Wednesday, 18 July 2018


Many of my posts are written in retrospect, they are reports on happenings and events that I have experienced directly. Many are memoirs of memorable visits to places of significance. This is of course natural, much of my blog has a near journalistic quality as I report my adventures, museum visits and theatre attendances. This post is one of those but written this time with one eye on the future, as I look forward to attending events of a similar nature this year.

On Saturday the 1st of July I attended a charity event at the Royal Oak public house in Oakbrook, a village close to Derby. The afternoon event; featuring three dance sides, was hosted by the Royal Oak to raise money for the Laura Centre. The Laura Centre is a bereavement counselling service that is both for parents that have lost a child and for children who have a parent. A charitable organisation of distinction.

I arrived at the Royal Oak to find the event well underway. It was a beautiful afternoon, bright and warm. The Royal Oak is a favourite pub of mine, serving real ales, ciders and sometimes even a mead. The food is excellent. Indeed the stilton and onion cobs are something quite special.

Ordering a drink and food, I set up my camera and settled in. My intention was to enjoy an afternoon of traditional dance entertainment and the performers did not disappoint.

It was one of those rare occasions when I did not just take stills but used my second camera to record the dances on video. These clips are now on YouTube and the links are below.

Video clips on Youtube

I will not bore the reader by opening the debate upon the origins of Morris dance, its name or whether the activity is older than the 15th century. It is enough to state that Morris dance today represents something intrinsically English, something deeply traditional within our culture.

Sadly there are many within our society today, who view such pastimes as humourous, as a source of merriment. Activities such as traditional dance and other customs have become as a legitimate target of derogatory remarks. Credit should be given to those who participate and endeavour to keep such customs alive.

The afternoon included dances from three groups, the Ripley Morris, the Greenwood Clog and the Ripley Green Garters. All three acquitted themselves well and as often happens, the public were invited to join in with a few selected dances. I recognised one or two visitors from other dance sides, including a well-known dancer from the Foresters Morris.

The entertainment ended far too quickly. I had thoroughly enjoyed the experience and I was left looking forward to another similar event planned for later in the month. That of course is for a future report.

The Laura Centre (Leicestershire UK)

The Laura Centre (Derby UK)

Royal Oak Ockbrook Derbyshire UK

Royal Oak Ockbrook Derbyshire UK

Ripley Morris Men

Ripley Morris Men

Greenwood Step Clog Dancers

Greenwood Step Clog Dancers

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