watervole: (Default)
 We were dancing at Swanage Folk Festival this weekend and I had the usual use of our team first aid kit, a child with a scratched finger needing a plaster (it's hardly ever team members needing it).

However, not long after, a dancer twisted a foot mid-dance. He swapped out and tossed his stick to me and we finished the dance without missing a step. After the dance was over, I got out the emergency ice pack and a crepe bandage and applied both. By the afternoon (with the bandage re-applied) he was well enough to walk the procession, but sensible enough not to try stepping.


There are days when I'm very glad that I carry that kit around wherever we go.

(The item that I deliberately included in the kit, but hope never to have to use, is an eye pad. One has to be realistic about the risk of stick injuries when it comes to Border morris.)

Apart from having the right kit to treat the injury, the other big plus for me was that the dancer in question knew I could instantly replace him and we swapped without affecting the dance at all.  I
 work hard to learn every position in every dance (which is not to say that I never make mistakes) and it means that I can fill in almost  anywhere.  Some dancers only ever learn a single position.  They'll dance second in line on the left in dance A and in position 3 in dance B and so on.

I tend to visualise dances from an overhead viewpoint, so I see the overall pattern and that means I remember "First corners cross" rather than "I swap places with Henry". I've also been dancing for most of my life, so half the patterns are second nature anyway.
watervole: (Default)
 I'm definitely on too many committees.

I've just done the AGM minutes and updated the constitution for Anonymous Morris (but still have all sorts of stuff relating to bookings for next year and updating dance notation on the web site to do)

I have to hold a mini AGM for Southern Star Longsword tonight to see if we have enough people to form a committee. Don't need that many posts, but I'd like it if someone competent offered to do publicity as that's a major job for a small, new, dance group.  I'm doing all the jobs for Southern  Star at present, but sometimes that's what you have to do to get something off the ground.

I'm working on a new constitution for the local Allotment Society -which is a devil of a job.  The Chair doesn't really believe in Constitutions and proposed we adopt one out of an old Allotment book she had, as it was short.  The fact that it set a minimum committee number of three more than we currently have, that it assumed a totally different relationship between the landlord and the Allotment Society than is actually the case and several other  things that simply didn't fit our circumstances was clearly irrelevant. I don't think she'd bothered to read it.

I'm also doing masses of stuff for Wimborne Minster Folk Festival...

I'm feeling tired and short of free time and I really want to sit down for several days and do nothing but knitting.

Music

Oct. 26th, 2015 07:34 am
watervole: (Default)
 ONe of the up sides of unemployment is more free time.

It seems to be an age since I was regularly able to post here.  Commuting into Dorchester to work at the bookshop took up far too much time; then I'd get home feeling absolutely wiped and collapse.

I'm still feeling very stressed, but I'm finding ways of coping.

Therapeutic granddaughter is high on the list.  Her parents are very understanding and we have permission to loan her when needed (as long as we do sensible things like giving them advance warning).

I'm also taking up pipe and tabor with a vengeance.   Vengeance is almost a scarily apropriate word in this case. Being around a beginner pipe and tabor player can be a painful experience.  A tabor pipe is all overblow notes.  This gives it the ability to cut through a lot of background noise as it's high pitched and piercing.

Because it's a three hole instrument, it can be held in one hand and all the fingering is done with that one hand - two fingers actually hold the pipe and the other two and the thumb are used to cover the holes.  That's why so many of the notes are overblows as there are a limited number of combinations of three holes.

The advantage of a one-handed pipe is that the other hand is free to beat a small drum.

This is what makes pipe and tabor such a good stress buster.  By the time you're trying to play a pipe which is all overblow notes (ie, you don't just have to remember which holes to cover, but also how hard you have to blow) and, at the same time, beat a regular rhythm with the drum (a bit like trying to rub your tummy and pat your head at the same time), you have no spare mental space for the things that are stressing you.

The moment you think of something else, you'll make a mistake with the music and have to start all over again.

I won't scare you with my really bad playing.  Here's someone who can play much better than I can.  If you scroll along to around the one minute mark, you'll get a close up of the musician.  Pipe and tabor were a very combination for medieval dancing, and for morris before fiddles became widespread.



watervole: (Default)
 Being a member of a Border morris team means sewing an awful lot of tatter jackets.  This one, modelled by the ever-gorgeous Oswin is the last one I made by hand.


We used have a rule that everyone made their own jacket, but it rapidly became apparent that everyone meant to do it and very few actually got around to it. So, I ended up doing most of the jackets with help from one or two others.  Every darn one of them had vast numbers of tatters stitched on by hand.  During a season's dancing, a fair number of them become detached.  I took to double-stitching the edges of each tatter, but even that didn't prevent it entirely.

My Mother in Law, the wonderful Molly, asked me recently if I'd like an advance birthday present of a sewing machine.   I practically bit her hand off. (I'd had one or two second-hand machines in the past, but never managed to get them to work properly).  My new machine is a Brother LS14, a  basic model, with no fancy features, but it works and is dead easy to use.  Tatter jackets have suddenly become easier and several hemming and repair jobs for trousers, etc that had been sitting around for ages have suddenly been done.
I'm starting to work through the existing jackets, reinforcing each row of tatters with machine stitching.  It'll be a long job, even with the machine, but I'd never even have attempted it by hand.

I've done one new jacket already for our new banjo player, and I'll shortly do another one for our drummer.





watervole: (Default)
 Well, good for me anyway.  Look at this lovely lad in his morris costume!
watervole: (Default)
 One of the people who came to our morris workshop at Purbeck Folk Festival has now joined a morris side in London.

I definitely count that as a success!

Here's hoping that someone, somewhere recruits a member for us...
watervole: (Default)
 Anonymous Morris go to the pub.  Between us, we order 2 cokes, several J2O, one tea, one coffee and a lemonade.

I fear the reputation of morris dancers is forever ruined...
watervole: (Default)
 Alex_beecroft on LJ mentioned this group and I had to go for a look.

Four Hundred Roses are from Yorkshire and do belly dancing to morris music (and occasionally add some morris figures to their dances).


I rather like the costumes.  They make me think of Victorian pub landladies in a modern musical.

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Judith Proctor

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