Following a week of plentiful rain, you could be forgiven for thinking our summer is over and that we would not get out for our usual Thursday Evening Tour! Banishing all negative thoughts, and despite the light mizzle we were able to visit the King’s Head at Llangennith and the Britannia at Llanmadoc which are two pubs, very popular with tourists and locals alike, on the furthest extremity of the Gower peninsula.
We had a very strong side out (only 2 dancers and 1 musician absent) and were able to dance Y Caseg Eira Nantgarw and Vandals Lichfield which was pleasing as they are both dances for eight, and more complex than other dances from our usual repertoire from Adderbury, Bampton and Fieldtown.
At the Kings Head we found a dancer from Brackley Morris and his wife who have been holidaying on Gower for some time and manage to watch us most times they visit the area which is pleasing to know.
We left for the Britannia at Llanmadoc, driving the country lanes and passing the impressive Bulwark Hillfort on our way, although we were not to see it on this occasion due to an increase in the mizzle which had driven any audience indoors.
Our fiddle player Sian had fortunately brought her tin whistle along as she wisely anticipated that the humidity would make fiddle playing untenable, and supported by Roger on his all weather accordion, we were able to do a selection of dances with Vandals and Banks of the Lea Badby being highlights in the gathering gloom of the evening.
A bit of history, Llanmadoc is our ancestral home as the side started life there in 1966 when we went by the name of Mighty Men of Madoc. One of the past landlords of the Britannia danced with the side. The Britannia also was home to the Halfpenny Folk Club before it relocated to the Greyhound at Oldwalls!
Audience participation involved two sets up for Brighton Camp Adderbury which was enjoyed. We were chatting after ending our performance but had to do a two dance encore for a lady and her party from Bridgend who were celebrating her significant birthday party. We could hardly refuse!
Nightfall came early and so we finished after another enjoyable dance out.
Next Thursday we hope to be dancing with friends Carreg Las Morris at Porthrhyd near Carmarthen, weather permitting.
Words and photos by Paul Tarrant.
What a difference a few miles make! Swansea was cloaked in cloud for much of Thursday, but the forecast for our intended evening dance out at Kenfig was for uninterrupted sunshine, and so it was thus!
A dozen of us assembled at the Angel, and whilst there was hardly an audience to speak of at the start, after ten minutes there muse have been a good 20-30 bods watching us go through our repertoire of Adderbury, Bampton and Fieldtown dances, with Vandals and Badby thrown in for good measure and with Caseg Eira Nantgarw drawing applause. This pub is clearly a popular venue for diners as it offers a reasonable menu, and from our perspective, it also does tidy ale with a particular personal favourite of Butcombe Best being on offer, alongside the Doombar.
We moved on to the Prince of Wales just 300m down the road where there were several people sitting outside soaking up the evenjng sunshine. We managed to coerce several of them to dance Brighton Camp Adderbury, hopefully sowing seeds for future recruitment?
We were asked to visit the upstairs part of the pub where Ruby was celebrating her 18th Birthday. This we did and Ben danced a jig for her as Indon’t think the floor would have taken all of us dancing en masse!
A word about the room the party was held in. We were given a guided tour by the landlord during a previous pre COVID visit to the pub, where he explained the room was used by circuit judges to administer justice during medieval times. All interesting stuff and so was the Ale as they were selling Fuller’s London Pride which Paul was waxing lyrically about, and Bass, which Geoff reckoned was right tidy!
We wrapped up our dancing as a glorious red sun sank below the distant landmass of distant Gower which we will hopefully visit next Thursday (King’s Head & Britannia)!
‘Never mind the weather, As long as we’re together!’ is a line from a song and it seemed very appropriate to the Day of Dance which was hosted by Tipyn y Bopeth at the Wales Botanical Gardens at Llanarthne just east of Carmarthen. Weather was very fickle and torrential rain almost flooded the M4 when driving to the event.
Sweyn’s Ey were able to field a good team despite holiday absences and we had a strong force of three musicians with Sian, Kevin and Roger. It was great seeing Erin join us again for her first dance out since May Day! One of our members (Keith) danced and played music with Tipyn for the first half of the day, before donning Sweyn’s Ey kit and joining us for some dances. This versatility on Keith’s part drew positive comment from someone in a non local Welsh dance side! Nice to hear.
So, who were the other dance sides at this year’s Day of Dance? The aforementioned Tipyn Y Bopeth were there in some strength, as were Danswyr Talog from Carmarthen who danced with a contingent of youngsters which was good to see. Pontypool had a strong side and there were other dancers from Welsh dance groups in Caernarfon, Aberystwyth, Pen Y Fai, and Aelwyd Caerdydd.
Our own David Evans /Dafydd Evans did an excellent job managing and compèring the event, introducing each team’s dance in Cymraeg and English. Sadly he was not able to dance with us on this occasion as he was dancing with Tipyn.
Dancing was possible outside the Theatre for the first part of the day but eventually, with heavier blustery showers forming, we had to move indoors to dance, but Dafydd’s organisational skills had accounted for that eventuality.
We danced well, drawing mainly on the Adderbury & Bampton dances, but we were also able to do Fieldtown and Badby too. We danced Vandalls Lichfield which featured a bit of free form interpretation of the Hey by some, but I don’t think many noticed! Anyway, the photos will tell the story of the day, with several being taken by Andrea, some by Stewart and most by me.
Another highly enjoyable day out, although most of the side missed the considerable quantity of tea, sandwiches and cakes at the end of the event!
Words & Photos by Paul Tarrant, with photographic help from Stewart Wright & Andrea Jessup.
We were invited to dance at the Pennard Carnival again this year and we enjoyed a largely rain free day. We were driven to Kittle Green in a splendid vintage open top South Wales Transport bus which operated out of Ravenhill bus station back in the 70s and we did a time restricted dance set there. Memory confirms we did British Grenadiers, Speed The Plough, Vandals, Valentines and also Bonnie Green to finish but there may have been a couple of others that we did. Look closely at the photos and you may see Minnie Mouse who looked resplendent in her outfit.
We were next driven back to Pennard Stores at Fox Hole where the Carnival floats were gathering for the procession which set off promptly at 1:00pm. We were placed at the head of the procession, where we walked, with sticks in hand, for the better part of a mile. Unfortunately, we could not dance the procession due to recent injuries that had forced our musicians and some dancers to travel back on the bus. We would have found it very difficult dancing, trying to compete with the excellent tunes that the Full Phat Band were playing, just behind us!
We were introduced at the Carnival Field by the compere, did a victory lap of the field to polite applause from the appreciative crowd, and, after watching the award ceremony where the Hook Float deservedly won first prize, we made our way to a Tee Pee tent where we were directed to give our performance.
We danced Rose Tree, Country Gardens, Valentines and Brighton Camp which we followed with two sets for volunteers, eager to give the dance a go! A short, sharp, shower had pushed several people into the tent to watch us finish our set with Bonnie Green Garters. We met a lad who had close associations with Thaxted Morris Men, but sadly would not entice him to join us.
A good dance out at a well run carnival (hope we get invited next year) and some of us were well happy to be able to buy tickets for the excellent Disco Panther gig later in the evening!
Words & Pics by Paul Tarrant & some by Stewart Wright
We visited a new place on our recent dance out last Thursday. Swansea Observatory was a place once used by the local astronomical society to probe the far reaches of the Cosmos, but now it is a thriving cafe down on the sea front at Swansea Bay where locals and tourists alike can explore more earthly pleasures from the bar menu. It’s a very likeable place.
We were asked to dance on the terrace half way up the building, and the following photos show us dancing Rose Tree Bampton. Not many folk came up to watch but we enjoyed the challenge of dancing there, whilst keeping watchful eyes out for gulls which have been a recent source of menace to Messrs Dixon and Tarrant.
Following half a dozen dances, we attempted to dance on the promenade outside the Observatory, but the wind was just too strong and was blasting sand, painfully in our faces from the beach. We quickly realised that dancing would be impossible, so we ventured over to Dylan Thomas Square by the Pumphouse, where we danced several dances for a passing audience, and kept going until the clouds darkened and threatened to rain on us. Some ventured up to the Queen’s Hotel for a beer to finish the evening.
The internationally acclaimed actor, Johnny Depp played in a band at the Swansea Arena on the Friday evening, and after was very keen to visit No. 5, Cwmdonkin Drive, in Uplands. This was the birthplace of Dylan Thomas, and during the 1970s it was a student let. Some of Sweyns Ey Morris, who had formed the Pig’s Ear Ceilidh Band, held some practice sessions in No.5 and it was an atmospheric practice venue, knowing of the associations with Dylan. Sweyn’s Ey members (there were many others in the band including the late ace Accordion player Mike Stafford) who are remembered to have been in that band were John Jeater, MJ Searle, Olly Athelstan-Price, Darrel Hurt and Paul Tarrant.
Pics & Words 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!