We knew from earlier in the week that the elements were likely to be against us this Boxing Day. We have danced in bitter cold, and wind, and some rain before, but the threatened combination of severe gales and heavy rain was not something we were looking forward to.
Nevertheless, Men of Glemsford are made of stern stuff and we duly foregathered yet again at Squire Neville's for our annual Boxing Day lunchtime bash.
There was beer and food a-plenty to prepare us for our battle with the tempestuous sprites of the latest Atlantic low pressure area to sweep across Britain. Unlike Richard Branson, we do not give in to a simple climatic depression. Anyway, December 26th is Peter Ford's birthday so we have to celebrate in style.
Nev's place was at its atmospheric best.
When we were suitably fed and watered, we strode out into the teeth of the wind to express our contempt for winter. Mark, and the other musicians, had to protect their delicate equipment against the drench.
Before we set off towards the Black Lion, we stood to drink our traditional toast to our German friends, the Hoingker, using a bottle of Kummel carefully preserved from our last visit. We were pleased to welcome former fiddler Alex back from the groves of Academe
Neville carefully measured out the warming liquor, which was then consumed with due solemnity.
Then we set off in processional style towards the pub.
Umbrellas were out in force, and sometimes inside out.
At the pub we were greeted by a surprisingly and rewardingly large crowd. The car park was left wide and clear for us to dance.
The dancing was good and wet, the crowd was appreciative, and the beer was free.
Overseeing all was the wonderful piece of turn of the century painted glass in the window of the pub -
After the dancing, the Stour Valley Mummers gave their final performance of the season, before general raucous entertainment developed. Then it was all down to Pete's for further birthday celebrations.