When we assembled at the squire's humble abode at a little after ten o'clock and it was confirmed that we only had SEVEN dancers, we should have realised. The dreaded number seven! Unluckiest of all numbers!! Thirteen is a godsend in comparison - but no! In our ignorance of what fate awaited us we set off in high spirits to drive the twenty odd miles to Cyril's birthplace - COMBERTON in distant Cambridgeshire.
In keeping with Little Egypt tradition, we had only got as far as half way down Cavendish Lane when Neville - leading our three car convoy - screeched to a halt and after some minutes of attempting to extricate his girth from behind the wheel of his "new" Audi T.T. sportscar (Martin C. pointing out to those of us in New New's car that the initials stood for "Total T**T'), Neville said he had to go back as he had forgotten something.
Omen number 2!!
Upon his return we hurried on, with Martin Barratt endeavouring gamely to keep up in his Peugeot 3 09. 11. 10 a.m. found us parking by the pond in sleepy Comberton. Far too sleepy Comberton! Where were the other five sides? Why was no one dancing by the pond? Bob Farmer, complete with Charmaine and friend Richard, a fellow Septic Tank come to witness the magic of Morris dancing, had been there for an hour and had seen "hide nor hair" of any other Morris sides.
Still undaunted, we stood beside the pond admiring the ducks and chewing the fat in only the way Little Egypt can. Barbara Barratt, growing bored of the banter, entered the nearby newsagents to purchase some light refreshment, only to emerge and inform us all that Cyril's memorial day had happened the previous Saturday. After the usual disbelieving laughter she was able to convince us that the Newsagent had just thrown away the poster advertising the event and that we were a week late!
We are nothing if not quick on the uptake - That was why there were no other sides there!!
Squire duly phoned our erstwhile Bagman to ask about this slight error in our planning only to be informed by a whingeing Mr Thompson that it "wasn't his fault"!
Could things get any worse?
Oh yes they could!!
Cunning plan B: Drive to "Royal Oak" at Barrington; drink beer; dance!
Lost Martin Barratt on way to pub! Arrive at aforementioned hostelry at 11.40 a.m. Doesn't open until Midday!! Little Egypt standing in car park with tongues hanging out!
Food expensive; "Speckled Hen" a little iffy but humour at Little Egypt's finest!!
After much conversation, mainly about our superb Bagman and the passing round of a petition to reinstate Derek in the soon to be vacant post, we drank a toast to Cyril's memory and then danced two dances watched by Richard Septic-Tank and a few bemused locals.
The feeling amongst those present was that this day should pass into Little Egypt folklore and stand proudly alongside Southwold as a day to be repeated every year.
So those who were unable to partake in a never to be forgotten day can join us next year but we might be doing it a week late!