21 July 2009 - West Farleigh

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Juggler Meadow Morris Men, a Cotswold side from Amherst, Massachusetts in the USA were visiting Kent as the guests of Oyster Morris and we were thrilled to share a pub stand with them at the Good Intent, West Farleigh.

Kettle Bridge assembled at the pub in good time and we waited for our guests to arrive. Time went on and the sky became worryingly dark. By 8 p.m., only a few of Juggler Meadow had arrived, the others having seemingly got a little lost in the Kent countryside, but we decided to get the ball rolling with some dancing.

Unfortunately, this was the signal for a heavy downpour and there were some decidedly soggy dancers by the end of the first dance but they kept on smiling (or was it grimacing!). And also spare a thought for the poor musicians who had to protect their instruments from the elements and did so with a variety of ingenious waterproofing schemes. Talking of the band, it was especially good to see Alan again after an enforced absence.

Sheltering in the Good (Ra)Intent seemed like a good idea and provided an ideal opportunity to have a drink and to get to know our esteemed visitors. The rest of the Juggler Meadow party finally arrived and Kettle Bridge welcomed the chance to chat about America, and Massachusetts in particular, as our trip to the Marlboro Ale was still fresh in our memories.

The rain eventually relented but it was still very dark, but, undaunted, Juggler Meadow braved the elements and started dancing. Despite the conditions, they put on an excellent show and impressed everyone with the quality of their dancing and their energy. It was good to see some younger dancers, too. This reinforced what we had already realised from the Marlboro Ale, that morris (especially Cotswold) is thriving in the USA with a good future assured.

One of their more memorable dances involved a dancer sprinting off during the performance to plant a kiss on an audience member. On this occasion, Barbara was the beneficiary and it looked as though she enjoyed it!

The two sides alternated their dancing as the sun set over the Medway valley. Amongst other dances, Kettle Bridge featured St Helens, danced to a variation on the normal tune and KBC Processional. For the latter dance, we were pleased to welcome a couple of guest dancers from Chinewrde Morris, the side that taught us the dance originally.

Finally, it was time to call a halt and return to the bar for more quaffing and chatting. Many thanks again to Juggler Meadow for their excellent display and company.