Saturday, 4 June 2011

Just another day in Chagford

It occurred to me that the kind of thing we, on the edge of Dartymoor, take merrily for granted (regular morris dancing stopping traffic in the town square; the rule that every type of community event must incorporate a hog roast; three or four generations (human and canine) at all parties, etc.), is actually rather odd in other, more worldly, parts.

So here is a glimpse into the latest gathering of morris dancers who kindly visited us to make our lives dafter and, therefore, better. It wasn't any kind of festival or eclipse or celebration that I was aware of - just an opportunity to prance about on a sunny evening in a traditional manner.

I'm more of a Grimspound Border Morris girl myself, but I can enjoy a bit of hanky-waving when the opportunity arises.

There were two sides: Raddon Hill Clog Morris in Dennis the Menace rags

 and Winkleigh Morris in Suffragette ribbons.

 There was the requisite surfeit of bells, in this case made from bottle caps:

 and men with burly forearms sporting Ascot-worthy floral headgear. Marvelous.

But it's not really about the bells, ribbons and rags. Witnessing the hilarity which follows every slip,

it's clear that this dance form is taken seriously by its participants in a very different way to all the others I know. But the music and, even more so, the beer, are sacrosanct.

For more of the same and lots of very different, have a look at Westcountry Folklore.


  1. That looks really fun. Whenever we have anything parade like it's always the young people and kids who get into it, middle aged folks just watch and tell us we look cute. I got a kick out of seeing all those grey haired folks in their costumes.

    Take Care,

  2. It is a lot of fun, Clare. There's some magic in the water around here (radon from the granite, perhaps?) which makes people generation-blind. Even when we have a full-on carnival, there's every generation represented and our local hill-running competition has categories up to 'over 70' which always have entrants. I do know how lucky I am and I just hope we manage to spread the idea of intergenerational frolicking :o).

  3. Wonderful! I always thought the hanky waving stuff was a bit funny, but I've recently discovered Border Morris (thanks to Terri and her wonderful blog!), and I actually would love to be involved in that, they're more...hmmm, 'wildwood' than 'floral bonnet', which appeals to me no end. I just don't know that it would be possible to entice any Aussie men to do it, they're such a conservative lot, getting them to dress up for anything is just about impossible. The bells on a stick made me chuckle...that is what is colloquially known here as a 'lagerphone' and I think Aussies reckon it's their own invention, he he!

  4. OK just managed to go backwards and lost my first comment.

    Part of my mis-spent youth was barn dancing, (not very rock 'n'roll? Precisely.), but only because I didn't have the courage to take up Morris Dancing.

    We have a Morris team in the village - Porthleven Morris Men - and the neighbouring town of Helston has the Blue Anchor Morris Men -,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=612d70e118dcfff0&biw=1024&bih=515

  5. Christina, whatever the origin of the lagerphone, the Aussies can be rightly proud of naming it so well. Very happy to add that to my vocabulary :o).
    Phil, sorry your first words got eaten by the cybermonster. Barn dancing is a lot of fun. Sometimes people try to persuade others it's cool. It is not. However cool is deeply unimportant, so who cares? I missed the Porthleven Morris Men - too late in the season, probably.

  6. I'm cool, and I like morris dancing...

  7. My love, you certainly like morris dancing...


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