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Bower Street Morris are a (relatively) new Cotswold side that is based, like us, in Maidstone. So, being good neighbours, we are keen to support and encourage them. We were delighted therefore to share a stand with them at The King's Arms in Offham.
We have been pretty lucky with the weather when we have been dancing out so far this year but the forecast did not bode well for our evening rendezvous with Bower Street. For once, the weatherman was right and we arrived at the pub in a heavy shower, dodging the thunder and lightning as we went.
As the Bash Bower Street Kids started arriving, it soon became clear that there were some familiar faces in the side. Not all were immediately recognisable as they had a plan as cunning as a fox who's just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University, namely not wearing make-up or dresses (or indeed baldricks).
By the appointed start time of 8 p.m. it was still raining so we contemplated dancing inside but there was neither the space nor surface to accommodate us. There was nothing to do but wait for the weather to improve — I suppose there are worse places to be stuck in than a pub drinking beer and eating Mrs. Miggins' pies.
Eventually the precipitation relented enough for us to venture out and rearrange the furniture outside the front of the pub to form a small dancing area. The picnic tables with their umbrellas were moved up to either end of the forecourt and these served as basic cover for the musicians to prevent the rain spoiling their instruments or, even worse, their ale.
Bower Street danced first and really showed what an enthusiastic, energetic, skilful and well-practiced side they are. As you may know, there are several styles of Cotswold and they specialise in the Blackaddington tradition (I think I've got that right). It was then Kettle Bridge's turn and we started with our old favourite Prescot.
Making full use of the drying conditions, we took turn and turn about. We danced Marston 8, Aughton (featuring the very appropriate windscreen-wiper chorus), KBC Processional and finally Saint Helens Gala. Bower Street included an impressive two-man jig in their set and a guest appearance from the Tango man.
As the light faded, we made our way back into the pub, thankful that we had managed to get any dancing in at all. It was then time for a convivial chat and a bevvy or two before we made our way home.
A big thank-you goes to Bower Street Morris for such an enjoyable evening of excellent dancing and great company. It is obvious that they are going to be a very successful side and we wish them all the best and hope to dance with them again in the not-too-distant future.
A big pat on the back is also due to all the musicians who managed to keep playing even in the soggy conditions. Well done!
Finally, before I settle down to have a cappuccino with some of those brown flaky bits sprinkled on top, I have composed a limerick in honour of Bower Street.