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But before the dancing even began, there was a difficult challenge to overcome. Our friends across the channel had decided to close the port of Calais so Operation Stack was in action which meant that the M20 was a lorry park and the A20 towards Ashford (and Chilham) was a huge traffic jam. This caused several of us to be late so the stand started a little after its scheduled 8pm start time but well within Morris-time tolerance.
We rotated the dancing as usual, with Oyster Men, Oyster Women and Kettle Bridge taking turns. We were accompanied not only by our respective bands but by a small group of very enthusiastic youngsters who copied the dances as best they could and called out encouraging comments to the dancers. It was good to see the next generation enjoying dancing as much as the mature folk do.
The skill and professionalism of our dancers was vividly illustrated when the buckle of Tricia's left clog broke during Marston (see the photograph above). This effectively rendered her lame so Margaret had to replace her in the set while the dance was still in progress. The substitution was done with no fuss and the dance was completed without further mishap. Well done, all!
Towards the end of the evening, Kettle Bridge included an audience-participation version of Churchtown and this was the cue for the youngsters to join in with a real dance after all their shadowing. They gave it their all and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.
The light was beginning to fade so Kettle Bridge finished off with a performance of Sidcot. Then we went into the White Horse pub where the landlord had provided a complimentary chilli-con-carne for us. This was very welcome — and very tasty — and a great way to finish off an enjoyable stand. A big "thank you" too to Oyster for their excellent company.