With Storm Hannah but a recent memory the Yateley Morris Men were greeted by a dry, mild, still Mayday morn as they gathered in the car park at Wyndham’s Pool on Yateley Common at the traditional stupid o’clock.
By the time the Frimley contingent, comprised mainly of non-combatants – Ross complaining about his ankle, Ryan in kit but barely able to walk due to a dodgy knee, Peter in mufti but equipped with deck-chair having once again knackered his back – most of the Men, plus a small number of watchers, were already gathered. It was disappointing how few were clad in the correct garb for this day – dressing gowns: the Squire must have a word!
The festivity kicked off shortly before official dawn with a rousing chorus of “Some talk of Alexander…” (if the neighbours had been asleep they sure weren’t now) followed by a spirited 8-man Skirmish (Adderbury).
Second up was Idbury Hill/Morning Star (Bledington hankies), followed by Vandals of Hammerwich (Lichfield – what a shame Max wasn’t there to see this fine performance, such swingbacks!); then came our new specially commissioned (at great expense!) D&P (Ilmington) during which the World Famous Yateley Horse made a most welcome appearance. No doubt shocked by the hour, he pranced a few steps and sloped off back to his stable.
The stocks of long sticks were stretched to equip the Men for an appropriate Yateley Heath (Long Fieldtown – so many galleys!), then sticks away and hankies out for Banbury Bill (Bampton).
After that, all ten dancers formed up for Shepherd’s Hey (in the Adderbury style); most remembered whether they were first or second couples! After the standard figures the Fool led the way down to the pool; it is uncertain whether the bifurcation of the procession was deliberate, but at the bottom of the slope the file led by the Music joined back up with that led the Fool, and all made their way onto the path by the pool. Tim led us in a hearty rendering of Hal’n’Tow (now available on video courtesy of the Horse’s Facebook page), then all dispersed to the Short & Sweet Café in Yateley, which opened specially early just for us. A jolly good cooked brekky was enjoyed by all (except Phil who popped his head in smartly dressed in his black B&Q uniform on his way to work), and the café staff were rewarded with YMM badges, which no doubt they will wear with pride.
For most of us, a fine start to the dancing season!
Dancers: Andy A, Andy P, Baz, Gunther, Tom, Ian Y, Paul, Phil, Ross & Tim.
Music: Rod, Steve, David & Chris B.
Beast: The World Famous Yateley Horse
Invalids: Ryan, Peter