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Each year, we always manage to meet up with our good friends from Oyster Morris in the delightful village of Chilham. You get two-for-the-price-of-one with Oyster as they have both a men's and women's side which allows more of a break between dances.
As usual, we based ourselves at the White Horse pub which is located in the corner of the main village square. When we arrived, there was a bell-ringing practice in full swing at the church just behind the pub. Even the Kettle Bridge band can't compete with church bells pealing but the practice finished before the dancing got underway.
It was great to see Michael and Ailsa coming along to support us, as well as Mary B who thankfully is back in training again.
The dancing took the usual turn-and-turn-about format with Kettle Bridge doing KBC Processional, Aughton, Marston 8, Sidcot and Cossington. There were one or two improvisations during the performances but everyone coped really well and responded very professionally. A special "thank you" must go to the band who were fewer in number than usual but they accompanied the dancers brilliantly.
It is always a pleasure to dance with Oyster as they have the same aims as Kettle Bridge — put on a good show, dance really well and have fun. If I heard correctly, one of the dances that Oyster performed was to the tune called Mrs. Widgery's Lodger. The name rather intrigued me so I did some research. It transpires that this has its origin in the Discworld books of Terry Pratchett.
Reaper Man, the eleventh Discworld book starts ...
The Morris dance is common to all inhabited worlds in the multiverse. It is danced under blue skies to celebrate the quickening of the soil and under bare stars because it's springtime and with any luck the carbon dioxide will unfreeze again. The imperative is felt by deep-sea beings who have never seen the sun and urban humans whose only connection with the cycles of nature is that their Volvo once ran over a sheep.
It is danced innocently by raggedy-bearded young mathematicians to an inexpert accordion rendering of "Mrs. Widgery's Lodger" and ruthlessly by such as the Ninja Morris Men of New Ankh, who can do strange and terrible things with a simple handkerchief and a bell. And it is never danced properly.
Far be it from me to suggest which bits of this description could apply to Oyster or indeed Kettle Bridge, but I would never describe our dancers' beards as raggedy.
Anyway, a big "thank you" goes to Oyster for sharing another great evening. See you at Hop Hoodening!