2004-05-12 : What’s the collective noun for Morris Dancers ? A gaggle ?
Oh boy, I've gone and gotten behind on my logging again. Now, one thing I forgot to mention was my constant amusement at the quaint place names they have around here. For example, there's a tube station called “Tooting Bec”. Makes you feel special knowing there's a place with that name, doesn't it ? Their pubs also take on some giggleworthy names, as illustrated in this photo:
ANYWAY, Saturday's project was to join the Westminster Morris Men in their Annual “Day Of Dance”. It turns out this is quite a large affair, and when I caught up with them in Trafalgar Square, it turned out there were around 100 dancers present – certainly the largest gathering of dancers I'd ever seen !
They danced in Traf. Sq. for a while, then we split up into 3 'tours' and headed off in different directions, stopping to dance as the designated places, and each dance session was interspersed with… refreshments.
I got to meet a few of the lads from the various teams, and they were all keen to meet a Morris Man from Australia, or at least the rough approximation I embody. This probably won't mean anything to many of you, but the teams present were Aldbury, St Albans, Helmond (from Holland!), East Suffolk, Moulton, Thaxted, Etcetera, Ravensbourne, Exeter, Chester City (Clog Dancers) and of course Westminster.
After dancing about, having some pints, being moved on from Picadilly Circus for not having the proper permit (apparently London Councils are harder to get sense out of than Adelaide ones !), and generally having a groovy time, we headed back to the Barley Mow Pub for the Feast.
By “feast”, I was sort of picturing pig-on-a-spit type antics, but it was a mite more civilised than that, and an excellent meal was followed by some pretty amazing folk singing and recanting of verse. At that point I'd wished I'd got around to learning the timeless Australian classic, “The Day MacArthur Farted And Saved the Town from Drought” so that I might return the cultural favour, but alas I'd left the words at home.
On Sunday evening I transplanted myself from Richie's couch in Maida Vale across to Annie's couch in Islington, and we had a bit of a quiet night in watching British TV (just as bad as the rest of the world), and polishing off some seriously excellent pizza.
Monday I mainly stayed in doing some work, answering emails, and on the whole, wrestling with the wireless LAN they've got in this place. Monday night I hi-tailed it back over to Maida Vale to return Richie's sleeping bag, because his cousin Bronwyn had just arrived and needed to sleep in it. I then trekked/tubed BACK across London to Islington, but not without taking MY FIRST WRONG TUBE !!!
I wound up chatting to this English guy, who was guessing that by my rucksack I was clearly a traveller, and he was wondering what I was up to. He was bemoaning the fact that the pubs shut here at 11 (as if I hadn't noticed !), and that he just had to throw back a very nice single malt. As we approached Finchlehy Rd station, he enquired if I knew I was going the wrong way, and at that point I'd realised, so that was all lovely, and I managed to find my way BACK again, and get home by about 1am.
Yesterday I had to go meet up with a guy named Bob, whose sleeping bag I had agreed to purchase, and this involved a tube ride to South Wimbledon. Turns out it's about a 40 minute tube ride from Angel (my closest station), and thus Wimbledon counts as “being out in the sticks”. I figured that while I was out there I might as well have a bit of a look around. Nice place, but cos I'm a twerp, I forgot to take my camera, so you'll just have to take my word for it.
I stopped in a pub for some much needed refreshment and a quick re-orientation with my road map, and so I ordered a pint of stuff called “Waggledance” (again, gotta love those quaint names !). At the next table there were abunch of old blokes agonising over a crossword, and it was the funniest thing – ornery old blokes, accusing each other of being stupid and yet none of them having any idea what an 8 letter word for space rock was. I leaned over and suggested “asteroid”, and they said “Oooooh, bloody hell” in unison, and then we got chatting. One of them it seems toured Australia in the 1970's looking after various cricket grounds.
After leaving the pub, I wandered up to Wimbledon Common, because I fugred I wasn't really all that interested in tennis really. I walked around for about an hour up there, but I didn't see a single bloody Womble.
That's most of the important bits covered. I caught up with Nicki Buttery for dinner last night as well, which was pretty cool, cos I haven't seen her in a while, and I didn't even realise she was over here until about 2 weeks ago… Last night I also went over to Hammersmith (ANOTHER epic train ride) to meet up with the Hammersmith Morris Men and see what they're all about. They seem like a fun bunch, and they've invited me to come along to some stuff. So yeah, if nothing else, I've got plenty of Morris Dancing to keep me busy while I'm here !!