Wimpole at War 2013

This weekend was the annual Wimpole at War event at Wimpole Hall. So I went and took a few photos.

Oakworth Village Morris Men Weekend of Dance

Every year the Oakworth Village Morris Men hold a weekend of dance to which they invite other morris sides from around the country. There were a variety of styles of morris dancing present including Cotswold, Border, North-West and Longsword. Also present were the 400 Roses, they describe themselves as Tribal Fusion and perform belly dance inspired dances infused with their own unique take on British folk dancing. It was a full weekend of dance. The weekend started for some on the Friday evening with a beer or two to greet those camping.  Saturday was a coach tour around the beautiful countryside, stopping to dance at various village pubs along the way. With ten sides present on the Saturday we had to split into two coaches and take separate routes. Despite coming to the same pub for lunch, due to the staggered lunch times, one tour was dancing while the other was eating and vice-versa so we were not able to see all the other sides dancing. This was only a minor issue though. The weather was good for dancing as it was not too hot and remained dry. The dancing was all to a very high standard and everybody was in a good mood (once certain hangovers had abated that is!). All in all a relaxed and pleasant day.

The weather was again kind to us on the Sunday. This time we had thirteen sides present, which meant three separate tours. Also due to limitations on the numbers on each train we had to set off at different times. The result was again that we did not get to see all the other sides dance which was a pity. We started dancing outside the station in Haworth before boarding our train to Ingrow West where we danced on the platform before returning to Haworth and continuing our tour around the town. We had another day of excellent dancing and entertaining the locals and visitors alike. After a full weekend sides were beginning to flag a little and not many made it as far as the final stand. In fact there were only three musicians to play for the last dance, ‘Bonny Green Garters’, in which as many as are still able all join in, whether they know it or not.

It was a great weekend and I hope to do it all again next year.

May Bumps 2013 Saturday

Just as May Week in Cambridge takes place in June, so do the May Bumps. For four days there is intense activity on the river. Boats are constantly moving from the boathouses to the marshalling area and then onto the race course and afterwards back to the boathouses again. Each race consists of the members of a division strung out with equal spacing between each boat. The aim of the race is to catch and ‘bump’ into the boat in front while avoiding being ‘bump’ed by the boat behind. Plenty of action to interest the photographer at all stages. Actually capturing the sight of two boats ‘bump’ing is really quite hard although there are certain spots on the river where bumps happen more often due to bends etc. Sadly I did not manage this feat this year. Despite setting off under what I thought was an improving sky with the sun breaking through it started to rain after I had watched my first race which was W3 ie the women’s third division. I made it as far as the railway bridge where I saw M3 and then the boats heading up for W2. However by that stage I was too cold and getting wetter so as the rain eased somewhat I headed home. By the time I got home of course the sun was shining through the clouds again but the hot chocolate was very welcome.

Winter Lights

For three weekends in December the grounds of Anglesey Abbey were filled with coloured lights illuminating the trees, shrubs and a few other things. This was a very popular event and you had to pre-book to get your tickets. I visited on the last night and by the time I arrived the overflow car park was almost full and there were long queues to get in the entrance.

Once inside the coloured lights had turned the winter garden into an almost surreal experience. The white birch grove was glorious in its purple light. At the far end, near Lode Mill, there was a refreshment area serving hog roast and mulled wine. This went down very well in the chilly December air and many people were partaking thereof. As an added bonus the folk group Strangeworld were playing to entertain the crowd. I had not come across them before and was impressed enough that I bought one of their CDs, Demons Within to take home with me.

When I had first arrived there was quite a throng of people moving along the path but as I dawdled along taking photographs the crowd thinned out and did so even more after I stopped for the hog roast and music. I was never on my own but it got easier to get the shots I wanted without getting in other people’s way.

The poplar trees on the far side of Bottisham Lode were another high point especially when combined with Lode Mill. The path led around to the abbey itself where there was a jazz band playing but I did not catch their name. There was however more refreshments in the form of roasted chestnuts. The demand was so great that they could not cook the chestnuts fast enough which led to periodic delays of about ten minutes while the next batch were roasted. Naturally the person before me got the last of the previous batch and I was left waiting before I could get my fix. My patience was rewarded when I finally got my roasted nuts as they were delicious and just what was needed.

I thought that was going to be about all but then I found the fire and light performers as I made my way back towards the exit. I could have stayed and photographed them for hours but by then I was getting a bit cold and tired and there was not too long before the festival closed. Even without a tripod they proved to be interesting subjects yielding some good abstract shots.

Cambridge Street Pianos

For two weeks there will be pianos on the streets of Cambridge. They are a part of the Cambridge Festival of Ideas. The idea of street pianos has been touring the world for a number of years, appearing at various venues and more information and pictures can be found here. At the end of the two weeks, the pianos will be donated to local charities or good causes, so they will continue to give pleasure for some time to come.

I spent a few hours on Wednesday visiting the 12 that are within walking distance of the centre of Cambridge. I then had to resort to the car on Thursday morning in order to get to the other 3. I am unfit enough that I was suffering a bit after the first 12, especially as I wasted time trying to find the one in the Grand Arcade. I was eventually led to its location by the sound of someone playing it. This was rather pleasing, not only was it gratifying to hear it actually in use but it was also a big relief to finally set eyes on it.


Hoar Frost

We woke up to find the world edged with white. It was the most spectacular hoar frost that I have ever seen. Mind you, the one last year was almost as good. However before that I had not seen anything that could come close. Of course to fully appreciate the beauty you have to go outside and look at it carefully. I nearly did not go out but I am so glad that I did. I thought that I saw it last year and took photos then as well, surely I would just be duplicating that. I was wrong. Even last year I had not appreciated the delicate beauty of this amazing phenomenon. This was not just a build up of ice on all the trees and hedges. This was an accumulation of translucent crystals. Each crystal as unique as a snowflake because that is what they were. But instead of forming in the clouds these flakes had formed on all the twigs and branches. In places the frost was so thick as to look like foam from only a few feet away. Each location and variety of plant had its own peculiar amount and density of frost. When I first looked out of the window I had thought that it was snowing but it was actually the flakes of frost becoming detached from their host and falling down, loosened by the sun and warming air. I felt truly blessed to be able to observe and record a tiny fraction of this exquisite event.

Mark Jones Day of Dance

Ouse Washes Molly held their annual Day of Dance in memory of Mark Jones on the 21st January 2012. The molly sides gathered at The Cutter Inn on Ely’s riverside beside The River Great Ouse. The sides present were Ouse Washes Molly, Good Easter Molly, Norwich Kitwitches, Gog Magog Molly, Mepal Molly, Old Hunts Molly, Soken Molly Gang, Pig Dyke Molly, Woad Works, Seven Champions and Black Annis. With 11 sides dancing there was plenty to see and marvel at. Molly is one of the most varied forms of dance as each side has their own unique traditions. The next stop was at The Plough in Little Downham. Little Downham is the last known place where molly was danced before it died out although it was later revived. The final venue was The 5 Miles From Anywhere No Hurry Inn which is a lovely spot to while away some time if you are passing, which you won’t be.

Mill Road Winter Fair 2011

Mill Road Winter Fair this year was almost mild in comparison with previous years. The sun shone and the streets were crowded with everyone enjoying the day. There was so much going on up and down Mill Road and all made easier by it being closed to traffic. Lots of the shops were taking part in one way or another. Many shops had stalls outside and delicious food was in abundance. Buskers and street entertainers were everywhere to keep the crowd entertained. The photos feature mainly Ely and Littleport Riot taking turns with Coton Morris Men and their terrific Lady Musicians. Gog Magog Molly were performing at other spots and taking turns with Cambridge Morris Men. A thoroughly enjoyable day was had by all. See you there next year?