An early start as Chris F toured North Hampshire and bits of Surrey to collect Chris C, Paul, Ian Y, and then Rod, before heading to Datchet (pronounced Dashay by the cognoscenti). With three dancers and two music, we thought we could do a few three man jigs to warm up, but no need as the Datchet side were there in force at the WI hall, providing tea, coffee squash and immense, excellent pastries, all freshly baked locally. Fuelled and ready, we all moved outside to dance on the green. Jackstraws, Hurst, Thames Valley and Taeppas Tump were led by Datchet. ( Taeppas was a celebrated warrior and the oldest known resident of Maidenhead.)
A short walk to the station and with 15 minutes to wait, Yateley moved to the other platform to lead the dancing and be seen by everyone else. The less flamboyant sides then danced on the correct platform, rather more discreetly.
A walk up to the Castle entrance so those not watching the Household Cavalry as they changed the guard, could see us and then down to the post office for a few dances before it tried to rain. We sheltered in The Piper for a much appreciated libation then off to the Two Brewers by the park, where there was much evidence of horses fertilising the road, signs telling us not to drink here, or take drinks there, and please be quiet and respect the residents. Fortunately one side had a percussion section ! There were far fewer visitors and tourists than previous years, particularly obvious was the lack of those watching us and wanting to be photographed with us.
Back through the town and over the bridge to the Waterman’s Arms for sandwiches ( pre-prepared ) and chips ( not prepared ) with some wonderful beer – can’t remember what it was called ! Struggled back to the bridge for a dance or two and along to the Riverside gardens, where all sides performed, again to smaller audiences than in previous years. A short walk to the station and further dances on the green in Datchet.
We ended with Myrtle who went down well and Datchet ended with an extended hatless dance for 5 men, which they had invented. Great thanks for an excellent day were expressed by all and our squire donned his camouflage motor cycling pyjamas to ride home on his immaculate bike. Rather than creep away, there was a move for a further Bonny Green before we struggled over to the Royal Stag for a final beer, to be told twice that we could not sit at a table, since it was reserved by a group that had not yet arrived. Their attitude did not affect our huge appreciation of a great day.
Rod Crane, Andy Pobjoy, Mike Clarke, Chris Franklin, Mark Russell, Steve Betts, Tom Brady, Pete De Courcy, Chris Chapple, Paul Lethbridge, Baz Crossman, Dennis Hausen, Phil Goddard, Tim Lloyd, Ian Sutherland, Ian Young, The Beast