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We were anticipating a quiet, relaxed, run-of-the-mill stand at the Woolpack in Benover with Headcorn Morris. For most evening pub events, there are a handful of spectators and a mostly empty bar. Parking is not a problem and there is usually plenty of space for dancing. Not this time!
As we arrived at the pub, we realised that something was very different. The car park was full and the overflow parking very busy. A stroll into the bar and gardens revealed a large group of smartly dressed people. The bar was packed out and there was a marquee and a stage area. Further enquiries revealed that it was the pub landlord's wedding reception!
The biggest problem was the lack of a hard surface of appropriate size to dance on. The car park at the front of the pub was overflowing with cars and the stage area in the garden was far too small. As the Headcorn dancers started to arrive, there was much discussion about what to do. A transfer to a quieter pub with a good dancing surface was considered. However, the landlord played a trump card by pointing out that the beer was free as it was his pub and his wedding reception.
So in keeping with the age-old morris adage that "the show must go on (especially if there is free beer)", we put our minds to how we could put on a good show. One of the guests kindly offered to move their car, thus just about creating enough space in the car park to form a dancing area. The band squeezed in amongst the parked cars and we were ready to start.
By this time, though, it was starting to get dark so there was time for only a few dances. This also accounts for the rather poor quality of the photos that accompany this report. Headcorn men and women dance separately so we each did one-in-three dances. We performed Aughton, KBC Processional, Sidcot and Milnrow and coped very well with the rather narrow dancing area. Thankfully no cars or members of the audience (or band, for that matter) were damaged by wayward sticks being brandished. A fair number of the wedding guests came out to watch the dancing and some were even persuaded to take part in one of the Headcorn men's dances.
It eventually became obvious that dancing had to stop as it was pitch dark and the wedding reception band had started playing again. Today happened to be the first time that a day/night cricket test match had been played in England but there were no floodlights and pink balls to help the dancers and musicians! Despite the busy bar, there was room inside the pub for a small group to continue the entertainment with a session of singing and playing.
So after all the trials and tribulations, things turned out well in the end. Many thanks go to everyone for coping with the unusual conditions and to Headcorn for arranging an interesting evening. Finally, we must say "thank you" to the pub for providing great hospitality (did I mention the free beer??).