The start of May in East Anglia has been almost unremittingly warm and sunny. Saturday 16 May was no different when five local sides came together for a series of dancing sessions as their contribution to the annual Bury St Edmunds festival.
The sides gathered in the Abbey Gardens, beneath the remains of the Great Gate. There was a sizeable crowd to watch a whole range of dances and dancing styles from Hageneth, Haughley Hoofers, Bury Fair,
After dancing in the gardens, we processed (informally) up Abbeygate Street
Our first pitch was outside MacDonalds, rather to the consternation of the semi-resident Andean panpipers. We shared this pitch with Green Dragon
Our second spot was outside the Midland Bank, which we shared with Little Ron and the high-capering men of Hageneth.
Finally, we returned to MacDonalds, Moyses Hall and a bunch of fed-up South American gentlemen. This time we shared the spot with Bury Fair and included a two-set presentation of one of our favourite dances, "The Fires of August", created by a founder member of Bury Fair, and in the Buxhall Tradition. Despite blandishments to end with "Fanny Frail" or the six-handed reel, we performed another joint dance, a rather ragged and "after-lunch" version of The Special, taught us by Mollly-guru Cyril Papworth.
One final point. It is an offence, punishable by fines of £500, to drink alcohol on the streets of Bury. This understandable, but draconian, anti-lager yob measure made it difficult to get anywhere near the Nutshell (Britain's smallest pub), and we were thrown out of another because Graham had the cheek to take his infant daughter through the doors, but we still managed to find some good ale in the Home Town of Greene King IPA.