As this was Lloyd’s first EVER ale we thought we would let him do the write up. So here it is and thanks Lloyd……
I had never been to an Ale before; my old morris side didn’t really go in for them. That meant that I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as we drove on smaller and smaller roads into Oxfordshire, to the small village with a very large hall where Icknield Way were hosting us (Lassington), plus Abingdon, some men from Leicestershire, and some observers from Bampton Traditional Morris.
The format was quite simple; sides did show dances, interspersed with mass dances for as many people who could fit onto the dance floor. There was a suggestions board for the mass dances, which started out with only the mythical “Squire’s Jig” but was soon filled with a variety of dances from everywhere from Oddington to Fieldtown. The mass dances all went well, although a little bit of discussion was needed before performing The Vandals of Hammerwich to make sure that everyone was going to do exactly the same thing at the same time!
I particularly enjoyed dancing Highland Mary (Oddington) as I haven’t had a chance to do much Oddington recently, and it’s a lovely tradition. The fact that I hadn’t danced that particular dance before made it slightly more exciting for everyone; similarly for Saturday Night (Bucknell), which made sense in hindsight but not as much (to me) at the time.
After a good deal of dancing, there was a long pause for a hearty meal laid on by Icknield Way; a chunky stew and baked potatoes, followed by chunky cheese, all washed down by a good beer. A rousing singing session followed, with classics such as “Pleasant and Delightful” and “When the Old Dun Cow Caught Fire” being enjoyed by all.
More dancing, both mass dances and show dances, followed, together with a spectacular dual jig danced by one of the Icknield Way men and one of the Leicestershire men, and after another singing session with port kindly provided by Icknield Way, we set up our beds and went to sleep.
In the morning, after a superb full English breakfast cooked by Icknield Way, we drove back through the Cotswolds, going past the village of Stanton Harcourt, back to our homes to recover from a long evening of energetic dancing.