Last weekend, we were briefly dragged out of our winter hibernation/practice mode for a very exciting project, the like of which we’ve never done before. Canadian food show Moosemeat and Marmalade is currently filming in the UK, looking at our native foods from different viewpoints with cooks Art Napoleon and Dan Hayes. The episode they were filming over the weekend was based around Hook Norton brewery and squirrel hunting (yes, squirrel!), and they wanted some Cotswold Morris dancers to show some of what goes on around here besides the unexpected culinary opportunities!
We’ve never danced on film before, so it was a very different experience to our usual, more relaxed pattern, but we did have an audience, which certainly helped! Dancing Wheatley Trunkles three times back-to-back was a real challenge, especially for those who were asked to pull out a round of Princess Royal straight afterwards, and the weather was not as favourable as we might have liked. In the end, though, it was a great day, and a real baptism by fire for one of our newest dancers, Nerys, who was on her first proper dance-out and did spectacularly. A particular shoutout is due also to our two musicians, Sam and Danika – Sam came along specially to help us out, and Danika came out on both Saturday and Sunday for us, so we owe them both a lot for making this project possible and playing brilliantly.
The next day, our Squire (Victoria) and Bagman (Charlotte) went along to the “squirrel feast” the next day, to taste the results of the previous day’s squirrel hunt. Squirrel Ragu wasn’t a concept either of us had entirely expected, but it tasted fantastic and the meal was very enjoyable. Afterwards, we had one more task, to teach the cooks how to Morris dance. Aside from a couple of inopportune tea-towel flicks (they didn’t opt for hankies), they were both very good, and it provided plenty of laughs all round.
All in all, it was one of the more unusual tasks we’ve had as a side, but we enjoyed ourselves immensely, and are looking forward to seeing the results. We’ll let you know how you can view the programme yourselves when it comes out, but until then, we’ll be working hard for our next outing at Folk Weekend Oxford next month. See you then!