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The first challenge was to make our way up from the South East to Warwick itself. The Friday was the busiest day of the year for traffic as the schools had just broken up for summer and everyone seemed to be trying to get away at once. Eventually everyone made it and we met up for a very pleasant meal in Warwick.
Saturday dawned bright and sunny and our first activity was holding a workshop at Warwick School which was the main festival site. We gathered in Guy Nelson Hall and a few keen souls turned up to have a go at learning one of dances, namely St. Helens. After a warm up, the dancers started the first figure. However, at this point, disaster struck and Eva immediately felt her calf muscle go. It became apparent very quickly that this was more than just a nasty attack of cramp and first aid was summoned. Poor Eva was in excruciating pain and could not walk. We contacted her husband Trevor who had accompanied her on the trip and he whisked her off to Accident and Emergency. As we feared, it proved to be a serious injury and the weekend for Eva had ended before it had even started. This was a great shame as it was her first taste of a Kettle Bridge weekend away. Let us hope that she will soon be fully recovered and back dancing back with us again.
In the meantime, while this drama was unfolding, the workshop was progressing well. Under expert guidance, the dancers picked up the steps very quickly and by the end of the session they had pretty well mastered the dance completely. At the end, everyone agreed that they had enjoyed the event - apart from Eva, of course!
The organisers had laid on an excellent free bus service which served all the dancing venues so, with the workshop over, we caught the bus to our first stand in Smith Street. Here we danced with Hereburgh Morris, a Cotswold side from the Warwickshire village of Harbury. The location proved to be very cramped but we managed to dance Prescot, Colne and Annie's.
We then walked up to Swan Street where we were joined by two legendary sides, namely Great Western Morris and Hammersmith Morris Men. With sides like these, you can always count on excellent performances and lots of good-natured banter and we were not disappointed on this occasion. This made it a memorable and thoroughly enjoyable stand. For the record, Kettle Bridge danced Prescot, KBC Processional, Milnrow and Ealuscerwen.
Following this stand, there was a short break which enabled us to grab some refreshment before it was time for the grand procession of sides through the town for which Geoff kindly agreed to carry the Kettle Bridge banner just in front of the dancers. Unfortunately, the procession suffered from a few delays en route apparently due to traffic control so there were some very tired dancers (and musicians) who finally reached the destination in St. Nicholas Park.
Having recovered both our belongings from the accompanying van and our breath, we made the short walk across the Avon bridge and into the main festival site at Warwick School. Here we joined a number of other teams to dance at the Plaza within the school grounds. The sides performing were:
To finish off the day, a number of us arranged to meet up back at the festival site to sample the delights that were on offer at the various food outlets. By now the rain was torrential so we huddled under cover to scoff our dinner and chat about what a great day we had had. Suitably fed and watered, we dispersed to get a good night's sleep with the exertions of another day's dancing in prospect.