Saturday 2nd of December saw us heading to Neath for our third outing in 8 days. We met at 10:45am at Neath Castle for their Victorian Fare where we danced to entertain the queue entering the castle. It was so cold that Keith suggested we danced with our sleeves rolled down, contrary to age-old Sweyn’s Ey custom. We went further and danced in rag-jackets and gloves.
The mayor and town-crier arrived at the head of a procession and then escorted us to various spots in Neath (the junction of Green Street and New Street, outside the Market, by St. David’s Church and Angel square). We performed a couple of dances at each spot with the idea of encouraging the good folk of Neath to get up to the castle for free mince pies and more entertainment!
Several of our regular dancers were unavailable but we have a strong enough side these days that we are still able to put on an entertaining display. Sian and Kev provided the music; the dancers were Alex D, Alison H, Erin, Geoff, Keith, Ken and Nige. We didn’t have enough dancers for any 8-person dancers; Keith and Nige dusted off their calling skills. No sooner had we danced than it seemed time to move on, I lost track of which dances we performed but we stuck to Stewart’s set list and, most of the time, entered the dance-space as a set.
Once we had completed our obligations for the day a few of us visited the Castell-Nedd Arms as it was the nearest pub to our last dance spot and we were thirsty.
Yet again Erin turned up with a generous supply of hot-water bottles, these proved especially popular with the musicians.
Write Up by Nige, Photos by Erin
We were invited to perform at The Gower Heritage Centre Christmas Fare on Thursday 30th November 2023. Several of our usual dancers were unavailable but we still had enough to put on a decent show. Sian, Kev, Rog and Di provided the music, in very cold conditions. The dancers were Alex D, Alex H, Alison B, Di, Erin, Keith, Ken and Nige. New dancers Claire and Hannah also turned up to watch. We met at 7:30, by which time the market had thinned out. If we perform at this event in future we should be aim for 6pm at the latest.
We took the opportunity to give The Gower Christmas Sport mumming play its first outing of the season. We used our revised script as a very rough guide to our lines, we hope to have this perfected by the time we finish mumming on 21st December ready to forget again by next year.
It was freezing cold in the courtyard. Alex Heaney, as The Valiant Knight, suffered for his art - laying on a cold floor while Keith (The Doctor) and Ken (Narrator) kept to the script ! Alex D was resplendent with his green robe and skull-adorned staff, Di appeared as Beelzebub and Nige vanquished all as King George, with a choice of shields freshly painted by Alison H.
Once we’d treated the audience to our mumming skills we did several dances to warm ourselves up, this didn’t work – we were still bitterly cold. We were without our squire and foreman so Sweyn’s Ey anarchy kicked in - we performed British Grenadiers, Balance the Straw, Speed The Plough and Bonny Green Garters (no doubt Keith, Alex H or the musicians will remember any others that we danced). We have taken Stewart’s comments to heart and walked onto the dance area in a set and ready to start, we just need to remember to do this when he’s watching. By the end of the set the musicians’ hot-water bottles had lost their effectiveness and both Di and Nige were bleeding onto their hankies, Di from a stray stick and Nige from mumming, so we called it a day.
Thanks to the Heritage Centre for the warm mulled-cider and special thanks to Erin for providing many hot-water bottles.
Write up by Nige, Pics by Gower Heritage Centre.
We had a great dance out as part of the Victorian Christmas Day held in Morriston (where else!)
We entertained a constantly changing crowd in glorious sunshine, drawing interest from several young folk who wanted to know what we were about. After entertaining with our dancing for about 30 minutes, we visited the recently refurbished Fountain which was the first pub Paul visited in the area when he moved to Morriston in 1975! Morriston was also the first place that Geoff danced with the side!
After a swift half, some of us moved on to the Red Lion where we had a good bit of a social chit chat before ending a successful day, with it being quite remarkable that we were still dancing this late in the year, and that the weather allowed us to do so!
Pics by Andrea Jessup & Paul Tarrant.
Sweyn’s Ey Morris held an open evening last Thursday, and it was brilliant as we had three new people (Claire, Hannah & Zep) turn up. Here’s hoping they enjoy future practices and fully join us. All three have a bit of previous experience with other sides! Here’s a few pics taken of the practice.
Sweyn’s Ey Morris attended the excellent Joint Morris Organisations Day of Dance held last Saturday in Bath on a lovely sun drenched day. We all reached Bath despite M4 closures and set up ready to dance in George St; with Rag Morris from Bristol University, and Wild Moon Border Morris who were dancing out for the first time, they being a new side.
During our dance of British Grenadiers, Alex H lost a pair of glasses which Squire Ben managed to convert to bifocals by standing on them, despite Di’s best efforts to retrieve them!
Rag Morris gave an accomplished set of Cotswold dances and Wild Moon performed a selection of Welsh Border dances with a degree of expertise which belied the fact they have only been together for a few months. They also have a remarkable Owl animal mascot. Our set included Y Gaseg Eira Nantgarw which drew interest & praise from the audience & other dancers.
Sweyn’s Ey bade farewell to Rag & Wild Morris and joined with Treacle Eater Clog & Enigma Border Morris in Abbeygate Street. Some of us remember Treacle Eater Clog from years back as they used to attend the ISCA Morris Ales in the early 2000s. Our performance included a selection of dances from Adderbury, Bampton, Badby, Fieldtown and another airing of Y Gaseg Eira before taking our lunch break, with some going to Pulteney Bridge Weir, others going to the Crystal Palace Pub with the latter doing a tidy pint of London Pride Ale and also hosting a session that Mary Jo Searle (ex Sweyn’s Ey musician from 1973-1987) was playing in. Dave Lock, another ex Sweyn’s Ey dancer was enjoying a pint with Geoff, Paul and Andrea.
Stall Street was our next dance spot in company with Styx Morris of Stroud and Chippenham Morris Men, where we performed to a large, ever changing crowd before moving on to Lulu Café where we danced alongside Malmesbury Morris and Belle D’Vain North West Morris for our final spot, where we all gave good account of ourselves to passers by who stopped to watch (I do like the captive audience that a very busy bus stop provides!) and where we managed to get everyone to join in with us with Bonny Green Garters Bampton to close, what was an excellent, very well organised day of dance.
The Team celebrated with loved ones & friends the 'end' of our dance season by eating in Panshee's Indian restaurant in Swansea. We all had the usual fare, and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and consumed tons of poppadums and curry, which was all washed down with Cobra beer. Someone suggested a swift dance outside by the Grand Theatre afterwards but thankfully that did not happen!
This was our last Thursday evening dance out of the season, at the Bay View Hotel, Oystermouth Road - a new venue. With eight dancers and one dedicated musician, we danced adjacent to the hotel in St Helen''s Road, with a modest audience. After about eight dances, darkness and light rain put an end to our show, The hotel staff were welcoming, supplying us with food from the buffet.
Words by Keith, pictures by Zoe (who is about to marry Nigel's cousin and also knows Di from 20+ years ago, as it turns out!)
Another Thursday, another summer (ish) dance-out by Sweyn's Ey Morris, and actually our penultimate Thursday evening dance of the season (sob).
As the halcyon days of beautiful sunshine draw to a close, we choose our venues carefully and try to eek out that summery feeling as much as possible, before the weather breaks and it's all downhill to winter solstice.. So what better place to spend an evening than at the lovely Brunswick on Duke Street, on a steamy Indian Summer night in early September. Post-covid (if that is such a thing) we've noticed lots more venues arranging tables and chairs outside, even - as at the Brunswick - on the street. Very continental and brilliant for performing as it's easy for punters to step outside of a pub's cosy interior and relax in the fading light whilst at the same time being entertained by our raucous bell-jangling skills and jovial banter.
We were a little perturbed by one of the staff insisting on moving their car from the side street where the dance floor was designated (was she just being helpful, or was she worried about stray sticks scuffing her shiny paintwork - probably bit of both) but it gave us ample room to throw ourselves around and cause a bit of chaos without actually blocking the main thoroughfare.
We managed a typical range of dances from our repertoire of traditions, including British Grenadiers, Speed the Plough, Banks of the Dee, Lads-a-Buncham, Brighton Camp, Banks of the Lee, Vandals, Banbury Bill and finishing with a flourish, as usual, with Bonny Green Garters. Brighton Camp was performed twice, the second time with a number of 'volunteers' who were keen as mustard to get stuck in to this crazy, sticky, dancey thing. Well done to all who joined in, it was great to have you involved! Another fab moment was when we realised the ladies in one of the dances outnumbered the blokes, with four ladies and two chaps shaking their bells. Possibly the first time we have all been in a six-person set together. Girl power!!
After we lost the light, there was still time to relax over a nice cold beer and try to avoid the smell coming from the Biffa bins parked up close to where we were dancing.. All in all a lovely evening in a good location with great beer and friendly bar staff. Thanks for having us!
Dancers were Alison H, Alison B, Erin, Di, Nigel, Alex H, Alex D, Ben, Ken and... who have I missed?! Musicians were Siân and Roger.
Words by Di, photos by Erin and her family/friends.
Any thoughts about dancing out tonight were still up in the air at 6pm as it was still raining, was misty and hardly looked like the sort of evening for a dance out. Miraculously, when we arrived at the Welcome Inn, the rain had stopped and there was brightness in the sky. Someone claimed to see blue sky, and further investigation at the bar of the pub showed they served Fullers London Pride, Pedigree and the ever local Gower Gold which lit up everyone’s faces as much as any blue sky! The Pride was good!
Stewart adopted a brave approach of suggesting Sweet Jenny Jones as an opener, and in fairness, it was a good call as the dance looked good. We followed that with British Grenadiers/Skirmish and Step and Fetch Her, before going on to Vandals and Valentines.
Several people from the pub came out to watch us with one Australian lady being keen to take pics of us. A lady called Betty thoroughly enjoyed what we performed and claimed to have only seen Morris on the TV, so seeing it live and in the flesh was a really magical thing for her. Ahhhh xx
By 8pm, the light was beginning to fade and so we finished and drove over to The Millers in Ynystawe. Sadly, I was unable to join the side there to record what happened, but anyone else there can add their write up in the comments, together with a few pics?
We’re going to miss these Thursday night dance outs!
Words & Pics by Paul Tarrant
We were invited to dance at the Little Summer Market at the Gower Heritage Centre, Parkmill. We had nearly the full side out to this enjoyable event, and went through the broad spectrum of our dance inventory of Adderbury, Bampton, Fieldtown dances, as well as a smattering of Badby, Headington, and of course, Y Caseg Eira Nantgarw. We met Ella the Stand Up Paddle Boarding dog and her dad Stu, amongst several other local worthies who are known to us.
The ShedHead Cider on offer in the Mill was an enjoyable beverage to consume and provided necessary rehydration after dancing. The night air had a coolness about it suggesting that our summer is spent and autumn is just around the corner! Below are some photos of the event - as ever, more on our FB page.
Words & Pics by Paul Tarrant
Most of our blog posts are written by Paul Tarrant (our archivist), with occasional contributions from other members of the side. Each post goes up first on our Facebook page, alongside a lot more photos than we put on the blog. Check out our Facebook page right here if you want to see more!