This is the account of Little Egypt's 2003 trip to Ireland.

The Search For Dave's Mother's Name

More will follow as it becomes available.

All photography by the Thomsons and Farmers.

The official itinerary was as follows:

1) Cleverdon's first pint

What really happened, we can only guess ...

2) Nunu's first pint
3) Leaving Glemsford
4) Cleverdon's fifth pint
5) Getting to Stansted
6) Ryanair f*** it up again
7) Bangs gets on the wrong airport train
8) Tommo arrives late
9) Jukes on the pull
10) Jukes on the pull, again
11) Bangs in Mooty Mood
12) Nev in Mainwaring Mode
13) Nev in Sulky Mood (no-one notices)
14) Tommo chucks his toys outta da pram
15) Take off
16) Jukes chats up the Ryanair steward (it's a PC world - no "-ess" there)
17) The first round of Irish Guinness. Someone moans about the size of the kitty
18) Tommo asks for a lager
19 ) New members prove to be life and soul of the party
20) Bangs nearly misses the tour bus
21) Jukes on the ... no, we've done that
22) Bob complains about the Euro:Dollar exchange rate and threatens to invade County Kerry

The story so far:

The Morris Men of Little Egypt have enjoyed another fine trip to the Republic of Ireland

What follows purports to be a photographic record of the trip, with a few words thrown in,
until someone tells me different: - somehow, a dishevelled hat, an empty lager glass and unfinished stout sums it all up ...

The Ryanair check in desk at Stansted Airport had seen nothing like it

Claiming to be pilgrims to the Knock Shrine, strangely garbed men arrived in a
feeble attempt to bribe the agents to upgrade them to Cockpit Class

Only when reinforcemets, in the shape of the MMLE SAS, turned up, did the will power of Erin's finest begin to waver.

"Close your eyes and think of bacon and cabbage" became the universal cry of the tour.

Once safely in the luxuriously-appointed arrivals lounge at Cork, the men began to relax visibly

Even though Sir Jukes was already finding it hard to remember his mother's name, despite the support of other members..

Eventually, other supporters felt they had to do more to help Dave.
Trevor's contribution was that he was pretty sure it wasn't "Ringobells"

But Mark and Martin seemed more worried that Sebastian Dangerfireld had arrived surprisingly early

Neville thought it best to wait until they were safely in a bar before he began to get acquainted with the locals in his own inimitable way, my dear.

While Bill wondered desperately if he could help Dave out of his fix

The search for Dave's Mother's Name continued early next day, when it was decided to invoke the help of the spirits of the standing stones

Bangs, Bob and John (New, new, new, new, new, of that ilk) used the ancient incantation - "Is this a standing stone, or are you just pleased to see me ..."

The only result was to summon up a demonic sprite of dubious origin

That is, until someone recognised George doing his "I'm a silly sundial" act.
Unfortunately, he couldn't remember Dave's Mother's Name, either.

Tommo and Bill decided they liked this game, and went to get their own gnomons

But Tommo realised just in time he needed four rather than three.

The search went on

We even enlisted the Time Team to explore an underground cairn to see if Dave had left anything there

Doods was convinced it was a waste of time and that his mother's name was much nicer anyway

But he was still happy to stand there and offer advice.

Meanwhile Bob thought it would be nice to pose as a Panda

While Bill was happy to display his talents at Sacrificial Flower Arrangement,
on any flat stone that happened to be around

Crawford enjoyed helping Bob with the Panda game

Bill, on the other hand, then decided to practise peanut-eating in the style of Squire Neville

Tommo can never wander far from his mobile phone. Sometimes he even practises using it with nothing in his hand.

Such are his improvisational talents

Neville was unabashed at demonstrating the use of two broomsticks to give an approximate measure of vital parts of his anatomy.

Eventually, all other thoughts were put to one side, and the Morris Men of Little Egypt got down to doing what they had always intended doing:
"Ring of Bells"

Trevor probably danced this one.
Dave had still not remembered his mother's name.

It was decided that other "alternative" methods should be employed. Divining with new hazel wands was tried.

They managed to locate some water, and Bangs detected something up Nev's nose - but Dave's quest was unrequited.
It always is.

The search for Dave's Mother's Name was renewed with even greater intensity. Mark Corby had the idea of enlisting the help of the Irish Navy

Hazel and Martin were less convinced. After all, the next woman Jukes met would be able to tell him his mother's name.
They always do.

George wasn't so sure either. After all, a life on the ocean wave often isn't that much fun.

Val rather thought Little Egypt should introduce minimum bagginess rules for dancers' trousers.

It was decided that New New New New New New New New new John was the outright winner of the Look Like Sir Les Patterson competition.He decided to spend his winnings in the ship's galley.

And he immediately submitted his entry for the Lecherous Vicar Lookalike Competition.

Tommo scanned the horizon for the early signs of the next person to blag-a-fag from.

At the same time, he contemplated what it must have been like to be Magwitch in "Great Expectations". He would have to cultivate that look.

Once they were safely off the boat, Cleverdon thought an armpit-sniffing session might take Dave's mind off his loss.

The locals at the Glandore Inn held a whip round to pacify him further, and to buy the side some roll-on deodorants

In one of those unique Morris moments, frozen for eternity

four men, all at the same time, realised too late they had missed their man to "Swing Your Partner"

As always, the musicians kept level heads ...

...even though Mark seemed to have developed a list to port while on the watery main.

A small crowd was attracted by the noise and high jinks

But, strangely, none would come forward to volunteer her name, which would have ended Jukes' Spell in Purgatory

Much to Tommo's chagrin, his attempt to cultivate the Magwitch look

had been pre-empted by the arrival of the real thing.

The next gig was at the Sign of the Shack with Carpet on the Roof

Bill thought it best to muffle his drum with some of the same material

The sight of a few black skirts inevitably brought Morris Men running from near and bar

Nevertheless, Jukes' mother remained nameless; his chat up lines were failing miserably

Mark practised quietly, in a musical world of his own,

While Martin swapped ideas about the best way to use Grecian 2000, and Bob underwent his daily routine of Ballet Steps for Those With Trouble Standing

Later, during a devilish game of Stone Paper Scissors

Bob managed to get his hankie stuck to the ceiling

This caused some amusement among the men,

but Barb and Charmaine knew full well that Scissors beat Cloth under Glemsford rules

In common with every other tour they've ever been on

Little Egypt could not resist the temptation of dancing outside a multi-storey car park

And just to prove it,

This view was taken fron Bay F, Deck 3

Bill was trying out his new system of notation for the side drum

While Julie showed Nev just how versatile the bazouki really is.

That night in the bar, Bangs was beguiled by a new-found friend

who, on his night off from the local Tandoori Flower Stall, offered to cast the oriental runes to assist Jukes' quest

Hartley made light of it all by ordering a jumbo portion of mussels with black pudding sauce

Hazel, by contrast, was finding it hard going waiting for her next snackpot

By now, Jukes was becoming increasingly tight-lipped at his sad loss

Doods, obviously, had absolutely no sympathy

In fact, so unsympathetic was Doods

that he began practising to take over Jukes' rôle.

Magwitch kept a stern outlook on Tommo's attempts to impersonate him

while Mark looked behind the gate to see if Dave's Mother had left any clues

It was a cold day outside the Jolly Roger

So the men went through their fire-making ceremony

Doods was excused waistcoat so that he coould wear his thermals

And the whole side were excused dancing off the same foot.

Inside the pub, however, Martin and Julie found warmth wherever they looked.

Martin was delighted with the bouquet he had been promised for his Guinness drinking marathon.

Julie was not over-impressed by her own lack of floral tributes

So she went in for some impromptu busking, imagining she were at Cambridge

Mark was running out of ideas as to how to win the Melodeon Marathon

and had resorted to the time-honoured tactic of gurning his opponent into submission

Barbs and Martin's long-awaited rendition of "Oh Yes I Remember It Well"

was greeted with acclaim -
until they forgot the words
They were as devastated as Jukes still was

Neville's dismay at having his multi-coloured beard caught on camera

was only matched by his disappointment at being caught absconding with Fleming's next half hour's supply of Murphy's

The Tandoori Flower Seller was having little luck conjuring Jukes' Mother's Name

and had resorted to undercover juggling instead

Sebastian, on the other hand, was less impressed

It was his cover that was being juggled.

As the tour came to its inevitable end

Tommo/Magwitch was left with just another empty glass of lager to sneer at ...

With thanks to the never-ending humour of Little Egypt

Coming soon:

The True Story of the
Johns of Little Egypt

And thanks to the organisers, a bloody good time was had by all.

Page maintained by Stephen Clarke, 09 November 2005 Copyright(c) . Created: 24/06/2003 Updated: 06/07/2003