The small yet perfectly formed moorland town of Tavistock in the strange foreign region of Devon was the venue for both its own Dickensian evening and the Wreckers Morris' first dance out since the close of season back in September.
Needless to say the two events were connected as the evening's organisers had kindly invited the famed anarcho-morris warriors to perform on their streets as part of the bustling festive occasion.
For the Wreckers, it was a chance to try out some of the new moves learned in rehearsal - and the new dance "Worcester Monkey" - in public for the first time. We also saw the dancing debut of Waverley Wrecker and the guitar debut of Millbrook's own Slocombe (film club regular and red wine imbiber extraordinaire). Here he is outside Browns Hotel in Tavistock at our first dance spot.
You can note from Slocombe's garb that it was a chilly night. Playing the old six-string with fingers that refuse to obey the brain's instructions in the cold is a chastening exercise for those of us who like to think they can get away with playing in public. I think I managed to hit about one chord in four correctly. The little hip flask containing some rather decent Jura single malt that I cleverly keep in my pocket on such occasions helped a bit, mind (thank you, BathNick - it's from the bottle that you kindly donated a while back).
Never mind the odd bum note, though. The dancing was riotously good fun and the dancers performed really well, whooping and smacking each other with sticks with great gusto. Debutant Waverley Wrecker (blonde hair) can be seen here from the rear bashing sticks with Lois Wrecker in the dark streets of Tavvy.
The streets were absolutely thronged with people enjoying the atmosphere and spending their hard-earned at stalls and in the little independent shops so the Wreckers, along with fellow border morris practitioners Lodestone Morris, attracted some decent sized crowds, especially at the final dance spot on Duke Street. (Locals to Tavistock will realise that the shot below is not of Duke Street, but of West Street - we didn't get any photos in Duke Street).
Well, I must say it felt great to be out and about strutting our stuff again and there's another pre-Christmas outing on the 10th December at the Fortescue on Mutley Plain and then at Freedom Fields bandstand featuring not only us Wrecking folk but some poetry and Christmas carols as well.
A final word must go to Wrichard Wrecker who played melodeon at Tavistock despite grievous pain from his recent illness; he's a brave fellow and I for one appreciate the huge effort he made to be there and do his thing.