Happy new year …
… and welcome to the first Buzzard of 2014.
In this edition:
- A look at the last year;
- Meet the morris, featuring Claire;
- A poem, from Nigel;
- And finally…
A look at the last year contents
2013 was a big year for Cry Havoc – the 20th anniversary of the founding of our side. We started the year dancing at the Hogacre wassail in January. February saw the recording of ‘An evening with Cry Havoc’, an album of Havoc members performing some of their favourite tunes and songs. In March, we enjoyed the Vale Islanders’ ale. April saw us dancing a spot at the Oxford folk festival, and a St. George’s day dance out at the Eight Bells, Eaton.
All of this was excellent practice for May Day, which began with dancing around Oxford from dawn, included a cracking session at the Rose & Crown (North Parade) and ended at the Punter on Osney Island. As usual, May Day kicked off the start of the dance season proper: Havoc danced out at least once a week from then on, until well into September, either with other sides at various pubs in and around Oxfordshire, or at festivals, fetes and parades. Unusual highlights included: our anniversary celebrations (more below); the White Horse Folk Festival, which had us dancing above the famous Uffington white horse; joining a side on tour from New Zealand for a day of dance and their ale; and a trip to Herefordshire and the Welsh borders for a weekend of dance with Foxwhelp.
September marked the beginning of practice season and the winding down of the dance programme. As the year drew to close, we enjoyed dancing at the West Berkshire brewery’s open day, with Ducklington’s ale on the evening of the same day. Havoc danced the interval spot at the OxFolk December ceilidh where, fitting with the Ceilidh’s theme, we were joined by guest fiddle-player, Señor Ed; we also enjoyed not only great renditions of traditional tunes by the Ship Band, but also their splendid treatment of a number of less traditional tunes – imagine folked-up Jackson 5 and Ennio Morricone. We held our Christmas dinner at the Prince of Wales (Shippon), and finished the year in the company of friends, family, and even colleagues, with dancing and music at the Punter on Boxing day.
The main event of the year for Havoc was our anniversary weekend of dance. We were joined by friends from many sides based near Oxfordshire (Eynsham, Icknield Way, Mason’s Apron, Mr. Hemmings, Oxford City & University, Towersey, and Vale Islanders), and some from further afield (Foxwhelp, from Preston on Wye, and Kern Morris of Durham), and were particularly delighted to see the return of Frances (now living in Devon), and our antipodean friends Jenny and Barney. Our base for the weekend was in Shippon, and we were very well looked after by Phil and Karen at the Prince of Wales. We began the weekend with Friday night tunes and songs in the pub, accompanied by some excellent beers – to our great delight, Phil had arranged a beer festival to coincide with our weekend! Saturday saw us dancing outside the Ashmolean museum, Oxford’s Broad St., and two excellent pubs, namely The Bear and The Royal Blenheim. Our final dances were at Oxford Castle, followed by the presentation of a commemorative cake and some rather fine anniversary badges to mark the event. The evening saw us back at the Prince of Wales for a barbecue, followed by more music (and beer) well into the night. Sunday opened with us dancing for the local church, followed by a final dance set at the Prince of Wales, and rounded up with a lazy lunch. Thank you to everyone who played a part in arranging the weekend, everyone who attended to make it such a great weekend, and especially to Phil and Karen: not only did they give us a great welcome at the Prince of Wales, but Phil donated all of the proceeds from the barbecue to our 2013 charity!
A poem from Nigel contents
It was on a rainy Wednesday
We’d been out for a country drive
Imagine my surprise when
I was no longer feeling alive
Large gates stood there before me
I went up and rang the bell
Was this the heavenly abode
Or had I come to hell
The big door then swung open
And there an angel stood
Come inside he said to me
And close the door if you would
Have I died and gone to hell
I asked him full of fear
Oh no my dear, tis the other place
We’re very friendly here
Before you can come inside
I have a simple task
You must answer me a spelling test
That’s all I have to ask
I felt a little worried
What would I have to spell
If I got the answer wrong
Would I go off to hell
Can you spell the word love
He asked me with a smile
I gave the answer quickly
To think I’d worried all that while
Come inside – be welcome
You’ll find its very nice
But we don’t call it heaven
It’s our very own paradise
Now that you’ve arrived
There’s something you can do
Just guard the gate a moment
I’m going to the loo
I didn’t expect a visitor
But soon I heard a knock
I took the key he’d given
And turned it in the lock
When the door was open
I saw my husband there
We must have died together
What an unlucky pair
We were driving up the road he said
In really nasty weather
The car went off the road
And we’d be in paradise together
Oh not so fast I said to him
I have an important task
Before I can let you in
A question I must ask
It’s a spelling test they set you
Before you can come in
The angel told me what to do
And I’m just standing in
To let you into heaven
And not that fiery place
You have to spell a word
And prove you’re full of grace
The word is chosen by an angel
He got it from above
Can you spell for me my dearest
That simple word – Czechoslovakia
Meet the morriscontents
I used to be a librarian but I couldn’t stand the excitement.
Special morris skills:
I’m the one whose shirt always comes untucked in the first dance.
How long have you been with Cry Havoc?
About 7 years.
How did you come to join CH?
I decided I wanted to try Cotswold Morris, Cry Havoc looked like they enjoyed themselves, they seemed friendly and I liked the kit.
Any previous convictions?
I confess to being addicted to morris! I joined Rogue Morris (a women’s border side) in 1990 soon after moving to Oxford and when that folded I developed serious withdrawal symptoms.
Recording old buildings: I’m very good at holding a tape measure and have long arms, so am expert at measuring ceiling joists. I don’t like ladders though.
Has morris changed your life?
If it has I haven’t noticed.
What’s so great about morris dancing then?
It’s fun to do, very sociable and it’s a great team activity without being competitive.
Most embarrassing morris moment?
Several minor wardrobe malfunctions including losing my belt during a dance at the Oxford Folk Festival.
Greatest morris high?
Performing at festivals, the bigger the better.
Young Collins – it’s something to do with the hook legs.
Least favourite ditto?
Monk’s march – I can’t see the point of it.
Sticks or hankies?
Sticks – preferably long ones.
Long, flowing frock or white trousers?
Definitely trousers, and nothing frilly.
Favourite morris pub?
I don’t think I’m qualified to answer this because I mostly run on tea rather than beer!
Do you consider yourself to be a ‘folky’?
Yes – it all started when I was a teenager, so I was a folky long before I discovered morris, although I kept it well hidden for a number of years.
Which celebrity would you like to see as a member of CH?
It has to be someone with a sense of humour – how about Miranda Hart?
Advice for a new morris person?
Remember you’re doing it for fun, so enjoy it and don’t worry about making mistakes – you’ll just get better at covering them up.
Tell us something about yourself that we don’t know.
I used to play the oboe (badly).
Sum up Cry Havoc in three words.
Purple, tunes, inclusive.
Some (fairly) recent headlinescontents
- Norwegian hunter misses moose, hits man on toilet
- Deathbed confession solves phantom gnome mystery
- Canada vows to protect Santa Claus from Russians
- Man tries to swap alligator for beer
- Giant yellow duck explodes in Taiwan … again
And finally …contents
One for Ed: