Saturday 14th July 2012 – Olympic Torch & Beggars Fair

We had a very early start as we wanted to reach Brockenhurst College by 8.00 am, to make sure the roads were still open and not too busy with traffic travelling to see the Torch. We were able to have a coffee and breakfast, if desired, in the college canteen, which was very good value.  I think we were all very keen to dance, as our last three events had been cancelled due to rain.

The rain, once again, started as we arrived, and we thought that it was it for the day, but luckily, after breakfast, it had stopped and the sun even came out briefly.  Crowds were gathering inside the College grounds and we made our way to our dance spot, where we were able to organise a photo shoot with a torch bearer (unlit).  Even the Mayoress wanted to pose with us as if we were celebs!

We started our spot with the East Acton stick dance as we often do, and with such a captive audience, it was quite exciting.  There was a sea of faces watching us with cameras clicking everywhere.  We had a few interruptions one being the Coca Cola van making amplified announcements and another being an  organiser wanting us to pose again for photos, but that didn’t come off.  It was a good spot and a great atmosphere with the excitement mounting for the torch’s arrival.  Thanks to Mike for organising such an exciting event.



After our spot, we waited to see the arrival of the torch and all the accompanying razamatazz and some of us saw the ‘kiss’ and I think Mike and Rebecca managed to get in the official photos at the back!!  Hopefully we will see the photos later!

After all the excitement, the heavens opened and we were soaked going back to the cars to make our way to Romsey and the Beggars Fair.

We had a small group when we arrived because many members were stuck on route due to traffic.  We were with Wickham Morris at the first spot  at Latimer Walk and were able to join forces with them for a couple of dances until reinforcements arrived.  Also the musicians were able to shelter and keep the instruments dry under the entrance of an Estate Agents when the skies opened once again!

Our second spot, in the Hundred with Red Stags was wet and grim.  Our Side, however, kept cheerful and carried on dancing, getting soaking wet again.  Well done to them!  Bob alternated 4 person dances so that some dancers kept in the dry, but we did cut the spot short slightly as it was so miserable and because everyone was soaked and in the end we dispersed to get a coffee and a sandwich.

It was still raining when we reached our last spot at La Parisienne , but we were met by one of Hampshire Garland, who gave us the welcome news that the Baptist church across the road had invited us to dance inside.  We didn’t need telling twice!!

We alternated with Hampshire Garland and it was a good contrast with our quite lively repertoire and their more sedate style of dancing and the room quickly filled up with spectators.  Mike announced us and we managed about 5 dances with great acoustics for the music, making for a toe tapping audience. 

Afterwards we were rewarded with tea and cakes from the church, for which we made a small donation.  It was a very friendly end to a great day, despite the awful weather.