Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Summer Solstice, Evesham

Okay, so the summer solstice was over three weeks ago. I can still blog about it, can't I?

After our less than peaceful, relaxing stay in Cheltenham we headed out to Evesham on the Sunday. And what a lovely little town Evesham turned out to be. On arrival we were greeted by dozens of Morris Dancers, strutting their stuff and bashing sticks in the market square and on the main street. Nige and I spent a good half an hour at least soaking up one of ye olde pagan traditions and snapping away like paparazzi.

We then enjoyed a lovely walk along the river, which took us in a loop back towards the town. We stopped to take a picture of a dray horse outside a quaint looking pub, which just happened to have a beer festival on. More Morris men, all with blacked out faces, littered the car park, but this time relaxing with a pint and not banging sticks. We sat outside the pub with a pint of Old Hooky and a doorstop sandwich while one of the Morris men regaled us with stories. I learned more about Morris dancers than I ever needed to know.

Here are just some of the things I learned:

A group of Morris dancers is called a 'side'
A lot of Morris sides, particularly on the Welsh borders, black their faces as was traditional centuries ago. The reason for this could have been a) as a disguise, as Morris dancing was a form of begging and begging was against the law or b) to ward off evil spirits or c) because Morris dancing comes from 'Moorish' dancing (North Africa) so they blacked their faces to look authentic.
The 'hankie waving' Morris dancers are somewhat sneered at by the 'stick hitters' and are called 'Snotters'.
There are thousands of Morris sides throughout the country.
Morris dancing isn't in danger of dying out, as the media would suggest (we saw some teenage hoodies, sons of some of the Morris dancers, learning one of the dances in the pub car park).

What a wonderful way to celebrate the Summer Solstice. Next time we'll spend the whole weekend in Evesham.....even the beer's better!

Monday, 13 July 2009

Catching Up

I can't believe it's been nearly a fortnight since I last blogged, but life has been so hectic here. I'm definitely more of a social animal in summer, which is why I have to do more housework so that the house is fit to receive visitors. I've recently renewed a great friendship with Abigail, who I used to work with seventeen years ago at Nicholas Chamberlaine School in Bedworth. We still get on like a house on fire, could talk for England and laugh a lot. It's great to be back in touch.

I've also been doing a lot of walking. There are some fantastic country walks around the Rugby area and I've even ventured out on my own a couple of times. I do get rather nervous in the more remote areas, however, which puts me off walking alone more often.

I've become rather addicted to Facebook, I'm afraid. I think the problem with working from home is that you rarely see anyone all day, so Facebook is a great way of feeling in touch with one's fellow human beings. It's also a great place to show off photos and now I have a new printer/scanner, the sky's the limit.

I'm pleased to report that after my recent PC problems (when all my data went missing) I invested in an IMac with 20" screen. It's beautiful.. a real work of art, as Christine Todd pointed out. Now I have to learn all about Macs. The problem is now that I have work, photos and other files all over the place. On Nige's laptop hard drive, on memory sticks and on the Mac. This explains why I still haven't finished blogging about our weekend away in June. I've yet to write about the Summer Solstice in Evesham and the Morris dancers. Can I find the relevant photos? No, which is why I'm jabbering away about nothing in particular today. Bear with me.

Unfortunately, I've lost all my Outlook folders and subsequently an awful lot of emails, including those giving feedback on The Yellow Room Issue 2. Therefore, I haven't any letters to publish in Issue 3. Hopefully, some of you will be kind enough to resend your email letter or to put one in the post.

I'm hoping to start setting some writing exercises on the old QWF Forum which is still going strong. If you'd like to join, simply go to Yahoo Groups and you'll find us at: