Last night was the "official" Insight Adventure in which the infinitely patient dancers and musicians who comprise the Wreckers Border Morris side allowed a mildly clod-hopping Millbrooker to join their ranks and mess up a few of their dances.
Here's yours truly not long before, to use Richard the Wrecker's phrase, dancing in braille. The scene is West Street in Millbrook immediately in front of the dear old Devon and Cornwall.
The properly rehearsed dancers started things off which gave me a decent opportunity to both enjoy the dance and to get in a decent slurp of Otter Bitter, of which Russell and Mark keep a very decent pint.
Here they are indulging in a little light thwacking at each other with sticks to warm up.
And then it was my turn. The unlucky Leslie drew the short straw and got to partner a partially sighted novice in another bout of thwacking and skipping combined with a bit of hand holding.
Leslie did get some relief from guiding me around as I also got to thwack at Becs who was unfortunate enough to be dancing to my left (I have no idea whether I've spelt Becs' name right, I just have my fingers crossed that I have. Bex? Becks? Beks? Becz?....).
Then we did some more skipping around. By now the less practised amongst us (me) were feeling decidedly puffed out - but no mercy is shown to slightly over weight beginners and the dance went on...
...until at some secret signal, known only to the cognoscenti, the music ended and somehow we all ended up in an approximation of the right places, sticks held aloft and whooping with sheer joy.
You know what, I find it almost impossible to think of it without smiling. I doubt you'll ever meet a miserable Morris dancer; I can pretty well guarantee you'll not find one amongst this mob.
I got to dance another called "Much Wenlock". It must have seemed like a good idea at the time: teach the bloke who can't see properly how to do a dance that involves not only thwacking at each other with big sticks, but throwing them around as well. Ah well, in for a penny...
The lovely Mary took charge of me this time, calling instructions and putting up with my two-left-feet moves.
Much Wenlock as performed at the D and C has been immortalised on YouTube courtesy of YarMatt who took charge of camera duties. The video is embedded below.
As you'd expect, there were opportunities for all to join in the fun. In a dance called Tinner's Rabbit we have Dozybean dancing with Mary and me. YarMatt can be seen in another threesome just behind.
Also note the look on Dozy's face in the second shot; told you it's impossible to dance the Morris without smiling.
Right, that's quite enough wittering from me. the moment I know you've all been waiting for (possibly for decades). Here's the video of Much Wenlock complete with a few instances of stick dropping (but not by me...hehehehe).
I owe a huge thank you to Richard the Wrecker, Max and all of the side who showed lots of patience as well as displaying their own wealth of Morris related talents; thanks guys - I'll see you again soon if you'll have me along.
Anyone who'd like to see more of what The Wreckers Border Morris do, there are several YouTube videos not featuring a galumphing amateur - try one of these:
Wreckers Morris Dancer Accidentally Takes a Tumble.
Wreckers Morris Perform "Knocker" at Chippenham Folk Festival.