Eynsham Folk Festival

One of the many things I like about living in Eynsham, is that people get off their backsides and organise things.

Last weekend was the 2nd Eynsham Folk Festival, organised by, amongst other people, our friend Larry Poole (Larry is such a happy chap, that ‘Happy as Larry’ really means something round here).

On Sunday, five morris sides, and some clog dancers descended on the village.

These chaps are Bampton Traditional Morris, one of the three Bampton morris sides: Bampton Morris, Traditional Bampton Moris and Bampton Traditional Morris.

Bampton is quite a small place, and morris dancing is taken seriously there, leading to family feuds about steps (allegedly).

These ladies are from Mason’s Apron (so named because they used to pactice at the Mason’s Arms in Headington Quarry). Clog dancing started in the mill towns in the 19th C, and is apparently the parent of tap dancing. It seems strange to find it in the Cotswolds until you realise that most morris sides exclude women (don’t want the crops to fail do we?).

Beer is common denominator though.

This is the fantastic Armaleggan, an unashamedly non-traditional Border morris side from Cumnor (look wimmen!)

“See little girl, you too can dance with the morris…and have a big stick, not a silly hanky”.

I was rather taken with these customised boots.

Eynsham Morris order their beer by watering can, not pint.

Happy May Day!

Our first beautiful sunny day in ages to greet the May. On my way to catch the bus home this afternoon, I happened upon these Border Morris sat behind the Playhouse, singing and playing purely for their own enjoyment (and very good they were too). 

Janey Morris…

I noticed this the other day in Oxford. I found myself giving out a very old maidish snort…I guess ‘muse’ is quite a good catch all term :-)….

Eynsham Beer Festival 2009 – The English at Play

It was August Bank Holiday Sunday – so it was the Eynsham Beer Festival. As you can see, Sue and Gav didn’t let the cold and windy weather daunt them. Why did we need the sun?

We had beer…

…cricket…

…(well, OK, not everyone enjoyed the Morris Dancing)…

…and CREAM TEAS!

Cotswold Mini Tour – Bibury

William Morris called Bibury ‘the prettiest village in England’. These cottages, Arlington Row, are now owned by the National Trust.

My Pa was intrigued by this little lane, and so we went for a little explore…

…and in passing saw this amazing roof. I guess that’s what happens when you build on a slope!

It brings you out above the village, with loads of footpaths to choose from.

We took a wander through the woods…

…past from ancient trees…

…and came out round the back of Arlington Row.

Now…this is what I CALL an outhouse!

How to describe Eynsham?

I’ve just finished writing a letter to the child we sponsor in Sri Lanka. Plan UK suggest that you include pictures of where you live. I have sent local post-cards, including one of Eynsham Morris – I hope the poor child isn’t scared out of his wits!

Eynsham Morris and Friends

On Saturday evening we had a treat – Eynsham Morris were dancing with two visiting troupes outside The Queen’s Head.

Morris Men come in all shapes and sizes. Here is a ‘Morris Minor’ – a result of the Eynsham Morris captive breeding programme.

One troupe were from Brighton – and I have to admit not my cup of tea. They just didn’t have the macho vigour that Eynsham have.

The other troupe, were the FANTASTIC Armaleggan from Cumnor. They came and danced at Carnival a couple of years ago and absolutely blew us away.

Their musicians move in sync, like a soul band.

I LOVED this lady in pink – her make up made her look like a member of KISS

…even this monkey is in on the act!

This chap is also a mean banjo player…

…and this accordion player was plain MAGNIFICENT in her plumage.

Here is The Boy trying to explain what’s going on to our French neighbour Steph (while the lovely Jo Grieve looks on).
Jo was taken with Robin’s ‘glad to be grey’ badge.

Steph couldn’t believe here eyes, when she saw the Morris’ ‘watering’ can.

As you can see from Mick’s posture, it’d been rather a long day.

“Hmmm – women dancing in Eynsham…it’s not right I tell you!?!”