Village fetes can be good fun. You are invited to be part of a small village community for a short while as you entertain everyone. Poulshot, which you have probably never heard of, is a small village with a large village green, near the Kennet & Avon Canal at the Caen Hill flight west of Devizes. It’s hidden off the main road down a little side lane and would look perfect on a box of English chocolates. After working out where to park, we found a convenient tree to hide under – it was a gloriously sunny Midsummer Day, the kind you dream of having, but wish you weren’t when you know you are about to spend an hour or so dancing under its direct glare. Of course, this didn’t prevent us checking out the nearby fete stalls – plants are always popular with Mr Wilkins dancers (though our chief gardener wasn’t with us today), but it was the second-hand book stall that caught the most attention and money from us on this occasion. I tend to avoid them, mainly because they are too tempting for the good of my bookshelves.
It wasn’t immediately obvious where we were to dance: we require hard standing to dance on due to our clogs, and Poulshot has a wonderful large swathe of grass for the village green, but no apparent hard standing. It turned out we would be dancing on the main road through the village. It’s not every day we get a road closed for us. We were also dancing alongside the Rigel Junior Morris side. This side was started by one of our dancers at the school where she works. It’s only open to the year 5 pupils, and they dance mainly Border Morris style. This is the first time we’ve had a chance to watch them or dance with them. And they were fantastic. They could dance on the grass, so we did one dance on the road, then they did one on the green.
Photos of sunny day dance outs always look fantastic, but they hide a certain amount of the truth – they can be exhausting. Luckily, village fetes come with the offer of tea and cakes; much appreciated by all during out half time break in the shade. The comment at the end of the day by one of the villagers was also appreciated: “The dancers must be exhausted dancing in the sun. I thought they would dance for 5 minutes then need an hour lying down to recover.” He may only have been joking, but the thought was appreciated.
Being near the Kennet & Avon Canal, we also got the chance to visit our unoffical mascot, Flint. He’s a Parson’s Jack Russell and lives on a canal boat belonging to our cake-baking dancer (who also organises the Rigel Juniour Morris, and created our dance Captain Flint named in his honour – multi-talented). She was kind enough to offer us tea and cake (again) after the dancing – and it was delicious. A tasty and appreciated afternoon treat after the dancing.