Hereburgh News and Gossip

Compiled by News Hound, Peter McDonald.

Click on a news headline below:

29 December 1999 Vicar in Sarah Kennedy incident
3 December 1999 Vicar in kissing incident
18 November 1999 Not much gossip
27 September 1999Au revoir, Lynne!
13 September 1999What a Hash we made
29 July 1999 What a busy July
29 July 1999 Ratley's on the map
23 June 1999 We all knew it was a Folly
20 June 1999 Two-wheeled Tour
1 June 1999 Hereburgh Lunatics?
1 May 1999 Why do we do it?
15 April 1999 Now we are twelve
29 March 1999 Ugly duckling spotted in Harbury
23 March 1999 Jingling Jenny Mark 2
11 March 1999 Hereburgh to blacken their faces?
8 February 1999 Millenium Bug hits the Morris team!
3 January 1999 Hangover Time

Vicar in Sarah Kennedy incident

I don't wish to hound David Brindley too much in this column... but it has come to my attention that Hereburgh's very own Canon has been seen hob-nobbing with Radio Two's Sarah Kennedy recently. I understand that it was something to do with the arrangements for the carols at Warwick Castle but I hear that they appeared to be getting on very well. I wonder if she'd like to join a Morris team?

[29 December 1999]

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Vicar in kissing incident

Responding to my call for more gossip (see previous new item), an observant Hereburgher has supplied me with this clipping from the local paper. It appears to implicate that nice David Brindley in some sort of kissing episode at his church in Warwick (but perhaps you should read the article for yourselves). I just knew we'd find something on him!

[3 December 1999]

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Not much gossip?

Some Hereburghers have remarked that there hasn't much news in this gossip column recently. Well, folks, you know what to do about that, don't you? Yes, that's right, send me some juicy bits and pieces and don't just rely on me to dredge it up.

I'm sure there's plenty of material around. I mean, what's the 'low-down' on our newest members, David and Gill? Are they really as pleasant as they seem?

And what about Lynne? If she has really moved to San Francisco, then how come she was at Morris practice last night?

And another thing - I thought we only had one Foreman and one Deputy. So, why do we now have a dozen or so contributing their advice at practices?

Send your answers to these questions and many more by e-mail, please.

[18 November 1999]

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Au revoir, Lynne!

Sadly, Lynne is leaving us to work in San Francisco for a year or so. She has been with Hereburgh almost since we started (1987) and has made a great contribution to the side as a talented musician and dancer.

She had the good sense to invite us to a 'Farewell' ceilidh last Friday evening. It was great fun - just the right blend of social dance and informal performances by Lynne's friends - and she remembered to bring her shoes. We presented her with an album of reminiscences and a magnificent 'accordion' tee-shirt (in a shoe-box).

Lynne is hoping to join a Morris team in San Francisco so we wish her well and await details of our Californian tour! Good luck, Lynne - we're going to miss you.

[27 September 1999]

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What a Hash we made

September 12th was the date of the 9th Harbury Hash and, as usual, Hereburgh Morris was well represented with no fewer than 10 runners and walkers. It seems that gone are the days when we would get a 'Down-Down' just for being Morris dancers but there's no telling what will happen next year.

This year's course took us around disused quarries (now very scenic) and introduced such novelties as the compulsory Hash View and a beer stop at, of all places, a pub.

Confused? Then search the Internet for 'Hash House Harriers' and find out what it's all about. Are there any other Morris teams who have a 'Hash Master' in their midst?

[13 September 1999]

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What a busy July!

8 performances in one month, plus a couple of practices - probably a record for us but I'm not going to check otherwise I'll get teased (again)!

We've been to Bourton-on-the-Water, to the Royal Show, out with Nancy Butterfly and Coventry Morris, to the Cock Horse at Rowington twice, to the pubs in Harbury twice, to the Rose and Crown in Ratley for the first time and, of course, appeared at our local folk festival, Warwick. Warwick Festival was blessed with exceptional weather this year and we thoroughly enjoyed our Morris tour in the company of Benskins and the Witchmen.

[29 July 1999]

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Last night's dance-out in Ratley (July 28th) was delightful. Because of its position, without a through-road, the village of Ratley (near Edgehill) is relatively unknown, except to locals, but the Hereburgh 'invaders' were made very welcome at the Rose and Crown.

We danced near the village green in the evening sun then moved inside the pub to scoff the food. We started playing a few tunes rather tentatively but the landlady insisted that we played more and more. In fact, she bribed us with a round of drinks! Even the rest of the customers were heard to applaud at times. We met John, a musician with the Adderbury teams, and he didn't need much persuasion to get his accordion, making a band of some nine musicians in total.

One thing led to another and we soon moved the furniture around to make room for a four-man jig and then a three-couple set for Three around Three. The landlord and landlady were very keen that we go back soon (how about tomorrow?) - "it's so much nicer than a rock band". It's sure to be on our list for next year, if not sooner.

[29 July 1999]

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We all knew it was a Folly

We always enjoy our visits to the Folly at Napton. It's usually busy despite its strangely isolated position by the canal and the cows seem to be very interested in Morris dancing. Come to think of it, they've seen us dance several times so they're probably quite knowledgeable now. I imagine that, unlike most human audiences, they have discovered that we actually do more than three dances - you know, there's the one with hankies, the one with sticks and the one where we use neither but clap instead.

On this occasion, June 23rd, we were joined by Chinewrde (the North-West team from Kenilworth) who, despite the shortage of vowels in their name, put on an excellent performance, up to the high standards we have come to expect from them. We all made the best use of the long summer evening and only stopped dancing when the sun went down and the sandwiches and chips arrived.

[23 June 1999]

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Two-wheeled Tour

It might have been a "Two-wheeled Tour" for some but it was still the "Cyclo-Booze" for me.

Our Two-wheeled Tour Leader chose an excellent cycling route through local villages, avoiding almost all traffic but without going off-road. The pubs in Fenny Compton and Farnborough made us welcome but the one in Northend was closed when we arrived - a communication problem we surmised, rather than a determined effort to repel a party of 20 Morris dancers and their families on bikes.

The weather was dull but dry which is more than you can say for the Hereburghers. We did a bit of dancing here and there, including the 'Windmill' on top of the Burton Dassett Hills (near the site of an old post-mill) and 'Musketeers' at our lunch stop, performed to a new tune for the first time. The tune was subsequently named 'Farnborough' to acknowledge the village where it had its debut.

Tea and cakes at Burton Dassett was a wonderful surprise - our thanks to all who were responsible for the idea and its execution. Take a look at the Photo Album to see what really happened.

But how do we top that next year?

[20 June 1999]

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Hereburgh Lunatics?

This report from Pete Johnson:

Ten members of the side spent the weekend of May 15/16 with Slubbing Billy at their "Luddite Lunacy" in Marsden, near Huddersfield.

Most of the team stayed at the New Inn which was great because:

The tours on Saturday by coach and rail were very relaxed and only disturbed by the Duke of Wellington's Regiment being given the freedom of Huddersfield on our dance spot! Their drums were even louder than a North West side!

Most of Hereburgh missed the ceilidh on Saturday evening, choosing instead to go to a music session in the room above the Riverhead Brewery Tap (recommended). Pete Bones displayed his leadership skills and the music, company and beer made for a wonderful evening.

Sunday was even more leisurely as we strolled round Holmfirth, visiting Compo's house and having coffee at Sid's Cafe. Beer, dancing, cream teas, souvenirs - and it was soon time to leave "God's Country". A great weekend!

[Editor's note: During this weekend, Pete Johnson revealed a new identity: the Green Man.]

[1 June 1999]

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Why do we do it?

Dancing at dawn on May 1st, that is. There have been some discussions on the Internet about why Morris teams do this sort of thing and also some smug observations by some who congratulate themselves on not having to get up so early.

In Hereburgh's case, soon after we formed our side in 1987, we became aware that many other sides felt that it was important to welcome in the summer in this fashion. We had the ideal venue - the nearby Chesterton Windmill, perched on a wonderful vantage point with bags of atmosphere - and we've maintained an unbroken tradition of May Day dancing at dawn since 1988. It's important to us now.

This year, the weather was kind to us although not kind enough to see the sun rise. Take a look at the Photo Album for a few pictures of what really happened.

[1 May 1999]

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Now we are twelve

Yes, we have just celebrated our 12th birthday with our usual style of Anniversary General Meeting in the atmospheric surroundings of Harbury School Hall.

The reports from the Squire, Foreman and Bagman went pretty much as expected. The Squire told us that we'd all done really well during the last year, the Foreman wasn't so complimentary and the Bagman told us that we had far too much money. Once again, the election of new officers passed by without any need for voting, as a result of careful diplomacy behind the scenes.

In all, the business meeting was all wrapped up in about 40 minutes including the consumption of birthday cake, wine, champagne and some wicked Raki (schnapps from Crete). We even had time for another dance before retiring to the Dog for further refreshments.

Take a look at the Photo Album for a few pictures of what really happened.

[15 April 1999]

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Ugly Duckling spotted in Harbury

Inspired by the tune of that famous Danny Kaye song, our Squire devised a new Harbury dance and taught it to us at our workshop on February 27th this year.

The tune turned out to be fairly easy (in G, of course) - are we the first Morris side to dance to it? The dance is an interesting blend of existing Harbury stepping and figures with some novel content like the changing set shape and the sticking (quacking). It's already looking pretty good at practices so it shouldn't be too long before we dare to perform it in public - just as soon as we can recruit a few more members with long necks and webbed feet.

[30 March 1999]

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Jingling Jenny Mark 2

Jingling Jenny Mark 2 is finally complete! Mark 1 was a bit disappointing, because it didn't jingle very much and the nails were inclined to drop out, but Mark 2 is far superior.

An explanation: "Jingling Jenny" is Margaret's "lager-phone". Mark 2 uses expensive black screws in place of the nails, a new selection of 180 bottle tops (included some unusual ones donated by friends from near and far) and comes complete with a "bow" (a notched stick). But the crowning glory is the Morris figure on the top, skilfully crafted out of nuts and bolts by Charlie of Alvechurch Morris.

[23 March 1999]

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Hereburgh to blacken their faces?

Well, it's just a headline to grab attention. The truth is that we've learnt a new Border dance. While we are obviously a Cotswold side, we have had a couple of Border dances in our repertoire for many years, just for fun and a bit of variety for our discerning audiences.

At our own workshop on February 27th this year, Des and Graham from Plum Jerkum kindly taught us "Much Wenlock", which we understand is a traditional dance. It was an instant hit with us all (could it have been anything to do with the bodily contact provided by the waist swings?). We probably won't blacken our faces but we look forward to an opportunity of dancing Much Wenlock with Plum Jerkum sometime.

Thanks, Plum!

[11 March 1999]

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Millennium Bug hits Morris team

We thought we'd checked everything. We gave the sticks the once over, we examined the hankies carefully and we even looked inside the bells. As far as we could see, everything looked OK for a smooth transition for Hereburgh into the next millennium. Of course, there has always been a question mark over whether the melodeons have actually been operating correctly during the current millennium, let alone the next, so we didn't worry too much about those. The same comments could also apply to the dancers (according to the Foreman) so we shall just have to see what happens in that department.

But then it happened. A full 11 months before the Big Day, the 'bug' emerged. In our smart new programme for 1999, we list our events for the current year and then finish with the inevitable (pronounced "traditional") Hangover Tour on New Year's Day of the following year - which, as we all know, is .... 1998?! Apparently, the printers spotted it but still went ahead and printed 1000 copies! We've decided that the remedy is just to remove the year and leave the reader to deduce which one it must be. So, with a lorry load of correcting fluid, we'll soon conceal this particular bug.

But, if you happen to acquire a copy of the Hereburgh Morris 1999 programme which has slipped past the Quality Controller and still shows the wrong year, then hang on to it. It could be worth a fortune!

[8 February 1999]

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Hangover Time

Our Hangover Tour on New Year's Day, starting at noon, is now a regular event in our annual programme. We've had some indifferent weather over the years but 1999 started with sunshine and moderate temperatures in Harbury. We visited all five pubs in the village with enough dancers and musicians to field double sets when appropriate and we even managed to attract a small audience on occasions. The atmosphere was great which is more than can be said for the size of our collection for the Central American Disaster Fund. Still, the village was rather quiet.

Feeling cheerful and confident, we gave the newest Harbury dance, "Life in the old Dog", another airing, outside the pub after which it's named. The Upton on Severn Stick Dance was performed with two brooms borrowed from onlookers who had been trying to clear up after the previous night's revelry. We've promised to replace the one that broke.

[3 January 1999]

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