Local Institutions, and More Morris Dancing, I’m Afraid

Yateley Morris MenBemused lady

Sunday morning proved rather more amenable, weather-wise, and we weren’t expecting much boat traffic (no hire movements and the Thames still on red boards), so we risked venturing into town, only to find more morris dancers. Yateley were in Gloucester Green – our friend Ian from Tuesday Night is dancing, so there’s no-one watching Song & Dance. Fingers crossed. Not sure what the chap in Tatters and Port and Starboard socks was doing, but at least he’s got the socks on the right way: his companion looks suitably awe-struck.

Music in Blackwell's Norrington RoomMusic in Blackwell's Norrington Room

The festival was using the Philosophy section of Blackwell’s Norrington Room as a music venue, deep in the dark underground. Must be 30 years since I last ventured into the depths of Blackwells, and had forgotten what an astonishing place it is. Managed to find a copy of Michael Houghton’s biography of Sandy Denny, too, recently recommended by someone who knows my musical tastes only too well.

Two Ancient InstitutionsTwo Ancient InstitutionsChiltern Hundreds Morris

Bampton Traditional Morris were  capering outside The Sheldonian Theatre – last time we were here it was mobbed by new undergraduates all in sub-fusc on Matriculation Day. At least Bampton Morris looked as though they knew what the were doing, which is more than the students did. They were sharing the pitch with Chiltern Hundreds Clog Morris.

By now fearing for Song & Dance’s moorings, an early return found the pins well pulled about (someone had kindly put the front ones back in) and what appeared to be a space opened up a hundred yards downstream with proper cemented-in mooring rings. A hasty whip round untying the boat and moving down (before anyone else noticed) led to the discovery that the space was approximately 12 inches too short. The crew of Baguette – now there’s an odd name for a British narrowboat – were aboard and happy to re-position her forward the requisite foot, so that was fine. They’d been there for a week waiting for the Thames to become navigable, and said they’d enjoy a change of view…

Fran and Sue managed to find the cunningly moved boat, Sue was suitably despatched onto a train home, and we went for Steak Frites and a bottle, to end a pleasant weekend. All was well with the world… or so we thought.

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