Diary events of
Twelth Night ceilidh, January 2019
A good start
ti the New Year with our annual ceilidh at Coley, near Halifax. Barry Evans
once again led us through some interesting dances, accompanied ably by Mally,
Becky and Paul with some excellent tunes.
It's always a great sociable eveningwith people returning year after year, many of them old friends. Of course, noWest Yorkshire ceilidh would be complete without Webbo's parkin and sticky stuff, and so it was !
Thanks to all those who came and helped, danced, played or just chatted !
Rhubarb Festival, Wakefield, February 2019
We arrived in Wakefield
on a beautiful warm sunny day this year – probably about 10 degrees warmer
than last year. Wooden huts lined the pedestrian area selling all sorts of rhubarb
related food and drink. The crowds were out in force which made dancing a little
tricky at times.
had organised the dancing this year and the three spots, The Bull Ring, outside
Costa and outside Boots Opticians were all in the shadow of the beautiful Cathedral
and close together. We were relieved that the church bells were silent this
year! At each spot there was a different mix of teams which was great. We were
joined by Boggarts Breakfast, Buttercross Belles, Flagcrackers, Leeding Edge,
Leeds Morris, Pateley Longsword and of course Wakefield during the day. A massed
dance spot completed the afternoon in the centre, followed by another one at
The final get together was at the Polka Hop where delicious cakes, coffee and other drinks were served; some people danced and some played tunes to finish off a thoroughly enjoyable day
of Dance Manchester 30th March
Quite a few of Persephone came by train and tram - which was unusual. We met at the Bridgewater Hall along with what would have been hundreds of other morris people and then dispersed to the allocated dance spots scattered around central Manchester.
Rosie was in charge and did a good job - deciding which dances we were doing when she saw the size and condition of the dance area. Since there were only nine of us dancing there was only one dance out but it seemed to work out equably.
Rob took some photographs but didn’t manage to see the Altrincham tram while we were doing the dance!
Most of the dance spots had very little audience but even so we danced well. Mostly it was with teams we hadn’t danced with before - Saddleworth being the exception at the last spot of the day.
We went back to the Bridgewater Hall to see the 3 teams dance the finale and say good-by to anyone we knew (some of them seen for the first time that day!)
Then back home by car or tram and train.
Folk Festival, May 4th
A return to this friendly festival, now in its 5th year. Many of the sides we met were fiarly local, but it also attracts some from further away - this time newbies Black Gate from Newcastle and, in the other direction, Chiltern Hundreds from Watford.
The calendar said it was May, but it felt more like January, with one our musicians driving through a blizzard on his way over from Bridlington. However it kept dry, the sun made a weak attempt at appearing briefly, and the dancing was brisk.
We danced alongside several different sides including Chilton Hundreds, 400 Roses, White Rose, Black Gate, Hill Millies and the Britannia Coconut Dancers.
Thanks to the organisers for another good day out.
Holmfirth Festival of Folk, May 2019
Our annual visit to Holmfirth started well on a breezy and bright day, dancing first by the church just outside “Sid’s Café”, a bit of a tricky spot in clogs both in its small size and uneven surface. This was followed by an early lunch spot, but it’s always good to have plenty of time. We didn’t realise it was raining (and hailing!) so much until we came outside.
The second spot, started off dry and allowed us one dance each, but the rest of the time was spent keeping dry in the old bus shelter – thankfully a lot cleaner and fresher that when it was actually a bus shelter. The third spot was spent mainly inside the Old Bridge, but again we managed at least one dance each before setting off to gather for the procession.
As we waited in the Memorial Gardens the heavens opened again, and we sheltered under trees to try to keep dry. Luckily it stopped just as the procession set off and remained dry. An interesting one for us as our band was minute (1 drum!) which was almost impossible to hear amongst the din of all the others around us. However, we finally completed the day at the park with a good dry dance!
Swords Day of Dance in Liverpool
Many of us decided to travel to Liverpool by train rather than risk the difficulties of the M62 and parking in Liverpool. The dozen or so sides gathered at the Sugar House Steps (commonly known as John Lewis Steps!) for the 10.30 introductory dances before setting off to various spots.
We were impressed by the spacious areas around Liverpool, all good dancing spots (though the surface at one was a little bit challenging). It was also good to meet lots of old friends amongst the other sides, making for a really friendly day. And although rain had been forecast all week, the day turned out to be dry and very pleasant. Again, we had plenty of time for lunch, and there were plenty of place to go of course.
The day ended with another get together of all the sides, also handily close to the railway station for the return journey. There was minor panic when all the trains to Leeds were being cancelled, but in the end we were less than 30 minutes late.
A good day out – thanks to Southport Swords for organising it.
the North brewery tap, Hipperholme
We were invited to dance with Wakefield Morris one evening in June, and they asked if we would like to suggest a venue. We chose this little gem of a pub/micro brewery that we used last summer on one of our 40th birthday tours.
There was a rather wet start to the evening (which created some fine cloud formations!), forcing us to dance inside for a while on a good wooden floor
but with some fairly low ceiling. Eventually the clouds cleared and we were able to dance outside. Thanks for a good evening Wakefield Morris!
Buttercross Belles run a series of summer evening dance outs at different venues, and this year we were able to get to their Saltaire one in the beautiful Roberts Park, across the River Aire via footbridge, from the model village built in the 1850s by Titus Salt. (Huge mill, houses for the workers, school, hospital, church, park etc – but not one pub!). It’s now classed as a World Heritage Site.
Preparations were under way in the main part of the park for a Dragon Boat Festival over the weekend, but we were dancing up on the terrace next to the Bandstand under the watchful eye of Titus himself! There were 5 teams this time – Buttercross Belles, Wayzgoose, Rainbow Morris, Fiddle ‘n’ Feet and ourselves, dancing in the beautiful evening sunshine. Thanks to everyone for a lovely friendly evening and to Buttercross Belles for organising it.
Oh – we found a pub next to the river – but as they say – “Don’t tell Titus!”
We joined Lord Conyers Morris Men at Dodworth, near Barnsley for an evening out.
The weather tried
its best to thwart us with several showers during the evening, but we were able
to do a good number of dances and retreat inside the pub now and again. Thanks
for an enjoyable evening Lord Conyers!
Morris day of dance, Buxton.
Buxton isn’t the easiest place to get to but the journey was well worth while for this day of dance with 16 teams all told. Tea and coffee was provided at a central meeting place before setting off to the various locations. Although we only saw two of these we danced with most of the other teams there which was refreshing. Some were old friends, others we’d not met before which made for an enjoyable day.
The Market Place (the highest in England apparently) was quite breezy and an times very wet as thundery showers swept over in the morning, but we found a handy church where good tea, coffee and toasted teacakes were available. However, we manged to get a few dances in before lunch.
Later we moved
to The Slopes area, fortunately on a level surface at the bottom and at last
the sun came out and there were plenty of shoppers around to watch. The final
massed spot was here too.
All in all, a great day with promises of being invited again. Many thanks to Chapel-en-le-Frith Morris for their well organised day in a lovely setting.
day of dance
Another old favourite which unfortunately we haven’t managed to get to for a while. The number of teams was smaller than in some previous years and this time we knew most of them. The weather decided to do its worst with very heavy rain on the journey there and showers on and off all morning.
Our first spot, fairly hastily arranged, was in the cloisters of the wonderful Durham Cathedral which was great, being undercover and much appreciated by visitors to the church. After lunch we were down in the Market Place, these days with a good safe dancing surface, though perhaps not as scenic as the original cobbles. Here the rain kept away for a couple of hours, and we were all able to perform two dances at the massed spot there at the end of the afternoon.
Thanks to Frank
Lee for organising this day, along with Burt who had
control of the day’s proceedings.
Folk Week, August 2019
We had a great time at Whitby this year, dancing for 4 days (quite enough thank you!) and taking part in many different activities in the remaining 3 days.
The day before the festival the weather was horrendous with high winds and heavy rain, but on Saturday and for the rest of the week the sun shone beautifully. We danced at the Museum in Pannett Park, Dock End near the station, the Bandstand and the Whalebones.
Our partners in crime at various times were Hammersmith Morris (Smiffs),Tower Ravens, NYFTE, North British, Bampton Traditional Morris Men, Four Corner Sword, Camden Clog and Outside Capering Crew – all good sides in a variety of traditions.
Saturday was busy with dancing spots, the parade and a ceilidh spot and Sunday also busy with a workshop, dancing spots and the Dance Extravaganza. Monday saw the second workshop and outside spots and Tuesday just the outside spots. Crowds and cheers were in evidence all the time which always give you a lift even when you’re tired.
For the rest of the week (after a short recovery!) we were able to enjoy all the other delights of the festival – dance, song and instrumental workshops, concerts, talks, sessions and all sorts of other events, including the annual Persephone cocktail party of course! The final ceilidh on Friday night is always a lovely affair ending with presentations and the mass singing of “Wild Mountain Thyme” before the heather in the garland (made by volunteers earlier that day) is distributed to the crowd by many of the dancers who have performed during the week.
A huge thanks to
all the organisers and stewards – all volunteers of course – who
make the whole thing of over 600 events run smoothly. See you next year (but
not as a dancing team!).
Whitworth Rushcart, September 2019
The first day of September, and the weather felt distinctly autumnal, especially compared with Whitby FW just a few days ago. One of the best showers waited until the procession set off, but we soon dried out in the Whitworth Community Centre.
This is a lovely
community afternoon combining dance displays, various local stalls selling crafts
and refreshments and a few fairground activities – a real fun day.
We had to wait quite a long time for our outdoor arena spot as we were nearly at the end of the rota, but also because of a few heavy showers. In the end we got permission to dance in the main hall, so along with Oakenhoof, entertained the audience for about 30 minutes. Other groups that took part were the local Samba classes, the local brass band, a belly dancing group, Rivington Morris, Britannia Coconut dancers and the Whitworth dancers.