Icknield Way Ale 2015

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.
Massed dance at Icknield Ale 2015

Massed dance at Icknield Ale 2015

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.

The NOT Ale report 2014

Well, ladies and gentlespoons the ale went off without a hitch. There follows a write up nothing to do with the Ale (I haven’t got a round tuit. If anyone has a spare tuit, especially a round one please pass it on to me!)

Lassington Postcard

The Oak in the early 20th century

The Lassington Giant

LASSINGTON; It is one of Gloucester’s little neighbour by the Leadon, its farmyard church still keeping stones in its walls.
The base of the tower is Saxon, the rest of it Norman, and although the nave and chancel were made new in the 19th century both have still some of their ancient masonry. The arches of the porch and the chancel are Norman, decorated by the Normans with zigzag and by our English masons with ballflower of the 14th century. There is a fine oak pulpit of 1636, carved with roses and leaves, and an ancient coffin under a churchyard elm.
By the churchyard gate is a giant elm over 20 feet round, and near it a pathway runs across the fields up the hillside to a little wood where reigns another giant, the famous Lassington Oak. This venerable monarch, thought to be over 600 tears old, has a girth of 30 feet, but its arms have grown weary over the years and are supported by twenty props.
As we leave the hilltop wood a marvellous vista is revealed, with Gloucester in front of us and the spires of Cheltenham fading into the blue Cotswolds beyond.
Taken from The King’s England; Gloucestershire (April 1950)

Unfortunately the Oak is no longer standing. This year after the ale we took a mini pilgrimage out to Highnam woods to view what is left of the once mighty oak.

Lassington Lads at the Lassington Oak

Lassington Lads at the Lassington Oak

Anker Ale 2014


We set out rather later than planned Dimitris at the wheel, but made good time on the trip up to Nuneaton and sally  sat nav got us there without too many diversions. A very poor selection of folk music from Dimitris we still have some work to do on that boy, “Ace of spades” and “Smoke on the water” aren’t really suitable for Morris.

The Ale was in full swing when we arrived with dancing in progress, we lost no time at all and headed straight for the beer. But then we got stuck in with the dancing, Paul and Ed are now fans of Ascot and Ducklington traditions maybe Bill will come around to the idea? The attendance was good with men from various sides and the squire of the Ring was there. The food was good and there was plenty of it so dancing afterwards was a bit difficult but we managed.

The journey home was interesting I rather expect I had a little too much sloe gin and started gossiping like an old fish wife but it made the trip go quicker.

Cheers Anker for a great evening and we’ll see you next year, let’s hope that the Lassington Oak ale goes as well this weekend.