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Log Book 2016

Log Book for 2016

What actually happened, before time takes its toll and surrounds everything with a rosy glow

Try-out Evenings, Mondays 5th and 12th November
There was one new dancer along who had come from a side in East Anglia.  We were a little surprised that we were found to be "very energetic compared to my old side", I will leave others to ponder this.  We looked at an unusual dance from Graham's notes "Won't Go Home", a curious combat dance that Graham may have adapted for child dancers.  Good to be back.

Seekers Club - New Malden, Monday 9th November
A fresh winters evening saw a good turn out of Kingston Morris at the Seekers Club, New Malden.  Seekers Club is a leisure club for adults with a learning disability who are members of Kingston Mencap. The club organises all kinds of social activities and is now something of a fixture in Kingston’s Morris winter circuit. There are few audiences as enthusiastic about the Morris as Seekers and the crowd participation in the final dance is always well attended.  We were offered the usual refreshments and presented with gifts from the club for the dancers to share, a pleasant and wholly unexpected treat which we hope will catch on with other invitations. The chocolates were wolfed down I can assure all.

George & Dragon - Thames Ditton, Sunday 29th November
The weather was pretty unkind this year and most guests were limping off home as we set up at the George and Dragon, Thames Ditton around 6 pm.  This is traditionally one of our early summer spots and a very familiar site of Baldrick /Rosette presentations on a St George’s Day balmy spring evening.  Not this time. Gruelling could be used to describe the night as dancers and musicians worked around the rain and the wind of a real English winters day. Still the Morris MUST go on. A noble guest (John Elkins) from Thames Valley MM also showed up to join in the proceedings (some people never learn no matter their age). We pushed on through our nearly famous “Carol Dances” as hats spiralled off into the distance carried by the tail end of some Hurricane or other. We are Kingston Morris, however, and merely laugh off these troubles and were able to provide that dwindling audience with a fine example of Morris “in extremis”.

Winterfest - Kingston & Medieval Fair - Royal Mews, Saturday 12th December
A remarkable warm December day helped to make this day a pleasure.  9 dancers and musicians chased hats and danced outside Bentalls to draw attention to the Rotary Club's Santa stand and collection.  The dancing at the second stand, after a swift pint at the Bishop, was even better than the dancing at the first, and after which survivors headed down to the Mute Swan at Hampton Court.  To our despair we discovered we had two hours to kill in the Mute Swan before the Medieval Fair, but that might also explain why after briefly enjoying the many and varied stalls at the fair, our best dancing of the day was in the evening, corralled in the horse pen.  Those happy survivors then retreated back to the Mute Swan for some dinner before declaring the day a success, and excellent fun it was.

Christmas Dinner - Merrits Twickenham, Tuesday 15th December
We returned to Merits Restaurant in the Richmond Upon Thames College for our annual Christmas feast. We have always found the welcome to be marvellous and food and presentation by the students top-notch. The students turn the cooking and service into an art form as they diligently apply their skills, under excellent supervision, of the professional staff. Many a high class London restaurant fail to meet these standards and none match the value for money on offer. The slightly rowdy Morris crowd may not have been the choice of the other guests but they seemed to take it all in good part.  The serious business of electing our “Morris Person of the year” raised the tension nicely after dinner but that didn’t last long as Helena won at a canter to whispers all around of “It was always going to be her ” and “of course, Helena would win it” everyone agreeing she had it in the bag for the incredible effort over the year not least on the entire redesign of the KM website. The website has now been brought up to 21st Century standards by Helena’s professional effort. Loud applause and a fabulous gift of a bound book of pictures taken throughout the year was her modest reward.  Gerry

Christmas Ale - Willoughby Arms, Monday 21st December
The venue for this year’s Christmas Ale was the Willoughby Arms, hosts to our music sessions.  Phoenix Clog and Ewell St Mary’s Morris Men joined us for the evening.  We did our special Christmas dances including the classic and timeless Hark the Highland Mary Sings.  We always try to make the occasion special by wearing seasonally adapted kit, but even by our usual standards Andy’s tall flowery hat was quite stunning, even before he borrowed a piece of tinsel to improve it! The warmth of the welcome from the Willoughby Arms was matched only by that of the mince pies they kindly provided.  The evening ended with a session and a rousing singalong led by Ewell.

Boxing Day tour with Thames Valley Morris Men, Claygate, Saturday 26th December
Colin, Phil and Andy assembled on Boxing Day with the Thames Valley Men and a waiting audience, at Platform 3- a tiny bar at Claygate Station run by the Brightwater brewery who supplied us with a keg of ‘Little Nipper’ to get us going. The weather was pleasantly warm  and surprisingly dry. The dancing got off to a dubious start when Colin and Phil joined what should have been a Highland Mary to the tune of Hark the Herald, but the musicians played Little Town of Bethlehem. The dance was interesting, if a little hesitant in places, though we think we all got away with it, without the audience realising.  

We then moved on to the Foley Arms, where Helena joined the other SG musicians, and we were greeted by another good local audience. The Thames Valley Horse and Goat both appeared, though never together, whilst a range of dances continued. The session ended with a BGG, so Helena put down her melodeon to become ‘audience’ and join in.  As we reached our next stop, the Hare and Hounds, we were greeted with the sight of a massive audience waiting for us. The days dancing is well supported by the people of Claygate and some have been attending for over 40 years. The landlord had lined up some beers for us, so that we could start dancing without delay. Our dancing space here was small, but we still managed a good selection of dances, mainly from Fieldtown and Bampton.  

We then walked down to the Winning Horse, but there was no audience outside here. We went in to replenish our tankands, but when came came back out we were joined by the audience who had been waiting inside. The Thames Valley ‘Cake’ man, Dick, kept the crowd supplied with Christmas cake, by now he was on his 3rd or 4th cake.  After a short stand, we made the final walk to our last stop, the Griffin, where we performed a range of dances to a good audience, before the landlord provided some jugs of of ale and spicy chicken wings to finish off an enjoyable day. Thanks to TVMM for the inviting SGMM to this traditional event.

12th Night Ale with Ewell St Mary's Morris Men, The Wheatsheaf, Ewell, Tuesday 5th January
A fantastic evening for Kingston Morris – we joined our very good friends Ewell St Mary’s Morris Men for their Twelfth Night Revels. Presided over by the Lord of Misrule we danced, played, sang, played silly games then danced and played some more. Also in attendance were Thames Valley Morris Men (TVMM), Black Swan Border, Phoenix Clog and Box Hill Bedlam Morris.  We danced Young Collins Bidford (to Deck the Halls), Good King Wenceslas (Adderbury), Jenny Lind and Vandals (Lichfield). We joined in games and social dancing, songs and tunes including a seasonal ‘Lumps of Plum Pudding’.  Huge thanks to Ewell especially Alan Mead and Lord of Misrule Bob Hayward.

Celebrating Cotswold Morris Scratch Ale, Merstham Village Hall, Saturday 20th February
Jane went along, not much happened, then roosters turned up and it was a rooster evening.

Seething Wells, Sunday 28th February 
Our starting point was at St Andrew’s Square, Surbiton where faces were being painted, masks created and final preparations were being made to costumes. We danced three dances to entertain the gathering crowds before joining the procession of guinea pigs, cheese wedges, sardine tins, curriers, water carriers and other members of the various local and ancient guilds. As we paraded around the local streets, our musicians played a variety of tunes and as well as the Winster Processional we adapted other traditions.

Back at the Square the Talcum Miners’ Colliery band started the entertainment and then we followed with the Manx Sword dance and invited the children to join in a Shepherd’s Hey clapping dance. Lord Scroley then related to everyone, who had gathered around, the Legend of Lefi Ganderson, ]The Goat Boy of Mount Seething, who defeated the giant Thamas Deeton. As always there was a great feeling of family fun at this year’s Seething Wells festival.

Kempton Great Engines Museum, Sunday 20th March
Our second year at the magnificent Kempton Steam Museum and Railway. The great Triple engine was started up as we arrived, 100 feet high and 100 tons of 20th Century British ingenuity originally designed to send water from West to North London. During the interludes as the engine stopped, we performed our sets to the assembled crowd peering off the walkways high above the dancers. We tried out one of our new 2015/16 dances “Lass of Richmond Hill” which was a great success but also reprised past favourites including the elegant Manx Sword dance to the tune of Idbury Hill.

During one interval we crowded onto the Steam Train for the rousing spectacle of 2 Accordions, 4 Melodeons and a Mandolin playing the Runaway train (bit shaky in more ways than one) and the more successful Captain Lanoe’s Quick March and Theme Vannetais/ Bear Dance combo. The audience looked on from around the track to capture this psychedelic Magic Roundabout experience while the horses looked on bewildered.

Back for the grand finale in the engine room before retiring to great applause.

Thames Valley Ale, All Saints Weston Green, Saturday 9th April
Along with Spring Grove, TVM invited Ewell, Roosters and Fleur de Lys to their ale so there was no danger of being over danced and plenty of time to chat and drink beer.

I took this opportunity for Id to dance in to the side and for Helena to prove her worth as the musical partner for Id's Prince's Royal – Bidford – jig.  Having worked all practice season the jig came off well and I was proud to be able to award two pairs of Spring Grove baldrics.  There was a great spread of food from curry to cheese that would suit all tastes, and after the dancing and drinking were done TVM sold off the reserve beer and a knock down price.

Ales are great, they're parties for morris folk: dancing, playing, singing, eating and drinking.   We should do more of them.

St George's Day Beer Festival Weybridge, and George & Dragon Thames Ditton, Saturday 23rd April
We arrived at Weybridge Vandals Rugby Club to be warmly welcomed and given a pass and a drink voucher. It was a “no brainer” – our first dance just had to be Vandals (Vandals of Hammerwich, Lichfield)! We commenced in good style, with an enthusiastic audience, but then disaster struck. On the fast back to back Glenis unfortunately collided with a pram that had mysteriously and unknowingly appeared at the edge of the dance area. The collision resulted in a fall and a painful and badly twisted ankle. Once we established she was OK, with ice pack and a seat organised, we got the show back on the road to appreciative applause. The show continued with Balance the Straw, Young Collins and Constant Billy (Adderbury).  It was hot dancing in the tented area, but it was a beer festival so a good choice of refreshment was available at the end of the stand. Outside the tent was a ‘bouncy castle’ slide, and this proved too great a temptation for Helena and Colin (shoes off of course).
Our second spot went smoothly and we danced a variety of traditions.
Most of us then moved on to our second stand of the day, the George and Dragon at Thames Ditton, but we lost a couple of the side who decided to stay at the Rugby Club to enjoy the evening music band and excellent beer. We performed the usual array of dances to a small audience, boosted when a large party claiming to be Border Dancers from Herefordshire arrived. Quick questioning from Jane caught them out, though they did then buy a good number of badges, and joined in BBG.

May Day, Box Hill, Ham House Richmond, Docklands Museum, Sunday 1st May
Box Hill and Breakfast at the Wheatsheaf in Ewell
We met with Rampant Rooster and Ewell St Mary’s morris at our regular site on Box Hill to dance in the upcoming summer.  We gathered in the National Trust car park around 5.00. a.m. and processed round to the hill top site overlooking the Mole Valley in the early dawn light. The weather was fine but chilly so we started dancing wearing our morris fleeces with a Vandals of Hammerwich, remembering our late Squire, Ben Izard.  We bravely discarded our fleeces and danced turn and turn about with our guest sides, including both Border and Cotswold dances.  Spring Grove Morris Men took the stand to dance Bidford - Shepherd’s Hey which celebrated 37 continuous years of dancing on Box Hill on May 1st.  It proved difficult to choose a dance that all sides would know for a mass dance and eventually settled on an Adderbury dance - lads a bunchem. However, we forgot to warn Rampant Rooster that we sing a verse before starting this dance so it became a very asynchronous dance.  One more dance each and we made a traditional finish with a mass Bampton dance, the Bonny Green Garters before gathering for the group photo in front of the Salomon's Memorial viewing point.  We gratefully joined Ewell St Mary Morris Men at the Wheatsheaf for a massive fry up breakfast and some fine music and dance. This was enough of a treat for me and I left to go and lie down in a darkened room leaving those other’s in the side to continue  dancing throughout the day at Ham house and the docklands Museum.

Ham House and morning coffee
We arrived at Ham House in glorious warm sunshine, a welcome contrast to dawn on the top of Box Hill.  Our spot was at the rear of the House on the wide gravel pathway where we were welcomed but a small family audience seated on the grass lawn.  Our varied dance repertoire was much appreciated.  We adjourned for refreshments – tea in a teapot and cup combination and huge biscuit, much appreciated to revive our energy levels for out next event in London.

The Journey to Docklands, Lunch and the Museum
We left Ham House and drove to Richmond Station to get the train to our final venue. Having got to the platform, we found that it was 13 minutes until the next train. Time for a break? –no, some members of the side had itchy feet so a dance was needed. We started with an Over the Hill, followed by a Young Collins on the platform, then the train arrived and surprisingly for a Sunday it was busy and standing room only. By Clapham Junction, the train was less crowded, so time for a quick Monks March before we got to Waterloo, much to the amusement of our fellow passengers. After the crowded tube to Canary Wharf, the large open space on the platform of the underground station proved far too tempting for some to resist and a quick Banbury Bill was performed to great applause and cheering by the travelling public. An even greater cheer greeted the tannoy announcement ‘Ladies and gentlemen, passengers are reminded that morris dancing is not permitted on London Underground’

After a short walk we reached ‘’The Ledger Building’, a Spoons pub earlier than planned so had time for a quick lunch. John, Ian, Alan and David were already at the pub. The Ladies of the side discovered that the Ladies ‘amenities’ where rather large and luxurious – so time for a Ladies only dance, Highland Mary in this unique venue.

Then it was time for our final spot at the Museum of London Docklands where we were booked to teach children to dance at a family event. We discovered that our venue was the Chris Ellmers Gallery, named after the founder of the museum and a relative of one of our members. When the children arrived we noticed that they were somewhat younger than the museum had originally indicated, so a quick rethink on what to do was needed. Steve rose to the challenge and came up with a brilliant programme to teach Bonnie Greens and entertain, resulting in happy children, parents, and museum staff. Fortunately with fewer children, we only needed to run one session rather than the two planned, so we had a short break before the final dance, Jenny Lind, which preceded leading a parade out onto the dock for a performance of Bonnie Greens, followed by a quick retreat back to the Ledger building for a well earned pint (or three) and a rest.


Richmond Fair, Saturday 14th May
An early assembly at The White Cross Hotel on Richmond’s famous river bank for a run through of the routine we planned for, an appropriate place as it was here, beside Richmond Palace, that Elizabeth 1st lived and died and some of the earliest records of Morris Dancing are found.  A fair morning and an audience soon assembled to watch our travails before ambling toward Richmond Green.  We moved up to the stage which was set in the sunshine and performed our now well rehearsed pieces with Laurie brilliantly acting as our MC. The audience was considerably larger than previous years and at first we thought that the Morris had captured the British imagination again, until we realised that the Ballet School with 20/30 young dancers was coming on after us and not before and proud parents and Grand-parents had rushed to secure their place.  Ho-Hum such is the life of the Morris!  We later found a pub ! (Yes we know how to do that) and sandwiched ourselves between the Pro Israel and Pro Palestinian stalls hopefully bringing some sense of harmony through Dance, Music and Beer and although its hard to be sure this will do the trick, at least in can’t have hurt.

Richmond Tour with Thames Valley and London Pride Morris Men, Tuesday 18th May
The evening had threatened rain but proved to be dry and ideal dancing weather.  The two London Pride who joined us helped out the lightly manned Thames Valley side while our healthy numbers were much admired.

We met at the Prince's Head though danced outside the Cricketers where a party of revellers had established themselves.  TVM and LP watched with interest and puzzlement as we danced Won't Go Home, a feeling echoed by SGM as calls such as “hey” and “rounds” produced mixed results.  Old favourites followed alternating with the TVM/LP combo and we moved on to the White Cross.  Monk's March was well received, it being a “proper dance” while the best reception was saved for The Lass of Richmond Hill including leap-frogs, that griped our fellow dancers attention and produced the best applause (I think down to Id's jumping).  Those inclined moved into the upstairs room for a session lead mostly by Helena and LP's Peter on his hurdy-gurdy which brought the evening to a pleasant close.

The good turn out made the evening a pleasure; there was some decent dancing and our and our friends TVMM and LPMM were good company.  Well done all.

Prince of Wales, Surbiton - Monday 23rd May
"The sun shines on the Morris” our Treasurer David often opines. Not tonight it didn’t. The rain was biblical, trapping us and our guests Ewell St Mary MM in a side room of the this new venue Pub. Furniture was moved and with an enthusiastic audience made up of a Swedish Tourist party we begun a surprisingly lively show.  Ewell cannot be held back and showed how accurate they can be as some pretty big guys moved around a confined space without looking like a train wreck. KM were in good form thanks to Sue keeping some kind of order. Music worked well under difficult circumstances but the real stars were the dancers managing heys and cross capers in such a tight location.  We did get outside toward the end of the evening as much to suck in some much needed fresh air but it was too much to expect the audience to follow.  A mass ranked Upton brought the formal show to an end on a difficult night.   Ted of Ewell led the singing and Alan Mead the music in a rousing finale back in the Pub.  This was a good venue well chosen and we will be back in sunnier weather.

Brook Hotel, Kingston - Friday 27th May
KM were brought in to entertain a party of Canadians in our home town. Our audience were travelling widely in the UK and in fact, had recently reached the Cotswolds were the bulk of our dances come from. It was tight stage in a friendly local hotel and we were well received. A little History and Explanation of the Morris was well received and the dancing was of a good standard.

Kingston Riverside tour, Monday 6th June
Kingston Morris reasons to be cheerful
Barmy evening and lovely sunset
Scenic Kingston river pubs
18 dancers and musicians
Good beer
Varied programme of dance
Glenys back from injury
First ever public performance of 12 dancer Jockey to the Fair
Young and supportive audiences
General bonne amie

Her Majesty the Queen's 90th Birthday Celebration / Sunbury Open Gardens, Sunday 12th June
There really are some very nice gardens in Sunbury and we had the pleasure of dancing in the grounds of Monksbridge House, but first St Mary's Church where the interior of St Mary's, particularly the stone, brick and decoration of the apse was stunning.  The entertainments started with Sunbury's Air Training Core band playing a couple of tunes inside the church as in was raining.  Then with the rain clearing up we headed out to the churchyard and gave a good showing with Father Paul joining in the final Bonny Green Garters.  A ploughman's lunch and a pint of Purple Reign (of course!) in the Magpie then on to Monksbridge House.  The two stands were separated by tea and marvellous cake, and a chance to explore the gardens.  I congratulate the team on an interesting Postman's Knock, we really must learn that dance, and a faultless Lass of Richmond Hill.  Following a good suggesting from Kathy we finished with a salute to Her Majesty by dancing The Princes Royal and Ring O'Bells.  The party minded headed off for a beer so there may be an addition to the report.  What did happen next?
After a swift half by the river in the Magpie garden, we got to our cars just before a massive downpour. All in all we were lucky with the rain - an excellent day.  Sue

TwickFest "Green Day" & St Mary' Fete, Saturday 18th June
[awaiting report]

Midsummer Morris, Thursday 23rd June
Another tricky night in respect of the English weather. We had assembled a large number of guests for our Traditional Twickenham Midsummer festival and furious storms arrived the night before across the South East and were threatened to disrupt our evening.  On a “Just in Time” basis the rain stopped at 7.55pm and dancing, outside White Swan, began at 8 pm (Morris Time ie: BST ish +/-10 mins).  Datchet brought a full complement as did Ewell St Mary and we had Brighton , Greensleeves and Yateley who sent along a few peacekeepers to assist in crowd control.  The weather helped keep the audience below Glastonbury levels but a group of worthy river walkers from the USA made a pleasant contingent.  Datchet Border showed us some brisk Border class and Ewell delivered their own work with precision. Ted of Ewell designs these dances and while is true he has had a few years to practice it’s still remarkable the variety he has achieved.  We trailed off to the Barmy Arms for a second stand and a mixed group of Brighton, Greensleeves, KM and Yateley did amazing work as a scratch side. Very fine dancers all but it’s still pretty hard for an “a la carte side”, unused to each other, to pull it off.  Must mentioned the ever improving Kingston who performed so well on a tiring evening.  A sing-song and some wild tune sets were led by Alan Mead and Ted of Ewell and our own Sue from KM and ended the evening on a high.

Greensleeves 90th Year tour, Wimbledon, Friday 24th June
90 years dancing, from 1926 to 2016, is worth celebrating, and I was chuffed that Greensleeves invited Spring Grove to dance with them this year in Wimbledon. We had a great turn out of dancers and musicians, the massed Vandals worked well for the crowd outside the Alexandra and Steve's International Postman's Knock went down a storm, with the biggest applause of that stand for Maid of the Mill.  Wimbledon Village is so different to the busy town, the common had deckchairs laid out and the quiet calm was charming. Here, for the first time Spring Grove danced the Manx sword dance, and to great acclaim we performed the new Bidford dance, The Lass of Richmond Hill including the leapfrogs; as to what happened when Id jumped John I will never know, but the crowd loved it.

Poland tour of the Tricity Baltic Coast 1-4th July
Kingston Morris boasts a Polish dancer, Ania, who adds a great deal to the fun we have together. Her friends Aris and Annetta were in the UK on St George’s Day last year, saw us dancing and were amazed and impressed enough to suggest a tour to the seaside holiday town of Sopot, where they run a restaurant. Ania prepared the ground and organised our accommodation, and Aris and Annetta sorted out the dance spots and permits we needed – huge thanks to all three.
An advance party travelled from Luton to Gdansk, arriving mid afternoon on 30 June. The main group followed on 1 July and all met together at our charming Pensionat Irena.
So began one of the most fascinating tours we have ever embarked upon. We took in total a dancing/music troupe of 17 together with three very vital irregulars as supporters.
Sopot is on the Baltic coast, some 10 miles from Gdansk on the Gdynia road. It is the Gdansk /Gdynia play resort but in truth the whole of Poland and much of central Europe has already spotted this gem, of elegant cafes, soft sand, magnificent food and elegant hotels. Gdansk was one of the great “Hansa” Towns dotted along the Baltic coast line from the late 16th Century, a vital trade route connecting east and west, and clearly a very prosperous city. The need for their own R&R area would have been obvious even if spas had not been discovered locally, and they couldn’t have chosen a prettier spot than Sopot.
We settled into the area on a balmy first night and drifted among the tourists taking on the local food and beer, ably guided by the advance party. How do Morris dancers find the best pubs so quickly ?
Up for communal breakfast the next day, kit on and out into the morning air. Ania was now joined by local friends Alicia and Aris, and other friends visiting for the day for our event. (We wondered if we would meet other locals in alphabetical order as the days progressed – a quaint local custom?)
Our first stand at 10am was the amphitheatre in Skwer Kuracyjny, outside the grand Sheraton Hotel near the magnificent Sopot Pier and the Baltic Sea. Our own group was a good size anyway and as the musicians started up with some heraldic “come hither” tunes like Rogues’ March, Jamie Allen and Salmon Tails, people came to see what the extraordinary Brits were getting up to. Soon the benches in front were filling with families. Highland Mary for nine was much commented on as the stage was large and dancers together with up to five musicians really filled the space. The white kit of the team was greatly enhanced by the black backdrop curtain in the amphitheatre. The applause was polite at first but as we unfurled some of our centrepiece dances including the much admired (by us) Manx sword dance, The White Boys, and our raucous Maid of the Mill, the crowd loosened up and the noise grew.
We broke for lunch around 12 and headed for Aris and Annetta’s restaurant, Sopocki Kebab. The restaurant, set in its own square off the main street in town called Monti Cassino, had a large open area bathed in hot summer sunshine. We arrived and settled into beer and kebabs (thanks again to Aris for some very welcome free beer and water) and prepared our second set. The heat, the food and the dodgy dancing surface led to a much less energetic show (nothing to do with the beer of course), and we decided to adjourn and reconvene in the early evening when, it was hoped, crowds would come into town from the beach. Some of us had a lovely refreshing swim in the sea at this point.
We’d been warned the weather could be very changeable (we are Brits, we know all about that, we thought) but just as we gathered to dance again the storm came with extraordinary speed: a whirling wind that seemed to blow a tide of people uphill from the beach. We managed a couple of dances before thunder, lightning and a biblical deluge sent us scurrying for shelter (and more beer).
On the next day (Sunday 3 July), we again assembled at the Ampitheatre and by now, word had got round town. A bigger crowd moved in to hear our call to arms with full band blasting out Captain Lanoe but adding the more subtle Michael Turner and Tombigbee waltzes to get the morning under way. Dancing was more relaxed and expressive than on the first day and we had one of own “coming out” as Andy played Bonnets so Blue for John’s jig, earning Andy his well deserved rosettes. Surely the most spectacular playing in any of our musicians have had.
We also played and sang a well-known Polish song – ‘Szła dzieweczka’ – and the audience joined in with enthusiasm, singing and swaying in time. Dancing and playing went on for a good two hours and ended with enthusiastic audience participation in Bonny Green Garters to close our show.
The team returned for lunch and changed to mufti as Andy’s old friend Piotr took us all by train for an amazing tour of Gdansk. The starting point was the Gdansk Lenin Shipyards, the birth of “Solidarity” and the rise of its leader Lech Walesa which ultimately led to fall of the old Soviet totalitarian regime. We then toured the reconstructed centre of the magnificent old city rebuilt exactly to original plan after the devastating 1944 action as the Russian Army retook the city from the fleeing Wehrmacht. Tea, coffee and (yes you guessed) beer was taken at various points round this real jewel of a town before we left for Sopot and our final meal at Pensionat Irena with all our Polish friends in attendance.
Monday 4 July saw our group break up for home and we were left with the most wonderful memories of this amazing country and its exceptionally friendly people.
Will the Morris catch on in Poland ? We can only hope our small contribution will help. Either way we all had a wonderful visit.

Ewell St Mary's Morris Men Day of Dance - Saturday 9th July
[awaiting report]

Boaters, Kingston with Phoenix Clog - Monday 11th July
[awaiting report]

Long Ditton Village Fair - Sunday 17th July
[awaiting report]

Kingston Riverside with Ewell St Mary's Morris Men - Tuesday 19th July
Kingston riverside was packed with revellers enjoying the summer heat, and they were happy to watch, admire, and contribute to the lucky Morris potty. Ewell joined Spring Grove at the Ram at 8pm when it still seemed on the edge of being to hot to dance, but when surrounded by such an appreciative audience we danced like the old stagers we are. A brief stop at the Gazebo while the potty went around and then on to the Ram where the seating area was as full as I have seen it and at last the heat of the day was as last tempered. The predominantly young audience enthusiastically acclaimed each and every dance saving their greatest applause for the Lass of Richmond Hill, with individual dancers providing their own distinctive  interpretation. It was a great evening, and Ewell were excellent guests.

Corporate Event Hampton Court Palace - Saturday 23rd July
Kingston Morris were invited by Past Pleasures to provide period entertainment to those arriving for a corporate evening meal in the Henry VIII Dinning Hall at Hampton Court Palace. We assembled in the Base Court courtyard and using the trumpet fanfare as cue to go we danced a number of our repertoire dances as couch load after coach load of guests arrived and processed across the courtyard accompanied by characters in suitable period dress. The guests kept up a constant stream of arrivals and the timing of some arrivals and processions required the extension of some dances to keep up a continual display. This pressure to keep dancing was almost as demanding as the Tetley Tea advert event last year and the side certainly earned the fee for this performance. When stood down the majority of the side hastened across the road to the Swan for a well earned liquid refreshment.

The Angel Thames Ditton - Monday 25th July
Good attendance on a fine evening. The Angel is set beside the Portsmouth Rd and at first looked an unpromising venue so close to such a throughway and with limited dancing space. Jane our “Bagman” had chosen well, however and we had a fine night of dancing with a small but enthusiastic audience and many cars stopped to get a picture and have a chat.  We performed a great deal of our repertoire and went through a whole series of tunes from our ever lively band. Highland Mary for 9 caught the eye as did Sweet Jenny Jones. No swords tonight but the performance of Maid of the Mill was of a high standard and the singing was the best and loudest we have ever managed. Beer seemed of acceptable quality and we ended way past 10 pm.  Fine night and interesting venue.

Rose Theatre Memory Café - Friday 5th August
A good number turned out on a sunny Friday afternoon at the Rose Theatre Cafe to perform for the Memory Cafe coffee and chat meeting. The brief was to entertain those attending the meeting with some informal information about the Morris and to dance and get those willing to dance with us. Gerry took the lead in telling something of the history of the Morris and a bit about the Cotswold repertoire that we dance. Glenis worked out a varied programme of dances that Laurie introduced starting with a Vandals of Hammerwich. It was warm work in the theatre cafe area and Gerry obligingly kept a fairly sedate tempo throughout. At the end of our presentation Glenis invited our audience to join us in a version of Shepherds’ Hey. With a good deal of patient practicing of the hand clap chorus and with clear calling we successfully negotiated the dance with a good number of enthusiastic volunteers. We were stood down after generous thanks from the cafe meeting’s organisers and a delighted and satisfied audience.  As we gathered for the event, Ania was presented with a thank you gift for her fantastic efforts in organising the extremely successful trip to Sopot, Poland last month.

Richmond Tour - Monday 8th August
[awaiting report]

Woodies Free House, New Malden, Saturday 20th August
There was an excellent turn out for this popular event on our calendar, the Woodies beer festival. After a morning downfall of rain we enjoyed a mid day period of sun accompanied by a stiff wind which caused several flying hat episodes.  We started dancing, a little after one o'clock, with a lively Vandals and then entertained with a range of our Cotswold repertoire including a Fieldtown dance called Balance The Straw during which I learned just how challenging catching sticks thrown by tricky Ania can be.  We were sustained by food and drink supplied by the landlord before dancing a second set, finishing with an invite to all that would to join us in a dance, The Bonnie Green Garter.  Either there were more of us on the day or the organisers were less generous with the beer vouchers this year, the circumstances ensured a slightly more sober team at the end of the afternoon. There seemed to be considerably less staggering as we made our way home.

Hampton Care Home, Thursday 1st September
Eight dancers and a musician turned out to celebrate the 100th birthday of Margery Livesey at the Hampton Care home. Janet bravely undertook the role of solo musician and we danced in the front garden of this large and well equipped care home. Margery and her extended family (plus a guest, the local mayor) were our appreciative audience, gathered in the shade of a specimen tree on this hot late summer afternoon. Our set included both Lichfield dances as well as Bampton and Bidford favourites. We concluded with the participation of Margery and her family in the modified Shepherd's Hey followed by a hearty rendition of "Happy Birthday".  We were invited to join the family back in one of the home's lounges for champagne to toast the birthday girl, followed by a generous buffet including tea and cakes. There was a congratulatory letter from the Queen and an interesting family photograph album with important events captured from between the great wars to the recent past. All in all we enjoyed a very pleasant afternoon.

The Running Horse, Leatherhead with Pilgrim Morris Men - Wednesday 7th September
This was the first meeting for SGMM with Pilgrim Morris for some time and it turned out to be eventful. Being late in the year, it was getting dark before we started, but it was a warm and pleasant evening. Pilgrim provided some jigs with good footwork, as well as dances brought from Australia. We tried to impress with Bidford Lass o’ Richmond Hill, but this ended with two men on the floor when the leapfrogs did not go to plan. Who said Morris is not dangerous! After a short interlude to ensure everyone was OK, and taking appropriate medicine to aid their recovery, we continued including a fine Banks of the Dee and a Postman’s Knock during which one wit from Pilgrim asked if we could do Welsh – what a pity Janet was not there. The evening finished with some music from the combined musicians.

Swanage Folk Festival - 9-11th September
[penultimate event of the year]

Yateley Day of Dance - Saturday 17th September
We were tight on numbers this year, as were Thames Valley, so with Alan dancing for both and Helena playing for both we happily danced our way though the day.  As it turned out the musicians seemed to join a pool from which any could join in to help the dancers and I'm sure that at various times Janet, Helena and Andy played for all four sides on our tour.  Along with TVM we also had Ellington and a Yateley side, while the other tour had Mayflower and a young Moulton side except for some old bloke in a dress and a parasol we couldn't shake off.  Among the stands we visited Basing House, or rather some outbuildings that were left, that was hosting a Tudor day, us and some folks in period costume; nice barn.  Milestones, a recreation of Victorian streets, and of course SGM took a ride on the Ferris Wheel at Swallowfield Carnival, a fine tradition maintained.  A fish and chip supper back at the hall, and we all joined in a song provided by Robert "In Praise of Alcohol".  Ellington sung the Two Ronnies Bold Sir John while Yateley hit each other over the head with tea trays.  We each danced, and we were joined by Bernard, an unusually bearded dancer in SGM kit I didn't recall dancing in the set during the day, while Janet and Andy played, I wonder where Helena was.  Anyway, Bernard know the dances and was greatly admired.  A fine day at Yateley as ever.

Annual General Meeting at St John's Church, Spring Grove - Monday 28th September
To end the year and start the next.