Not having ever been to Milton Abbas, but having seen posters around the Dorset area for a few weeks advertising the event, we were not quite sure what to expect.  We had made the journey to Milton Abbas on the busiest Friday night of the year intending to camp for 2 nights and getting stuck on a grassy slope while attempting to park, but we were well rested by Saturday morning.

The day was misty with a damp feel to it, so we were hoping it wouldn’t rain and made our way to the village at 10.30.  At that time it was quiet and we could have a good look at all the stalls which varied from crafts and jewellery to antique and junk stalls.  Most of the stuff we had in my house when I was young!  Luckily there were plenty of toilets so by 11.20 we were all geared up and ready to dance......except the sticks hadn’t arrived.   Bob’s mind went into solution mode as the time ticked on and still no sticks – also no network coverage so we couldn’t even find out if they were remotely near.  Luckily Sarum saved the day after Bob ran up the hill to their spot and arranged for us to borrow their sticks.  Just as he returned at dead on 11.30, Marilyn and the sticks arrived so all was well!

Our first spot was well watched and enjoyed by the public.  It is uplifting to have such an appreciative audience and the Side responded by putting on an excellent performance, but only 6 danced East Acton because Bob was exhausted after running up the hill to borrow sticks and Marilyn from running down it when she arrived!  Lorraine was dead pleased with her new raggy made by Sue J, and said it made her feel like part of the side.

We had a long break until 2pm so it gave us plenty of time to enjoy the atmosphere and sample the food.  The magician gave a clever and entertaining performance which the children loved, and some of the adults too and the Punch and Judy show was good as always.  Further down the street were Red Stags in their band as well as their dance side and Sarum performed at the top of the village with Quayside performing in the middle somewhere. 

We were a little late starting our second spot, because the magician overran, but still managed to fit in 5 dances with Paul pretending he didn’t know clockwise from anti-clockwise in Hampshire Redheads, but no one noticed.  At times the crowd were about 6 deep and they stayed on to watch more.  The applause was loud and so encouraging it was brilliant.  Unfortunately someone forgot to bring any badges so we were all giving up our own to give out to the children who danced 5 hand reel!

It was great when we were asked to come back next time which will be a definite date in 2 years time as it is only held every 2 years.

As we trudged up the hill back to the car parks, young Sylvia sped up to fetch the car while we waited at the top and someone was heard to say ‘thats showing off’ as she overtook everyone!