I'm now back in London after my week down at the seaside. And what a lovely time I had !! Once again, it was sooooo cool to be able to cath up with Roie and meet her boy, JC, as well as catching up with Kerri and Sarah, and Sarah's b/f Matt, before THEY all head off to live/work in Beijing for who knows how long.
On Friday evening, after swapping some emails with the lovely and helpful people on the Morris Dancing Discussion List (MDDL/muddle) I caught the train up to Bedford (about 50 miles north of London I think) and crashed over at Jenny's place, and the following day we drove across to a town in The Cotswolds called Stow-on-the-Wold, where there was another fairly big Morris Dancing gathering – The Mason's Apron Day of Dance.
There were about 20 sides there, including some clog dancers, some Border Morris dancers (a bit like normal Morris, except they wear face paint and are generally more rambunctious in their dancing), and some Appalachian Clog Dancers (which kinda looked like tap dancers to me really, but some of them were very cute, so I'll call them whatever they wanna be called). I was quite surprised/impressed at how many pubs there were in the Market Square area too – at least 7 I think I counted, which is pretty good considering the size of the place. The one which deserves mention especially is The Royalist, which they've carbon dated and shown that the pub was built back in around 947 AD… so I *had* to grab a pint there!
After spending the day watching all the dancers there, Jenny and I packed back into the car and headed back to Bedford, via a few of the other little towns along the way. We stopped in Oddington (Upper Oddington AND Lower Oddington), Bledington, Brackley (quite a throbbing metropolis really – there were even some people going to a beach-themed party, as you WOULD in the hills of England), and we also dropped in at the Rollright Stones.
The Rollright Stones are a series of Neolithic monuments, the most interesting of which I found to be the Stone Circle. It's a circle of stones 38 Druids' Cubits in diameter, and are believed to have been placed there somewhere between 2500 and 2000 BC. And encouragingly, some idiot decided that in March this year it would be a good idea to spatter every single one of the 80 or so stones with yellow paint. I guess the individual in question is hoping that gnarly druid powers and stuff aren't real, because desecrating one of the most important pagan fixtures in the country is bound to attract some bad mana.
On Sunday I headed back to Brighton with Roie and JC whom I met up with in London. It seems I must have lost my wide-eyed tourist look to some extent, because whilst waiting near St Pancras station I had 4 people come up and ask ME for directions… astoundingly enough, I was able to help 3 of them !
The next day I headed back to London again and headed down to Hammersmith to meet up with Tim (my brother, who sent me this picture of his arse a few months ago) and also with Annie at the Apollo theatre to see Ross Noble again, only this time for free (gotta love that !). Ross was in fine form, and I've been giggling all day at the idea of a third world country where all the childrens' hands are made out of sponge.
Today I booked my flights to Glasgow and then to France, so once again things seem to be back on track, and in about another month or so I'll look at finding a place to live and some halfway reliable work.