The Living Journal of the Yateley Morris Men 220418 Oxford Folk Weekend

Travel logistics difficult with closed rail lines and grim bus alternatives. Not everyone got their full English (or large English Ryan) in ‘Spoons Four Candles but most did with many opting for some pleasant IPA with a Spitfire badge (but not Spitfire from SN the weary barman kept repeating…) mainly paid for by rustling CAMRA vouchers. A grand start to the day!

Chris B’s first day with bells, we did think about making up a tradition, ‘belling the musician’ perhaps, involving some considerable public embarrassment but it was all too early in the day! These bells have a fine history having dangled from Muzza’s shapely calves since the 70s. Other ‘firsts’; Mike’s first outing as a musician and Dennis’s first intro to a public performance of the morris.

We gently trundled and waddled to our first spot at the Ashmolean Museum, lovely bright sun and many bemused tourists. Fortunately our Monty was in full sales mode and was able to flog informative books and badges to them. With Old Speckled Hen clog and near neighbours Borderline. The Squire had had a ‘word’ and we all marched on tidily – impressively as well as we had two sets up plus a number of spares, with our Old Woman Tossed Up (Fieldtown) standing out. Happy horse, happy crowd. Onto Cornmarket for a bit of busking, with some old lags slipping back for a quick top up at ‘Spoons.

Next stop, the bare, blasted heath of Gloucester Green. A grim place to dance – huge concrete area and the onlookers (mainly morris folk) miles away from the action. With the good looking HQMM, Old Speckled Hen and jig specialists Knights of King Ina. Plenty of opportunity to practice very long walk ons….and offs. YMM looking good in two sets – Phil, Greg and Mike settling pre-dance nerves. The lovely Illyte from Sardinia was our Maid of the Mill. Some old lags slipping back for a quick top up at ‘Spoons. A bit of a stroll to the Crown, a lively music session, with some friendly familiar faces, at full volume, a rather gallic feel with the hurdy gurdy grinding away. Rather nice. Delighted to see newest recruit Dennis and his lovely wife, Claudia!

Alas, no high tea and prosecco in the warden’s c14 lodgings at New College this year (smug glow) but back to Gloucester Green for each side to show off – we did a lively Happy Man – and we shot off (some old lags slipping back for a quick top up at ‘Spoons) to do a bit of successful busking in Cornmarket again. Final dance, Upton Upon Severn stickie saw everyone cream crackered! Squire gave some rare praise and it was well deserved. Off to trains and buses with late lunch/early tea on the hoof.

Fantastic turn out from the side, just so good to put two sides up PLUS Fool, Beast and badge seller. Our musicians always rise to the occasion and were great! Lovely also to have PDC (a grand Fool!) and Larry with us for the day. A pleasant enough day, some chuntering about venues – no castle, no Broad St. The organisers did well with a limited set of venues. May be we do our own tour next year!

Artistes

Andy A, Chris B, Steve, Tom, Paul, Greg, Kevin, Chris C, Ryan, Baz, Phil, Ross, Paul Lethbridge, Paul M, Mike Clarke, Tim, Andy P, Peter S, Ian Y, Greg, Andy Y, Dennis In civvies, WFYH, Co-Fool Peter De Courcy, guest, photographer and honorary chaplain for the day the Rev Larry Bain.

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