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For once, the weather was kind to us on 1st May when we had our traditional dance over Barming Bridge AKA Kettle Bridge. It was, however, quite a poignant occasion because it looks like this may be the final year that we process over the bridge on May Day.
The foreman's most important job on the day is, of course, to provide a celebratory cake and Val did us proud this year with a lovely one decorated with a picture of Kettle Bridge Clogs on the old wooden bridge. Somehow she had managed to cut the cake earlier that day without spoiling the picture — a tremendous feat of skill and patience.
Just before 7:15pm, the dancers and musicians made their way over to the south side of the bridge for the obligatory group photo by the webmaster. He then scurried back over the bridge and forced his way through the crowd of photographers who had assembled on the north side to capture the procession. In fact, some were so keen that they only just got out of the way of the dancers as Kettle Bridge made their way over the bridge.
As well as the dancers and band, it was great to see some former members at the back of the procession, keen to be involved in the final celebration. Kettle Bridge Clogs is often likened to a family and we were pleased to see so many long lost "cousins" in attendance.
On reaching the north side of the bridge, the dancers turned to face the audience and band and completed their processional Churchtown dance. This was closely followed by Presidcot.
So that the dancers could catch their breath and swap their sticks for garlands, Alan Austen sang a lovely traditional May Day tune about Jack in the Green. In case you don't know, Jack in the Green is someone who dresses up in a pyramid structure decorated with foliage and flowers. On May Day, they stand in the middle of a grassy patch while a number of strange old men roll black bowls at him. 😉
Suitably rested, the dancers then performed Marston. In the meantime, Clare very kindly took the cake round for the spectators, skilfully ensuring that the band did not scoff the lot! This was followed by Annie's and KBC Processional, interspersed with another song from Alan. As is tradition, the final dance was an all-in Churchtown which gave the spectators a chance to join in.
Then it was time to transfer up the hill to The Bull. As the light was fading, there was just time for Milnrow and Aughton, before Eva received her birthday gift and we all ventured into the pub for some well-earned refreshment.
If 2019 does turn out to be the last May Day procession over the Kettle Bridge, we certainly did it in style.
Kettle Bridge Clogs web site by Stephen Cordery is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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