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.
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
We danced out at the Piazza on Thursday and encouragingly, there was a crowd of people to watch, a tide that was well high giving good views of Swansea Bay, and grey clouds that whilst threatening rain, actually didn’t!
We kicked off with Country Gardens Fieldtown, and progressed through a long set that included Vandals, Y Caseg Eira, Postman’s Knock amongst other mainly Adderbury, Bampton, and Fieldtown dances.
A couple from Shropshire Bedlams and Martha Rodens Tuppeny Dish introduced themselves to us, and I had a lovely chat with a lady who claimed that she had seen similar dancing done in Libya, where short sticks were used and white shirts and trousers worn by the dancers. At that point she excitedly pointed out our dance of Constant Billy Headington, saying ‘They dance just like that!’ So good to have that discussion.
We were also visited by long term member Jonathan Baker who was home for a short while after Sidmouth Festival. Good to see you Jon!
Twilight at 9pm determined a visit to the pub for most and it looks like our Thursday dancing out gigs will soon be over for another year, although hopefully we may squeeze another few gigs in, if the weather is kind!
Text & Photos by Paul Tarrant with assistance from Stewart Wright.
It’s Thursday evening and miraculously, it’s not raining! How we have managed to get out as we have, during what can only be described as a shabby summer, I don’t know. Still, we had a good team out at the Afan Tafarn and it is a good place to dance, despite the initial failure of some in the side (the Scribe!) to locate the real ale taps that were hidden away out the back in the third small bar! Still, Peroni on tap is a fine beer and palatable when dancing, and especially so when the pub brings out free beer whilst we were performing! Thanks & big respect!
We were dancing to several people who were enjoying a bit of late evening sunshine, and some of the residents opposite also came out to watch. We started off with Vandals, and breezed through a repertoire that included, amongst others, Step & Fetch Her, Shooting Adderbury, Speed the Plough, Postman’s Knock, and Y Caseg Eira. We had eager volunteers to join us in Brighton Camp before we ended the session with Bonnie Green. Jaunty our horse was allowed out and he pranced around like a pit pony that had been brought up to the surface from a coal mine of which there were several in this area!
We were to have ventured on to the Rolling Mill and The Brit but sadly the light had started to fade as it tends to do at this time of year, and especially in valleys such as this, so we could not make the other pubs. Hopefully we can do these next year!
Text & Photos Paul Tarrant.
We ventured westwards to join neighbouring side and friends Carreg Las Morris, dancing at the Mansel Arms at Porthyrhyd. This was the first time for us to dance here and it proved a great spot with a large danceable forecourt outside the pub, plus four hand pumped ales!
We were fortunate to be blessed with a sunny evening - it looked a little doubtful earlier in the day as to whether we would be able to dance out.
We danced in turn with Carreg Las who did their own Border dances which contrasted nicely with our Cotswold and Welsh Morris. With regards the latter, we were able to perform Y Caseg Eira from Nantgarw after coercing Alison H & Alison B into performing amidst their protestations that they did not really know it well enough. They were clearly fibbing as they did fine and they should have no problems joining in, in future!
Words & Pics by Paul Tarrant & Stewart Wright
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.
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!