This wonderfully hot English summer's weekend saw a massed gathering of Morris and Molly dance sides up on the North Norfolk coast at the little town of Sheringham. An annual event called the Lobster Potties Festival is held and the town turns out to support it, tourists come in droves, and the dancers and musicians dance and play their hearts out. Some beer is consumed (it is, coincidentally, a beer festival, after all!And it did get very hot - 31 degrees on Sunday morning at the camp-site!)
Here you can see young James, Jan and Steve who live in Sheffield but come and play for Ouse Washes when they can, and me, myself. Slipping out of shot is a member of the Loose Women Mollies. It was a fantastic weekend, helped, I'm sure by the wonderful weather.
This is Porter, a lovely Cocker Spaniel belonging to Elin and Bryan; he was a little star all weekend.
This post is going to be photo-heavy, so bear with me while I crack on uploading. Enjoy the spectacle!
Bryan showing off his new bloomers.
Suze doing breakfast cuppas.
Alex sorting out the children. Between them, Alex and her sister Suze do most of the camp organising and hard work. It's that Girl Guiding Ethic.
My bed-space, in the "pod" attached to the side of Alex's VW Camper van. Yes, I want one too!
A breakfast visit from one of the Gongs Scourers musicians.
Me, with Elin, one of our Mollys (and a great fiddler, too!) Kitted up for her role with her other side, Golden Cross Morris. She danced for them on Saturday, and with us on Sunday. Love those bells!
Gongs Scourers Border Morris in action.
Two amiable chaps who stopped for a quick snap!
A Border Morris side in action.
Alex and her van. Sides arriving at the car-park Sunday morning. It was already 31 degrees at the camp-site. It cooled down a little because of the sea breeze, but town was HOT!
This is a Cotswold Morris side. The terms 'Border' and 'Cotswold' and 'Rapper' refer to the style of dancing, not the place of origin of the sides.
Ouse Washes take a coffee break between dance sets. It was quite relentless, we continued throughout the day, stopping off at pre-determined spots throughout the town to dance our sets with other sides in in group. Here we see Jan, Peter, and Ellen, and Suze just visible in the background. She dances with Loose Women Mollys. Oh, and a close up of Andrew, our "Molly" side view. Andrew is training up Bryan as Deputy Molly. Equivalent to the Morris side's Fool.
Gongs Scourers Musicians.
The Evil Line-Up : Georgia, me, Bryan (he gets everywhere, doesn't he?) And Alex.
Ouse Washes prepare for their next set down by the two Lifeboats.
And plenty of it!
Some interesting, somewhat sinister chaps. The costumes of lots of these sides is quite amazing, and for anyone interested in textiles, it is a real visual feast. I had so many compliments about my hat!
Another Cotswold Morris side. Love the appendage!
The amazingly costumed Pig Dyke Molly side. They dance out not far from Ouse Washes, in the Fens.
The Pig Dyke Musicians.
A young boy performs a Morris Jig solo. Quite a lump in the throat moment, actually.
Well done, young man!
A lovely group called Youth Miscellany, from ages about 5 to 15. Wonderful to see these youngsters.
They danced to very English tunes such as Princess Royal and Soldiers Joy, tunes reminiscent of Nelson's day. Another lump in the throat moment for me. I just wish our media would do more to promote true English culture - we are allowed to be proud of it without it being a racist statement!
Great action shot of Jason and Bryan doing the Broom Dance. Steve on melodeon.
Jason getting his leg over. They finish this dance with a spectacular double somersault. Happy landings - Jason has made many of them! Bryan is learning the ropes and made a great somersault today.
Sheringham beach - almost deserted because every one was in town at the festival! Ouse Washes did go in for a dip at the finish though.
It was a truly brilliant week end. I had problems with my back after the Saturday - there is so much standing around. However Alex to the rescue with the Ibuprofen and sunday was a breeze. I had so much fun, being in such good company. We had a session at the tents on Friday evening and Nick (melodeon tutor) came to join us - he is an ex-member of Ouse Washes. Saturday night we had a session in the School where our campsite was situated.
This was such an incredible sight to see all the wonderful costume and dancing. I fervently wish we would stop being embarrassed by our traditional dancing heritage, and I wish the media would do more to promote it. Had this been the Brixton Carnival the World's Press would have been there in droves. As it is, this wonderful spectacle will rate a few lines and a few photos in the local paper. However, dear blog readers, I am hoping that you will read, look, be amazed, and talk about what you've seen, where-ever you are around the world, and know that traditional culture is alive and well in England!