I’ve had a few e-mails asking why so few posts and this is my excuse; I’ve been going out and getting a life after work. Or else. The past week has been spent on leave visiting some of the cultural highlights of this fair land. By order of my dear lady wife.
Yesterday was spent in the cultural capital of the UK, sunny (Hah!) Stratford upon Avon. Nice place; chock full of foreign tourists and high prices. Also for some obscure reason suffering from a plague of Morris Dancers. The sound of accordions (Why does it sound like they’re all trying to play the ‘Padstow 'Obby 'oss’ AKA the folk tune ‘Mrs Widgery’s Lodger’?), sparks flying off clogs, the clash of staves frightening small children with lots of whooping that would not sound out of place coming from an audience on the Jerry Springer Show. Two groups were performing wearing blackened faces with huge bunches of flowers and pheasant feathers adorning their hats. “Are they the Special Forces Morris? Look dear, they’re wearing camouflage.” I mused aloud before my wife elbowed me firmly in the ribs for my irreverence.
Within the confines of a place called Waterside in front of the Theatre this Saturday afternoon I counted no less than four groups of competing dancers waving sticks, hankies, legs and arms around. It was amazing how no one was struck and rendered insensible. Shouldn’t Stratford’s Police have been arresting them for carrying offensive weapons like those vicious handkerchiefs? No wonder the country’s going to the dogs. In every other country I have visited, they too have their colourful ethnic folk ways, but only England allows offensive weapons when dancing. I’m told this stems from a form of fertility ritual. Perhaps it is the young men showing off their athletic prowess, well formed calf muscles and ability to lightly stun an opponent with a purloined cricket stump at Whitsuntide? I’m told codpieces were once allowed, but were declared immodest in Victorian times. Hi ho, chaq’un a son gout (Each to their own appetite).
Visited Shakespeares birthplace and did one of those rather good bus tours in a red open topped double decker bus before sudden afternoon showers had us heading for the lower deck. We called it a day around four and headed home via Stratfords oddly placed ‘Park and Ride’ facility, laden with gifts to frighten stepkids into being good. Not that we’ve had any success so far. Off to the seaside tomorrow to paddle in the surf for a few days and ease my poor achin’ feet. TTFN.