Mabel Go To Chippenham
- written by Dave-the-Tommy, in his best handwriting.
On the late May Bank holiday Mabel made their second annual tour of Chippenham pubs and other selected venues. Fine weather and lots of people made for good tour, and support from the festival ensured that they had plenty of venues to dance at.
After a late rendezvous due to heavy traffic the team danced at the Buttercross Ceilidh to an appreciative, if distant crowd (it can be very difficult to get audiences to come closer!)
Next stop was the pub opposite the Buttercross: The Four Seasons. After elbowing aside the hordes of Bolton Morris the lasses wowed the audience and staff alike with a cracking rendition of Bobbits.
Next was a trip around the corner to the poshest venue in town: The Angel. This hotel has a very fine bar with plenty of easy chairs and bass beer. The audience, if not wildly enthusiastic, appreciated the spectacle. Gary reported that one old boy who seemed to be reading his paper all the way through the dance came up to tell him how impressive the dance was!
After a brief cooler on the patio outside (Dave was chivvying people!) the team next fought their way through the crowded market to Porter Blacks at the end of the shopping precinct. This pub, though having nothing to do with the festival, does have an excellent floor and staff willing to turn off the piped music. The lasses danced well enough to the average observer, but keen listeners might have heard the googlie call that Jackie threw in half way through: 'BIG TOAST RACK!'. This creased up Zoe so much that she almost needed medical attention afterwards!
Next the entourage took in a late addition to the agenda: The Fizz Bar! This trendy terrace style cafe bar next to the bridge had brought in some real ale for the festival and the manageress was keen for us to dance. This quick visit was applauded well enough but an evening audience might have been more appreciative.
Having shepherded the lasses and lad out of the Fizz Bar fairly promptly Dave led the way to the Town Hall to leave them standing while he faffed about where next to dance. Sufficient time elapsed for some of the kids to get back from the procession to the Neeld Hall where the next dance was done. David managed to stretch out the performance with a bit of waffle and pit pony scraping, while Gary played some background music. The children and parents seemed to enjoy it and Sue, the children's festival organiser was grateful for a filler before Ticklish Allsorts came on.
Without beer in the Neeld Hall the was little need to chivvy people: so onward and up (the hill) to the Borough Arms where the new welcoming landlady and recently refurbished pub was a welcome opportunity for relaxation. Part of the refurbishment involved lovely wooden floors throughout and the lasses went into the main bar to dance. The landlady gave a generous donation and was keen to have us back.
A short walk up the road led to The Rose and Crown where Angi's enthusiasm for dancing out of doors (gum scraping) was rewarded with a dance in front of the teams assembled there. It was good to have a dancers' audience - especially when they said how sharp the dancing was.
Starting to flag a little by this time, Mabel made their way to the Cause, a former church hall, and festival concert venue, where after a short wait danced at the end of the ballad session in front of a well know event organiser (can someone remind me of his name?)[Yes Dave, it was Eddie Upton - ed].
On the home run now, it was back into town for the last spot at The Bear. Despite being very tired the lasses danced well and felt satisfied with good days dancing.
Rather than stop at the Bear the team went back to The Angel to relax and wind down. This was the opportunity to thank Des Murphy for typing up an excellent tour itinery which helped to establish the running order for the day and bring Mabel to the attention of festival organisers.
The tour was accomplished without any performances smelling of parmesan and garlic, no significant injuries and a collection of approximately £56 for the festival. However Julie requested that next years itinery include opportunities for buying earrings.
The lasses did well. [he's so in trouble for that remark - ed]