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Summer in Yorkshire without rain is unthinkable so it was no surprise that our third — and final — day at Whitby started with heavy downpours. We met as arranged outside the Tourist Information Centre where our first stand was due to take place. The ground was very wet, which is not conducive to dancing in clogs, and it was impossible for the band to keep their instruments dry while playing in the constant rain.
After a while, the umpires inspected the pitch and agreed that play could begin. However, applying the Duckworth-Lewis method, the delayed start meant that we could skip the planned second stand up at Pannett Park. This was a great relief as it saved us the slog up the hill in the wet.
It just appeals to my silly sense of humour that Mister Duckworth has had such an important effect on rain-affected cricket given the phrases "nice weather for ducks" and "out for a duck". Perhaps this is an example of nominative determinism, like the fact that Bob Flowerdew is a gardener and Mark de Man is a Belgian footballer.
Also dancing at the first stand outside the Centro de Información Turística were
Wakefield Morris started life as a man's side called "The Horberie Shrogys", formed in 1979 by none other than Trefor Owen and supposedly named after an area of swampy land (although the exact origin is a matter for debate). A companion women's side was formed, called "The Ring O'Belles", and they danced out with the men but as a separate side. Eventually the sides merged and became Wakefield Morris.
Click here for a more comprehensive history of the side.
Once the dancing did get under way, we performed KBC Processional, Aughton (the very appropriate "windscreen wiper" dance) and Milnrow. The main concern was to keep the band's instruments dry but there were plenty of volunteers for umbrella duty, with all sides helping each other out.
With the first stand complete, it was time for lunch. Just as most people had gone off to find something to eat, Ceri Oakes, a local professional photographer, appeared and asked if she could take a few shots for the local newspaper. Apparently the cricket had been washed out and the newspaper wanted some action photos. Ceri originally wanted us to go up to where the beach huts were as they would have provided a colourful background. There was not time for this, so she chose a spot by the lobster pots instead. There was only a small group of Kettle Bridge dancers and musicians around by then but they hammed it up beautifully and provided Ceri with the pictures she needed.
Did we make it into the papers? Well, yes, twice! Not only was there a picture in Friday's Whitby Gazette but there was another one in Tuesday's Yorkshire Post. Fame at last.
Click here to see some of the photos on Ceri's Facebook page.
Click here to go to the Yorkshire Post picture archive and search for "Kettle Bridge Clogs".
Thankfully, by the time that our afternoon stand was due to start, the weather had improved dramatically and there was bright sunshine. We were joined back at the Touristen-Informationszentrum by two more sides:
For their last stand of the week, Kettle Bridge danced Shawforth and Saint Helens Gala. There was also a performance from Wakefield Morris and friends of a dance called "Celebration". This has been specifically written by John Earnshaw as a dance for North West sides to dance together in the same way that Cotswold sides all know Bonny Green Garters. For my part, I think "Unwin" would be a better name — Universal North West INdulgence. Or that could be "Unwind", I suppose!
You can see a video of the dance by clicking here.
And that, as they say, was that. Although the folk week continued on, our participation was at an end. Thank you to all of the organisers and helpers of the Whitby Folk Week, especially the hosts for each stand — they all did a brilliant job. For our own part, the Kettle Bridge dancers and musicians put on a wonderful show and worked really hard. And a special thanks goes to those who helped the band out in their hour of need — Mike RL and Nicola. We couldn't have done it without you!
Kettle Bridge Clogs web site by Stephen Cordery is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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