4 September 2010 - Wye and Faversham

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Our friends at Oyster Morris invited us to accompany them on their Squire's Tour which took in Wye and Faversham.

As tradition dictates, most of Kettle Bridge assembled in a coffee shop in Wye before making our way to the Wye Farmers' Market where we met up with Oyster. Following the usual pattern of "round robin" dancing, we shared the stage (or road, in actual fact) with Oyster's men and ladies sides, thus providing a welcome breather between dances.

Bathed in sunshine, Kettle Bridge performed Aughton, Colne, Sidcot and Cossington, much to the delight of those visiting the market. As a finale, we danced Churchtown for which members of the audience were encouraged to join in. You may notice that there is no photographic record of this last dance. This is because the KBC photographer / webmaster / bag-watcher was dragged in to take part. It was an offer I couldn't refuse!

While we were at Wye, a representative of WyeWeb took some video footage, including interviews with Terry from Oyster and Sandy from Kettle Bridge. These give a fascinating insight into the background of the sides and morris dancing in general. Click here to see the interviews and some dancing.

With our stint in Wye finished, it was back to the car and, after the inevitable delay at the level crossing, we made our way to the Halfway House at Challock. The pub is well named as it is just about exactly equidistant from Wye and Faversham and so an ideal stopping off point for lunch. But we had to "sing for our supper" or, more accurately, dance for our lunch. There was just time for Blackrod before the food arrived.

You may have spotted that I have somewhat bizarrely included a picture of a toilet over on the right of this page. This is just to illustrate how desperate Oyster are getting for somewhere to dance. In case you can't read it, the sign says "Forthcoming Events. Saturday 4th September. Oyster Morris will be dancing here from 12pm". I think the pub may have misunderstood when Oyster said they would be happy to dance at their convenience.

Having been fed and watered, it was next stop Faversham for the Hop Festival. One of our Oyster friends gave us directions to an excellent car park within walking distance of the town centre. We made our way through the massive crowds to our first stand at Preston Street. There we met up with Gong Scourers, a border side. The roads were heaving with people, many of whom were wearing hop crowns, and the crowds made the dancing area very cramped. Nevertheless, Kettle Bridge gave excellent performances of Aughton, Colne and Blackrod, much appreciated by the audience.

Then it was off to the main stage area for a quick stand accompanied by Oyster and the Thameside Mummers from Essex. Due to shortness of time, we performed just one dance, namely Sidcot.

With the dancing over, it was time to find a coffee shop and with the unerring KBC instinct, one was soon located. The cherry pie in particular went down very well! A pleasant end to a wonderful day.