) but eventually even that fell through as Richard found he had a prior engagement, so we had to call it off. Only agreed date that we had to cancel this year.
Thur 2  Carpenters Arms, Lower Boddington,  Arranged by Pat, who had asked Brackley to join us but due to mix up over contacts, they couldn’t make it. A bit lackadaisical, dancing on a gravely patch of tarmac across road from audience. Not helped by the fact that Richard had had an accident with a can of oil in his boot and the sticks were all slippery! Finished the dancing with a totally under-rehearsed ‘Signposts’, which got a bit better as the dance went on!

Bit of a band session later.

Kevin M shows off his road sense by looking both ways before crossing the lane outside the pub.
Sat 4  Old Mother Redcap’s Day of Dance, , Stony Stratford. First day of ‘Stony Live!’ Strangely for the side that had organised the event, OMR had difficulty in getting more than 4 dancers to their own Day of Dance. We had a team of 6 dancers Jane, Ruth, Kevin L, Richard, David B and Pat and music from Glynn, David T, Don (was Roger there?). Also dancing with us in the market square were Woad Works and Stony Steppers. Saw several members of Rose and Castle Morris who were invited but couldn’t get a side up. We danced out Month of May, amongst others.

Some of us had a free curry (with possible salmonella in the very pink chicken) at lunchtime, with more dancing around town before mass stand outside the Bull. Some nice beer called, allegedly – according to the pub landlady –damp patch – surely that can’t be right?
Thur 9  The Avon, Avon Dasset.  Arranged by Kevin M. Good night, with only 6 dancers (Pat, Ruth, David B, Kevin, Kevin and Richard) and David T and Roger as the band. Nice night though, good audience - even took a collection for us! Large plate of sandwiches from the pub which was also very nice (although we ought to start spreading the word that Morris tradition doesn’t have to include always having white bread.)

In what is now becoming traditional, (we left the umbrella from the stick bag at Lower Boddington the week before) Richard forgot the sticks and had to pick them up on his way to work next morning.
Sat 11  Stony Stratford.  We weren’t going to go on this Day of Dance as we had done ‘Stony Live!’ the week before but were begged by Stony Steppers to come, even just a few of us or even without a band. So, after a certain amount of arm-twisting and favour calling in, we had four dancers, Pat, Ruth, Kevin L and David B, and two musicians, David T and Don, and promised to be there on 11 am on the Saturday.

At the last minute on the Thursday before, we nagged Richard, Kevin M and Roger into doing a half day so we finished up with a full side, all be it only for the afternoon!

Sadly I forgot to tell Stony Steppers this so they were worried why we had not got there by lunchtime. We were also a bad smell to Regős, the Hungarian side who we where meant to be dancing with in the morning!

Afternoon went fine, especially after Richard (and the sticks) made it down the High Street from the Bull Hotel where we had all planned to meet. Also with us were Queen’s Oak and a fuller side of OMRs than week.
Thur 16  White Horse at Welton,  Arranged by Richard.  Allegedly ‘dire!’, as only three people in pub, but write up in Daventry Express said (in a letter from one of the three) that the Morris dancers were jolly and enjoyed themselves.
Wed 22  Raunds School,  Teaching Morris dancing to XX cubs for a colleague of Jane’s. Just the Cannells and Murrays (and the Martins?) but by all accounts a god evening.
Sat 25  Daventry  Performing at the Cultural Olympiad in Daventry town centre, Saturday morning
Sadly, as Daventry did not get the funding from the Olympics, this was just ‘inspired by 2012’. The almost full side, dancers Jane, Pat, Ruth, Kevin L, Richard, Pete, Lin and Dave B, a band of John, Glynn, Roger and David T did five dance spots around town; outside the Plume of Feathers to an, at times, quite large but somewhat distant, audience; outside Boots, with closer folk; outside the Church, where we had been invited for free coffee and cakes; outside the Library to absolutely no one; and finally inside the new Museum, where we managed to dance with both sticks and hankies without breaking anything!

Highlights of the day, almost getting through ‘Mr Barrow’s Folly’ without dropping a stick and Dave T’s dusting of the four corners of the ceiling in the museum.

Then all back to Glynn and Jane’s for a cracking lunchtime spread.
Sat 25  Crockwell Farm, near Eydon Wedding, reception, on the same Saturday, for the daughter of Bert Mnton, who had learned a dance with us over the winter.

We all get to Crockwell Farm in plenty of time, but everyone else was running late. Eventually we danced for about half an hour for the gusts who had driven from the church whilst waiting for most of the bridal party who came by carriage or open charabancs. (Finally) welcomed the bride and groom with a stick arch, when was asked to do ‘Joseph Baker’ with surprise guest appearance from the bride’s father Bert. He danced exceedingly well. Hung around and squeezed in another few dances then left them to it.
Sun 26  Mollington Village Day. Two (paid)  spots either side of the Punch and Judy man on an extremely hot Sunday afternoon. Only six dancers (Jane, Pat, Ruth, Lin, Pete & Kevin L plus John, Glynn & Roger on the music) so everyone was out there for every dance. Danced by village green where there was BBQ, but no bar and the pub in the village doesn’t bother opening. Well received, only spoilt by Lin & Pete pulling the exhaust off their van as they drive off for 6 weeks in France. The rest of us, accompanied by Nigel Bennett, retire to the Red Lion at Cropredy for a few ‘quite beers’.
Thur 30  New Inn Abthorpe,  Arranged by Pat, with guests Stony Steppers . Really good night dancing in the back yard to good crowd (possible result of Pat getting info in village listing?) Danced till 9.15 then scampi and chips no less from the landlord. Then very good music session till closing time.

Dance highlights included a request from Stony Steppers for ‘Mr Barrow’s Folly’, which we got right – again – and an ‘I’m Spartacus’ moment for the last dance, Quaker’s Roundabout, when every one wanted to be no 4, so Kevin and Kevin kept swapping places during the dance.
Thur 7  Old Red Lion, Litchboro’, A rain spoilt evening, arranged by Kevin L, that still had a few members of the audience braving the rain to watch us. Despite the rain, Sandra managed to take some good photos. Good music session outside the loos in the rain breaks.
Sat 9  Woburn Sands Festival  We only had five dancers (Jane, Pat, Kevin L, Richard & David B and 2 musicians (Glynn & Roger) so we would have liked to cry off, but the organisers pleaded with us to come anyway. Surprising good day doing dances for 4 dancers with a small band. Only 3 other sides: Queens Oak, and Rose & Castle and Tappelation (from St Albans). There were two spots - both with good floors for dancing - so we enjoyed it. After the dancing at festival there were different rules concerning free/cheep beer. Pat chatted up an Irish gent from Wexford Folk trying to get us a booking in Ireland.
Thur 14  George, Tiffield,  arranged by Jane. Long session in car park, lots better that last years’. Small audience which included an artist who drew us, and Jacqui - who was persuaded to dance with us – and Nigel Bennett – who wasn’t.
Thur 21  Bell and Bear, Emberton  Arranged Ruth, with an 8pm start that hardly anyone managed due to the lanes and road closures. Old Mother Redcaps joined us.
Sat 23  Ducklington DoD Usual self drive tour of Cotswold Villages, this year two spots in Stow on the Wold, Lower Oddington, Bleddington, Kingham (for lunch), Leafield and Foxley where we dropped out. (Rest carried on back to Ducklington.) This years tour had only 3 Cotswold sides (Ducklington, Rock hoppers and us) and two border sides (Hook Eagle and..?).

Events – my flying phone at second Stowe spot, constant offers from other border side to go in front of us, chap from Hook Eagle made David B ‘aware’ of his hair, Hook Eagle holding everyone else up by dancing with kids first outside Fox at Leafield, huge audience at the Fox (maybe advertising does work!) and nice pub at Foxley.
Thur 28  Eastcote Arms, Eastcote, Last minute arrangement by Kevin L. Had a good night, a big audience all through the 90 minute set, including Dave & Ruth’s German visitors. Paul Dennis had cycled over from Duston and was persuaded to join in on Black Joker, as well as the neighbourhood little girls on a couple of dances. Surprise appearance of John and Pat who were meant to be over at Warwick Folk Fest but came away in despair at the late scheduling of the choir they had gone over to see.
Tues 2   Red Lion Litchborough Invited by Queens Oak, did this event take place?
Mon 29  Braunston Festival,  A late booked paid event, dancing in Braunston street to entertain punters coming to the (free) Braunston Village Festival. This year we were supported by the Blockheads, as well as the Hackney Colliery Band!

Weather not so good as last year with fewer people watching, but generally thought that we danced well. Mr Cannell, on a new course of pain killers, was back in the saddle on the melodeon – and spotting the free beer!
Sat 3  Wallingford Bunkfest  Plans to camp out for Friday and Saturday gradually fell through as more and more of us discovered pressing engagements, so in the end, just a day event on the Saturday. By all accounts, the usual enjoyable Wallingford Festival.
Sun 4  Eydon Fete  Back where it all started, dancing at Eydon Hall, only 26 years later. Then we had just two dances, which we did over and over again. Now we have cut back this year to just 20 dances from our repertoire, which we danced on the drive for 2x 20 mins. Got off to a bad start as Kevin L stepped off the road surface into a pothole and tripped up! Had to start again, but all survived to dance through to the end. First reappearance for years of ‘the stick’, which shed bottle tops everywhere.

We were paid £100, which we gave back to the fete funds!

Appeared with Eydon Mummers doing a Robin Hood play, which meant lots of running about changing for Kevin and Pete.
Wed 7:   Lamb, Stoke Goldington.  Again with Stony Steppers

Dodging the rain, dancing out by brazier light on ‘the square’! Also did Mr Burrows Folly in the dark, where several people dropped their sticks, but we all finished up with the right ones in the end.

Afterwards, we all played and sang and the landlords fed us free veg curry (super) and hot roast belly pork! How nice.
Sat 10  Hanslope Village Fair  A bit of a struggle to get the numbers up for this paid event, but eventually we has Pat and John, David & Ruth, Lin & Pete and Kevin L. Fete on sports field, on a windy day. We danced first set out on grass in middle of arena, dogging the wellies that were still being wanged! Not helped by intermittent amplification of John’s melodeon, so just did a short set. Had to leave site in search of decent beer, but came back and danced worse in front of bar in rain!
Thu 15  Royal Oak AGM At the Royal Oak Eydon. All as before, except for David B becomes Journeyman Squire.
Sat 24  Wedding in MK  Surprise entry to an Anglo German wedding in country house outside MK. In the end all very slick, straight in dancing, then a set of 4, plus getting the punters up to dance Shepherds Hey, and out again!
Thu 20  Daventry WMC, Entertainment (and winners) at a fundraising quiz organised by Daventry CAB. Did a slightly modified version of the routine from the wedding, but as drink had been taken during the quiz, not quite so slick!
Sat 19  Ducklington Village Hall.  Ducklington Winter Ale.
Only six sides there, Duck, Adderbury MM, Sharp & Blunt, Owlswick, Lepton* and five of us (Ruth and David T, David B, Pat and Kevin L). First outing for new Journeyman Squire David B became scary, first as we had no sticks and then because the two dances practised were used up in the first hour. Borrowed sticks from Adderbury, then quick recap of Balance the straw for 4, and the Blind Cupid (which wasn’t needed) saved the day. Luckily the rest of us could hide behind Pat’s singing when it came time to do a ‘spot’.

(*Lepton were based in Harwell and danced in labcoats)
(Sun 18  Lilacs, Isham  Invited to dance at Witchmen’s Winter Bash, but foiled again due to the pathetic excuse of Terry Dix having a triple heart bypass.)