Bunkfest 2019

Wallingford Bunkfest is often our last local dance-out of the season. It’s always a fun day out.

As usual we danced at several locations around the town and the festival ground. We started the day on the early shift in front of the main stage.

Main stage

In front of the main stage.

Sticking

Pete and Mick concentrate.

Musicians and main stage

Havoc musicians in front of the main stage.

Poor Nigel had had a recent close encounter with a surgeon, and was out of action, but turned out to lend support.

Nigel and stick

Is that stick to walk with, or to belabour bad dancers?

After which it was off to the Boathouse and the back to the Dance Stage on the Kinecroft before lunch.

In the festival Dance Stage.

.. and the lines are looking straight for once.

A fair morning’s work. After that we got a few hours break before finishing the day outside the Dolphin.

On top of the White Horse

The White Horse Folk Festival is a small festival based around Grove that usually happens somewhere in mid August. We’ve taking part in it in previous years. This year, though, there weren’t enough of us to join in for the full day.

But the weekend was also marking the 60th birthday of those stalwarts of the Vale of the White Horse, the Icknield Way Morris Men. We did, at least, manage to join them and some other guests near the top of Dragon Hill, just above the White Horse, to start the day with a dance or two in a great location.

The weather, alas, was not quite as kind as it could have been.

Icknield Way at 60.

We did one dance in rain and wind. But things cleared up a bit.

A view over the Vale.

Some of the the other sides.

Garston Gallopers.

Owlswick. Some of them.

Look carefully at the next picture.

A view to the east.

You can just make out the hyperbolic cooling towers from Didcot A Power Station. They were demolished the following morning. The view over southern Oxfordshire will never be quite the same.

A weekend festival and workshop

An new event for us this year. The good folk who organise Willowbrook Farm Festival got in touch, and booked us to not only perform but to give a dance workshop too.

None of us had ever been to this festival before. It’s a small family-oriented affair on a rather unusual farm just a little way outside Kidlington. We had to wait for the birds of prey demonstration to finish and people to get some lunch, but we had a fair selection of curious spectators for our first dance set.

Stick out at the Willowbrook Farm Festival

So we took full advantage and made them work too!

Shepherds Hey

Shepherds Hey – for all sizes and ages.

After a quick lunch ourselves, it was time for our workshop. After thinking we might get 1 or 2 people, we found outselves with at least 12, which required all Havocs to the pump. So, unfortunately, there was nobody spare to take pictures. We may get hold of some at some point, in which case I’ll add them here.

After the workshop, a second dance spot. This time we were a little overshadowed by a bloke with some snakes. So once we’d finished, time to see what the fuss was about.

Pete and a snake. Emma doesn’t look overly impressed.

It was a nice event. We’ll be hoping to be back there again.

Back at the Seacourt

Generally speaking, we tend of wind down a bit in August. People will insist on going on holiday and being generally unobtainable. So, Thursday was the last of our regular Thursday evening dance-outs, and we went back to our winter home, the Seacourt Bridge in Botley, for a special evening. Our very own Isobel was celebrating one of those birthdays with a nought in it.

So, definitely time for a dance.

Constant Billy – ready for the off.

Constant Billy – on the move.

And we welcomed a special guest musician.

Tilda shows us how to shake.

It was a warm evening. Squire permitted removal of waistcoats.

Hankies flying in the heat.

There was a spectacular cake.

The cake.

The birthday girl cuts the cake.

And, after dancing and cake, tunes and songs outside. Our summer is by no means over, but what a great way to finish the regular season.

Havoc on the cards

An enterprising Morris dancer called Owain (there’s a limerick in there somewhere) has produced a Morris card game, Top Trunkles.

We were sufficiently on the ball when the call for sides came out. And here we are!

Top Trunkles

An evening in Eynsham

Aided and abetted by Wolvercote Morris, we snuck out of Oxford on Thursday and into Eynsham. The Swan Hotel, to be precise.

Wolvercote getting warmed up.

We came equipped with a special guest star. Veronica, Squire of Sydney’s very own Black Joak Morris.

Our guest star with Emma and Kate.

We passed a relaxing evening of turn and turn about.

Hankies a-fly.

A Wolvercote turn.

The Swan has a nice stone wall in the back yard. Emma’s not one to let a good clogging surface pass her by, even if it presents challenges.

Emma shows off her clogging.

Emma on the wall.

We’re past midsummer, so the evenings don’t last quite as long as they did.

Musicians in the gloaming.

And not to be out done, Veronica thought she’d try the wall as well.

Veronica conquers the wall.

After that, inside for some music.

The evening session.

Pete sings!

Sandford Fete

Today we’ve been dancing at the village fete in Sandford. Another traditional fete – if this was Midsummer Murders, we’d be lucky to get out alive – and another fee to swell our charity fundraising for this year. The fete bought the crowds out.

Fete crowds.

We did two half hour displays on a grass area.

Hankies flying.

Constant Billy.

The thing about dancing on grass is that it’s rather hard work.

Sidesteps. It’s hard work on grass.

So we all needed the break at half time.

Musicians and Morris Dancers gravitate to the Beer Tent.

And Squire had to consult with the other Important Personages there present.

Cheers, Ma’am!

Back for the second half. Delighted that Oliver was in town, and back with us for the afternoon. These days he’s more likely to be dancing with Blackheath Morris, the side that appeared in the 2012 Olympics Closing Ceremony, no less. We are not worthy.

Oliver takes time out from Blackheath.

Just us, a country pub and a summer evening

Whether it’s the regular Tuesday evening session, or a dance out, we’re regular visitors to Tommy and the Eight Bells at Eaton. It’s a warm and dry summer evening, so we’re doing our usual thing.

Vandals of Hammerwich.

Back to Back!

Not having any other sides around means that Squire can put us through our paces on some dances to check that we’ve not forgotten them.

Dogs or War – Kill!

And we have a fete coming up on Saturday, so let’s practice some crowd-pleasers too.

Shaving the Donkey.

Jenny Lind.

Of course, when there’s only us dancing, it’s not only the dancers who have to work hard. Spare a thought for the hard-working engine room of the side too.

Our musicians.

At the Six Bells at Warborough with Old Speckled Hen

It’s a near-perfect summer evening, and we’re off to meet Old Speckled Hen for the second time this season. This time we are once again their guests at the Six Bells in Warborough. A pub familiar to Midsommer Murders fans. Let’s hope we get out alive.

A perfect summer evening.

Our hosts.

A nice evening for a dance…

Bluebells of Scotland.

Susie briefly deserts her melodeon for the bootstick.

… or just to relax and take it all in.

OSH and the Six Bells.

Havoc onlookers.

And two bonuses. Two talented youngsters with OSH connections gave us a jig each. One near the start of the evening…

An early jig.

… and another as the sun faded and my phone camera started to really struggle with the light.

A late jig.

A very Morrisy evening in North Leigh

We’ve been busy.

On Saturday we contributed to the entertainment at the Culham Fete, doing 2 half hour displays on a hot afternoon. And somehow the only picture we have of the entire evening is this one.

Junior traction engine at Culham Fete.

And then, out on a Monday evening, unusually, we find ourselves as guests of Masons Apron at the appropriately named Masons Arms in North Leigh. Also present, fellow guests Eynsham Morris.

Masons Apron at the Masons Arms.

We did our usual thing, with a fast moving Shave the Donkey.

Shave the Donkey in motion!

And some more sedate dances.

Hankies aloft.

Eynsham treated us to their usual energetic dancing.

Eynsham have selected their victim…

…and pounce!

The evening turned steadily into the spectacular, and to cap that Masons produced supplies of their famed cake!

Sunset.

After that, we moved inside for a jolly session with all parties. And Emma treated us to some clog.

Inside clogging.

Lovely.