Old Crown Inn, Kelston in the rain


The Old Crown Inn, Kelston

The Old Crown Inn, Kelston

If you live in Britain and participate in outdoor events, at some point in time the weather will become an issue. This year we’ve been very lucky and, after a wet start, the spring and summer have turned out sunny and bright for the most part. Planning any event this year would seem to have a fairly high chance of hitting dry, if not sunny, weather. Except last Saturday.
Sitting at home, about 25 miles and a couple of hills away from Kelston, I was watching the weather all morning. There had been a spectacular thunder and lightning display the night before – with accompanying rain lashing down – and the storm hadn’t completely passed. It came and went, tap either fully on or fully off with very little drizzle in between. The road even managed to dry out a couple of times between downpours. This left me questioning what the weather further west was going to be like for the afternoon.
Unlike some forms of morris, clogs don’t work too well on wet surfaces, particularly tarmac. Although there are rubber horsehoes on the soles, rather than naked wood, these have no grip so slip easily – which is great if you have to turn round in a hurry, but don’t work too well on wet surfaces and manhole covers. It is at this time that a nice pair of modern black boots/shoes would be great, but we’d lose the noise of the clogs on the ground. I’ve seen Border sides in the rain – sometimes with alternate headgear to allow for the weather – and Cotswold dancing their slightly less energetic dances, not trusting their footing on the wet surface.

The audience kept dry under the eaves whilst waiting for their food

The audience kept dry under the eaves whilst waiting for their food

What it really boils down to is that we sometimes have to decide between wanting to dance and the weather. And Saturday was not settling into wet or dry. The drive across didn’t really fill me with optimism either – the main road looked more like a swimming pool in parts, and we couldn’t see that far in front of us due to the heavy rain. But it had pretty much gone by the time I arrived in Kelston, so you really can’t tell from one mile to the next.

It did rain on us – we dispensed with our hats for the most part as the straw doesn’t last very long in wet weather. One dance in we were forced into a break for 10 minutes and an impromptu jamming session from the musicians in the pub to fill in time. By the time we returned outside, the rain had stopped and the road dried up over the course of the next couple of dances as the sun came out and shone hard. Even the sunglasses came out. So after a damp start, it turned into a hot humid afternoon. The only shame was that this was a fundraising event for Motor Neurone Disease, and the pub has been struggling since the road through the village was closed in February after a landslip. The weather, unpredictable as it was, kept people at home rather than out in support. Don’t rely on the weather – it often isn’t the same five miles down the road, so it’s usually worth going to have a look.

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