Log Book for 2018

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


Open Evenings all the way through October, Mondays 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd and 30th

Oooooh new people, Fun![Ed.]

Thames Ditton Christmas Market, Sunday 3rd December

Perhaps something happened, we will never know.[Ed.]

Christmas Dinner, Merits, Richmond, Tuesday 12th December

We ate drunk and made merry.  Ania was presented with her prize for being voted Morris Person of the Year from the previous year, only a year late but better late than never.[Ed.]

Christmas Ale, The Spring Grove, Kingston, Monday 18th December

A bit like the Christmas Dinner, but with less food, more beer and dancing.[Ed.]

12th-ish Night, The Willoughby Arms, Kingston, Thursday 4th January

Ewell St Mary's invite, always a good bash.[Ed.]

Seven Saxons I, St John's Church, Spring Grove, Saturday 13th January

An eager crew got to grips with that devilish dance, The Seven Saxons, with its 4-way rotational symmetry.  Steve's verdict was "A fair reconstruction". [Ed.]

Seven Saxons II, St John's Church, Spring Grove, Saturday 3rd March

Another batch got to grips with The Seven Saxons. [Ed.]

Kempton Steam Museum, Sunday 18th March

Thanks to all who braved the chill wind to turn out at the Kempton Steam Museum. There was a better than expected turn out which allowed a wide ranging set list of dances  including a first outing of Bledington Young Collins.  We were all a bit rusty and my calling was not at its best but we did but on a show that was greeted enthusiastically by the small but perfectly formed audience. The acoustics in the hall are poor with the sound disappearing into the multi-story height of the building.  Robert

Seekers' Club, New Malden, Monday 9th April

We met at the Searchlight Centre on Kingston Road to entertain the Seekers Club and performed a number of our Cotswold dances to a most appreciative audience many of whom were quite obviously keen to join in. So, after a short refreshment break, Glenis led a short workshop with all those willing to learn a version of Shepherds Hey, Bampton). Our efforts were greatly applauded and a good time was had by all.  After this event we moved back to the church for a regular practice evening, joining those who were unable to get to the earlier event. By 10pm a fair number of the team were quite tired and the prospect of a pint in the Spring Grove was most welcomed.  Robert

Thames Valley Morris Men's Ale, Western Green, Saturday 14th April

We joined TVMM, Ewell St Mary's MM and Rampant Rooster M and Yateley MM in a most congenial evening of dance and music.  There was lots of opportunity to join in mass dances and to show off individual side dances, some newly introduced after winter practice.  We danced out Blue Eyed Stranger - Bledington for the first time in a most energetic and satisfyingly competent fashion. Our hosts provided good beer and excellent food which included a tasty trout starter, a choice of curries, scummy cheeses and a rather superior fruit cake. Alan Mead sang a poignant version of Over The Hills amongst other musical offerings. Special guest  Prince Philip (fresh from his recent hospital visit) introduced and played music for a side of Donald Trumps who danced an Adderburry stick dance with some aplomb.  All in all, everyone enjoyed a most pleasant informal gathering.  Robert

Saint George's Day, George & Dragon, Thames Ditton, Monday 23rd April

After a week of warm, sunny weather it was a rather chilly evening last Monday in Thames Ditton when we celebrated St. George’s day at the George and Dragon public house. This change in temperature may be one of the reasons that there we were the only cliental at the pub all evening.  Despite the lack of an audience we ran through a few of our current repertoire, dancing to keep warm. We included a number of dances that we have workshopped in our winter practices including Blue Eyed Stranger, Bledington and Princes Royal, Bidford. We were well into a second set of dances in rapidly cooling atmosphere when David (our treasurer) suggested that we withdraw to the interior of the George & Dragon and share in a ‘bag’ round of drinks. The side did not need much persuasion  and so with the musicians playing some tunes we enjoyed our well-earned beer.  Thanks to all dancers and musicians and to Ania for providing our entire audience.  Robert

Surbiton Brownies, Thursday 26th April

We met at the St Andrews and St Mark's school on Maple Road to play our part in the regular Brownies meeting. On arrival, we were greeted by the Brownies demonstrating their opening chant around the toadstool. We just had a valid side, Sue, Jane, Ian, Glenis, Alan and myself plus Gerry as musician. After demonstrating one or two dances we worked with the several sixes (Moles, Hedgehogs etc.) teaching them the Bampton dance Over The Hills. Gerry moved round the hall to each group during the workshop phase and when all groups were ready we successfully mass danced this lively corner dance.  Glenis worked with a number of the older (eight and nine year old) girls with our short sticks teaching them the chorus section of the Young Collins (Bidford) dance before we called everyone up for a final dance, Bonny Green Garters, (Bampton). The Brownies were extremely enthusiastic and very quick learners and Natale, AKA Brown Owl, was most appreciative of our efforts with them.  We were sent off with a special Brownie thank you.  Robert

May Day, Box Hill, Tuesday 1st May

Four sides, Spring Grove Morris, Kingston Morris, Rampant Rooster and Ewell St Mary's Morris were up on Box Hill at dawn this first of May. We all processed from the car park to the viewing point at 5.00 a.m. and then danced turn and turn about until 6.30 a.m.   There were reasonable numbers for this event to cover both SGM and KM (David, Gerry, Annia, Glenis, Jane, Sue, Ian, Steve, Id, Kate, Colin, Helena and myself). Annia's + 4 provided a considerable portion of the audience. Kingston danced Banbury Bill (Bampton), Recruiting Sergeant (Bidford) and Jenny Lind (Lichfield). Steve led us through the Seven Saxons which went remarkably well considering we have only had two workshops with this revival dance in this winter's practice. Spring Grove danced Banks of the Dee which marked the 40th appearance of the men's side on Box Hill at May 1st events. We also danced three mass dances, Lads a Bunchem (Adderbury), Vandals (Lichfield), and the Upton upon Seven stick dance.  It was one of the clearest mornings that we have had for this event in recent years but it was still pretty chilly. It felt really good to get down to the Wheatsheaf in Ewell for a full English breakfast and a bit of a singing session.  Robert

May Bank Holiday, The Spring Grove & The Albion, Kingston, Monday 7th May

It's on record as the hottest bank holiday ever and it was still uncomfortably warm when we met mid afternoon in the garden of the Spring Grove. With this in mind we took up a rather leisurely pace as we danced for a family audience in this our local venue. Glenis taught our clapping adaptation of Shepherd's Hey to the numerous children enjoying the sunshine and Phil enticed a number of the dads to join in a shortened version of the Adderbury stick dance, Lads a Bunchum. We enjoyed a very favourable response from our audience who saluted us as we prepared to move on to a second venue. The garden at the Albion was just as tight for dancing room as the Spring Grove and was generously populated by local folk enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. We danced a variety of Cotswold traditions including a Bidford skirmish dance, Recruiting Sergeant, with enthusiastic audience response. Encouraged by the success at the previous venue Phil sought out a number of young adults to join in a stick dance which went extremely well. The generous range of beers and ciders and a robust food menu in this friendly pub persuaded some of us to linger on to wine and dine after the side was stood down.  Robert

Richmond Fair, Saturday 12th May

We gathered at the Prince's Head on Richmond Green on Saturday morning to run through those dances that we would dance on the stage at midday. All seemed well so we moved onto the stage area.  We were to start the entertainment after the official opening of the fair and crowning of the May Queen ceremony.  Our varied programme demonstrated hanky dances; Over The Hills (Bampton) and Banks of the Dee (Fieldtown), a short stick dance, Recruiting Sergeant (Bidford), a long stick dance Blue Eyed Stranger (Bledington), and both short and long stick dance, Jenny Lind (Lichfield).  We then moved down onto the grass in front of the stage to invite any keen members of the audience to join in a Bonny Green Garters (Bampton).  This allowed the crew to reassemble the microphones and fold back monitors for the band that were to follow us.  Our efforts were enthusiastically received by the audience and gratefully acknowledged by the MC. We moved back to the Prince's Head for a beer and a few more dances before standing down just as the rain began to fall.  Robert

Kingston Riverside, Monday 21st May

It was pleasantly warm on Kingston's riverside yesterday evening and luckily the threatened storm passed us by in the far distance. We welcomed back John, returning after an injury that has kept him out of dancing with the side so far this season. Janet, Helena and Colin provided music for a programme of dance drawn up by David who organised this event, first at The Bishop and later in the square next to The Ram.  Robert

New Inn, Ham & Boaters, Monday 4th June

After some days of warm summer weather the forecast today read "cloudy", And so it was cool enough to keep the side dancing at the two North Kingston venues of this tour organised by Steve. Steve bought in a round of drinks for everyone (to mark his 70th birthday last week) and the side donned their bells and got started. The noise of our dancing enticed a small audience out from the New Inn pub to watch us run through a few of our Cotswold dances. We included a modified long stick dance in the programme to invite some enthusiastic members of the audience to join in the dance. After a Bonny Green Garters in which most of our audience joined in, we moved onto Boaters on the river Thames. In the fading light we did some dancing on the tow path including an eight man Jenny Lind, an improving Blue Eyed Stranger, Bledington and two sets up for the Upton upon Severn stick dance. Steve stood the side down and several members of the team enjoyed an after event drink in this attractive riverside venue. Thanks to Gerry, Sue and Caroline for the music and all dancers for their efforts this evening.  Robert

Twickenham Festival, Saturday 10th June

We were featured on the front cover of the guide to Twickenham Festival this year and we performed four spots during the morning and early afternoon on Sunday 10th June.  Enlivening the atmosphere outside the Fox and Eel Pie in Church Street before moving down to the river to dance at the White Swan and the Barmy Arms. We invited members of the public to join in some dances and despite allowing them to wield our sticks we all survived without serious injury. We were grateful for a lovely breeze when we danced by the river on what was a gloriously sunny day.  Robert

Evening of Dance, Wednesday 13th June

Spring Grove Morris Men played host to seven Morris sides at the riverside pubs, the White Swan and the Barmy Arms in Twickenham on Wednesday evening. Black Swan Morris performed vigorous Border Morris dances while Ewell St Mary's Morris Men, Greensleeves Morris Men. Kingston Morris, Thames Valley Morris Men, Yateley Morris Men, and of course Spring Grove Morris Men presented dances from the traditions of Cotswold villages or their own invented dances. There was a good turnout of dancers and several mass dances filled the areas in front of the pubs. Audiences were most appreciative. At the White Swan Black Swan invited many dancers to join in a modern Border dance, Tinner's Rabbits, and Greensleeves dance two figures from the North Skelton sword dance. At the Barmy Arms Black Swan taught Dilwyn and Kingston danced the Manx Sword Dance. It was a very pleasant evening spent with most convivial company rounded off with light refreshment provided by the Barmy Arms. A big vote of thanks to all the musicians who provided music for the dances and to Steve for organising this event. For a selection of photographs of the evening's entertainment go to the Kingston Morris Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/KingstonMorrisDancers/]  Robert

St Georges Street Party, Wednesday 30th June

We were royally treated as guests of honour at the mid-summer St George’s Street party in northern Kingston on Sunday. A welcome breeze took the edge off a hot summer afternoon as we danced our Cotswold repertoire alternating with country songs from local choir Pielarks.  In our final dance we had many eager volunteers who joined in a Bonny Green Garters. We were plied with cooling drinks throughout our performance time and invited to stay and enjoy the barbecue after this. The barbecue food was excellent and was followed by a cake fest as the entrants in a bakery contest were distributed among the attendants of this festive event. We were entertained by a retro disco using twin vinyl decks and finally St George himself came to the party to rescue a maiden threatened by an admittedly rather small dragon. St George rather sportingly offered his sword to the numerous children at the gathering allowing them slash the dragon into submission. In truth I felt rather sorry for the poor reptile as the mass of youngsters queued up to have a bash. As a reward for aiding in the destruction of the dragon the valiant Knight then allowed the children to take a ride on his sturdy looking horse.  Judging by the queue he was in for a long afternoon organising these rides weaving his way between youngsters on bikes and roller blades enjoying being the only traffic allowed in the street today. As the shadows lengthened we each expressed our thanks as we left to make our separate ways home. I am sure that all members of our side thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this event and were grateful for just how welcomed we were made to feel.  Robert

The Ram, Kingston, with Phoenix Clog, Monday 2nd July

Whoever is organising the weather just now seems to have missed the fact that Wimbledon fortnight has started. Clear blue skies and a steady breeze made for a very pleasant evening of dance by the river in Kingston on Monday. Phoenix Clog were our guests for the evening at the Ram. We danced turn and turnabout entertaining a good crowd of people enjoying the scene. Phoenix Clog have been growing in numbers recently and danced with grace and discipline, whilst we had sufficient numbers out to dance Lichfield eight person dances and to showcase the Manx sword dance, called for the first time by Helena. We danced on until the sun set over the river to the west before repairing to the pub for a “one for the road” drink. A most enjoyable event.  Robert

Dancing for Dave, Abinger Hatch, Monday 9th July

Spring Grove Morris Men and Kingston Morris were joined by: Rampant Rooster, Ewell St Mary's MM, Thames Valley MM, Black Swan Border and Wild Hunt, at the Abinger Hatch Dorking on Monday evening.  This event was set up last year as "Dancing for Dave" - dancing in memory of former Spring Grove Morris Man Dave Watmore who had died in July 2016. The event has been expanded and is proposed to be an annual  meeting dedicated to all our absent morris friends. The Abinger Hatch  is a lovely country pub in beautiful settings with good food and ale and plenty of space for Morris dancing. The evening developed In perfect summer conditions a good time was had by one and all.  It as good to see Jim Illingworth in Spring Grove kit and dancing with gusto, and Paul Livingstone in mufti while recovering from the after effects of flu.  Robert

Day of Dance with Ewell St Mary's Morris Men, Saturday 14th July

On a blazingly hot Saturday we were guests of Ewell St Mary’s Morris Men for a day of dance which included spots at the Ewell Village fair.  Six teams of Morris danced in the High Street outside The Famous Green Man from 10.00am. We then processed (led by the Mayor and Mayoress) down to the village fair where we danced as a side and in mass dances in the arena. Helena entered the gurning event determined to regain her title [and indeed is again "Ugliest Girl in the Village" ed.]. The sides were split into groups for further dancing at various venues until we met up again for lunch at The Wheatsheaf pub where we were treated to a delicious barbeque followed by a cream tea.  Unfortunately Steve had to pull out of this event through injury but we were pleased to see him at The Wheatsheaf at lunchtime.  After lunch we danced some more until, completely exhausted, we descended upon St Mary’s church hall where we enjoyed a splendid feast.  This was followed by much music and song as we entertained each other till late evening.  Thanks to Sue for much organising during this event and for arranging delightful harmony and rounds singing at the feast.  Thanks to Janet, Gerry and Caroline, for music, Sue, Helena and Colin for music and dance and well done John, Glenis, Leslie, Annia , Kathy (in Phoenix kit) and me for splendid effort in the dance at these temperatures.  It might seem that the dancers have the worst of it in terms of the amount of energy expended, but watching the musicians lugging their heavy instruments about as we walked from site to site, it sure evened itself out.  Robert

Royal Star & Garter Fete, Saturday 21st July

On Saturday afternoon, a just enough turnout of Kingston Morris brought a cheer to the residents and guests at the Surbiton Royal Star and Garter home on the occasion of their annual fete. It was pretty hot to dance in the early afternoon but we paced ourselves and entertained a sizeable crowd with a good variety of Cotswold dances. We engaged a number of enthusiastic volunteers (including the sound operator from Radio Jacky who were providing music for the event) who we taught the rudiments of an Adderbury stick dance. This went down very well and no injuries were reported as a consequence of allowing the public to wield our long sticks. Thanks to Caroline who bravely soloed the music for our dancing and to the seven dancers who delighted this audience with a bit of Morris magic.  Robert

The Bell, Walton-on-the-Hill, Tuesday 24th July

It was perfect summer weather, (warm but with a slight breeze) for dancing out with our friends Rampant Rooster at The Bell (AKA The Rat) in Walton on the Hill. There is never a large audience here at this rather secluded pub but we do entertain the people whose delightful cottages snuggle next to the pub. They sat out in their garden chairs and supplied encouraging applause as we danced turn and turnabout with our host side. We also danced a couple of mass dances, mixing the dancers from each side in Vandals of Hammerwich and Bonny Green Garters which are dances in both sides repertoire.  Robert

Swanage Folk Festival, 7-9th September

We joined 51 other Morris sides at the Swanage Folk Festival in early September. We enjoyed glorious late summer sunshine throughout the weekend and danced six sessions along the sea front. On the Saturday we also processed in a massive parade of all the various Morris and other folk dance groups. Various members engaged in additional activities that the festival organised including concerts, workshops and music sessions in local pubs. Thanks to excellent organisation by Janet we enjoyed social meals in the White Swan and Red Lion. All in all, a memorable event at the close of the 2017/18 season.  Robert

Annual General Meeting at St John's Church, Spring Grove - Monday 12th November

To end the old Morris year and start the new.  Well that's done, on with the 42st year! Hazzah!