NORTH WEST CLOG DANCERS
Fiddlesticks’ 2012 May Tour of Lincolnshire and the Fens
The Tour this year was organized jointly by Peter and Christine and Melody and Mike, all using their local knowledge of the areas we were visiting to hopefully give an interesting Tour.
This year’s Tour had a uniqueness to it in that not only was it a week later than usual, but it was over HM The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee weekend. Many of the Town Councils that we contacted were delighted to welcome us to join in their celebrations, so, throughout the weekend, we were not only dancing on our own, but were also part of the Jubilee celebrations in the villages and towns we visited; and we were still home in time to see the lighting of Jubilee Beacons in our own towns and villages!
DAY 1 SATURDAY 2nd JUNE
Following local pick-ups we arrived at ELY at 10.30am.Here we first danced outside The West Door of Ely Cathedral, on a dry but slightly windy morning. The Cathedral dominates the low-lying countryside. It is said that where ever you go in Fen country, you have only to look up to see it there, riding the sky like a great ship hence the Cathedral‘s name, “the ship of the Fens”.
A walk through Cathedral Close and Meadow brought us to Jubilee Gardens, providing a green link from the Cathedral to the river. They were opened to celebrate the Golden Jubilee of HM the Queen. Here we danced near the bandstand, where there were not so many people as it was a cool day. Lunch was eaten al fresco before we started the journey to ST IVES.
For the first dance spot in St lves we were part of their Jubilee celebrations and a large crowd soon gathered to watch us. Time was allowed to watch the other entertainments taking place before a further dance spot on the paved area outside the Norris Museum by the river Great Ouse. A short journey took us to our hotel, the Marriott in Huntingdon, where we settle into our rooms, enjoyed a swim, visited the bar etc. An informal drinks party in Lynn’s room preceded our dinner in a private dining room in the hotel. Following dinner, there was music and a ceilidh, during which we received instruction in Bollywood dancing from Julie and Border Morris from Mary.
An excellent end to our first day.
DAY 2 SUNDAY 3rd JUNE
Now this was the day of the great River Pageant to be watched by all the Royal family and I don’t think anyone will forget the weather that day. So we set off for STAMFORD in the rain. Here for our first spot or two of the day we were to be part of Stamford’s Jubilee celebrations. It was still raining when we arrived and parked near Town Meadows, where we were due to perform. The Meadow was deserted; the event had been called off. So there was nothing to be done, except go for a cup of coffee. After coffee some of us found a lovely hotel where we gave an impromptu performance in the dry under a verandah with a small crown watching. And then it was off to BURGHLEY HOUSE, quite close by. Here we were due to dance in Chestnut Court. The rain was now lashing down so the organizer very kindly brought a gazebo for the musicians to play under and we performed a few dances wrapped our in rain coats with people understandably watching for just a few minutes at best.
The rest of our time at Burghley was spent having lunch and looking around the lovely House. We did try one more dance spot before departing for the warmth and dryness of our hotel where we were able to switch on the TV and watch the River Pageant. The evening was spent at Brampton Mill where we had dinner in our own very nice upstairs dining room overlooking the River Great Ouse. The evening concluded with music and singing, by the Fiddlesticks choir.
Day 3 MONDAY 4th JUNE
We had offered the hotel a dance spot for the staff and visitors before we left, but as the hotel was very quiet this was declined. A replacement dance spot in Huntingdon was abandoned (sorry Mike) as the weather was still verging on the inclement. So instead we left for the drive to RAMSEY ABBEY. We danced at the charming former gatehouse, which is all that remains of the once great Benedictine Abbey at Ramsey, in the sun and rain showers. This was followed by a spot dancing outside the Jolly Sailor in the centre of Ramsey where we were watched by the Lady Mayoress, and Westmorland Reel got its first outing. Following this we journeyed to SOMERSHAM. Mary at Mary’s Teashop in the village opened specially to very efficiently provide us with a nice sandwich and cake lunch after which we joined in with Somersham’s Jubilee celebrations, in the grounds of The Limes.
Two dance spots were watched by a large and appreciative audience in glorious sunshine! We were later to feature on the cover of the village’s glossy magazine dancing the “Train” and what a wonderful straight line! Afterwards, and we were invited to join in a Victoria High Tea.
We received several letters of thanks from the organizers of the various Jubilee celebrations. All in all a great Tour despite the weather.