We've a house full of recovering morris dancers!
Wimborne on Friday rained a bit. We managed the procession which was almost dry. For the dance spot in the Cornmarket afterwards, we managed with a combination of instruments protected by bin bags (you can play a concertina in a bin bag by making holes in the bag for your hands to go through) and helpful umbrellas.
After two dances, we retreated to the ceilidh and danced until midnight and then retired to our tents.
Saturday was bright and sunny. We weren't dancing on Saturday... We collected and ambled round the stalls and some of us may have hit some of the music sessions. In the evening we went to the ceilidh and danced our socks off.
In the night it rained. A lot.
Both tents were starting to let water in by the morning.
Abandoning our first dance spot, we chucked dry stuff into the car and struck the tents in the rain.
Nothing daunted, we then went and found a spot to dance in the aforementioned rain. We had a small but very appreciative audience.
Then we found where the few surviving morris teams were hanging out in a large gazebo at the back of the Bell. We all took turns dancing there and Anonymous's version of Tinner's Rabbits went down very well (and there were some good performances from other sides. I enjoyed Bourne River's jig to 'Singing in the Rain').
I'd originally been programmed to do maypole dancing with my school group on the Minster Green at 2pm. With the rain pouring down (and the grass slippery as well) it was highly unlikely that any children would show. The school phoned round the children to confirm it was off, but just in case any didn't get the message, I found a free spot in the main hall and set up the maypole there (with someone at the Minster to catch anyone who showed there). Just to ensure the maypole (and the dry, warm, indoor space...) weren't wasted, I invited every morris dancer I passed to come along and join in.
It went surprisingly well. I ended up with about eighteen morris dancers from a number of sides all joining in the maypole dances.
There's some great things about working with dancers. With seven year olds ,you struggle for weeks to be able to get them to do a plait -and even then some of them will get it wrong. With morris dancers, all you need to say say is: red ribbons face clockwise, green ribbons face anti-clockwise. Now do a hey passing right shoulders first. And they're off - perfect plait first time. (All I need to remember for the future is to tell them to have the ribbon tension slightly slacker so the first few wraps don't catch on the crown).
Even morris dancers make a few mistakes though. Maypole looks easy, but it is a very unforgiving dance. Every mistake is 100% obvious when you come to unwind the ribbons. You can't simply slide back into place when you go wrong (which you can do in almost any other dance without the audience even noticing most of the time). When I was saying: "Notice who is on either side of you and who is in front of you and don't overtake" I could see a few smiles at the 'school teacher' routine. But sure enough, we got a couple of ribbon tangles in 'Crysanthamum' from people passing the dancer in front of them - this tends to happen when the dancer in front moves late.
It was a fun session, helped us get warm and dry out and was colourful with quite a few people watching as well as dancing.
I was told afterwards that one the dancers, an older gentleman, had been unable to do maypole dancing at school as he'd been very ill as a boy - he'd always regretted not being able to do it - and I'd made him very happy.
It made my day!
Then we all dived back to my place (apart from Rick who had a job interview the next morning), ate stew, played simple card games and collapsed.
In 2013, I'll see it all from a different angle. I'm on the committee for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival 2013