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Next stop on the North Wood Day of Dance tour was the Kentish Horse in Mark Beech near Edenbridge. This is a delightful pub with a large garden, ideal for an invasion by a large group of thirsty morris dancers.
The only suitable dancing area was the patio at the rear of the pub. This had two main drawbacks - it was a little smaller than usual, thus restricting the range of dances, but more importantly it was impossible to get into or out of the bar while the dancing was in progress. But it takes more than that to get between a morris dancer and his beer, so with suitable ingenuity, no-one went thirsty.
Kettle Bridge performed two of their "smaller" dances to fit the available space - Cossington (just a single set for four dancers) and Colne (for six).
Soon it was time for lunch, so off we went to the Leicester Arms in the beautiful village of Penshurst. They had the unenviable task of providing a hot lunch for the whole troupe of dancers, musicians and hangers-on, but they succeeded admirably, even having enough for "seconds" (well, it was a shame for it to go to waste ...). With everyone suitably refreshed, there was an opportunity for any willing sides to give a performance but most took advantage of the break to enjoy a well-earned rest.
Then it was on to the Stanhope Arms in Brasted. By this time, the weather had taken a turn for the worse with a shower or two but the pub had a convenient covered area where we could all shelter between dances. Alternatively, there was the opportunity to hide inside the pub and watch the Cup Final. Meanwhile, Sandy's accordian had attracted the attention of one of the catering staff and he gave an excellent impromptu performance, much to the amusement of his colleagues.
In between the showers, each side managed a dance or two, with Kettle Bridge performing Aughton.
Soon we were on our travels again, this time to the Old Ship at Tatsfield. The dancing took place in the road outside the pub but the tour coach blocked the road to ensure that there was no inconvenient traffic. We rounded off our dancing day by performing Cossington and Annies. Suddenly out of nowhere, a local journalist appeared and he took pictures, interviewed the dancers and took notes. I have no idea if anything subsequently appeared in the newspaper.
By the time this stand finished, we were getting rather weary, so most of the Kettle Bridge dancers decided to make our way home. However, the other sides made their way to the final location at the Royal Standard in Croydon. Here there was an interesting encounter with an impatient motorist while Mutineers were dancing. Click to see the video or click here to see the newspaper article.
All in all, an excellent day's dancing. We met a number of new sides and made new friendships. A thoroughly enjoyable and well organised event. Well done to North Wood!