February 2020         A NEWSLETTER           No. 160


“I am in the presence of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come?” said Ellen Beazer.

The Spirit answered not, but pointed with its hand.

“Lead on!” said Ellen Beazer. “The night is waning fast, and it is precious time to me, I know. Lead on, Spirit!”

The Spirit stopped beside one little knot of people.

“When did it die?” inquired one.

“Last night, I believe. I thought it would never die.”

“It’s likely to be a very cheap funeral, for upon my life, I don’t know of anybody to go to it. Suppose we make up a party, and volunteer?”

“I don’t mind going if a lunch is provided,” observed another.

The Phantom conducted her through several streets familiar to her feet. They entered poor Bobbie Crouch’s house. Quiet. Very quiet. Bobbie sat there, engaged in sewing. “This is a bit boring,” she thought, “and the light’s not very good. It hurts my eyes. And I’m going to have to do something. My legs aren’t as good as they were. But what can you expect when you’re not taking enough exercise?” She spoke aloud, but there was no one there to answer.

“But where are her friends?” Ellen Beazer asked the Ghost. “Who is she talking to? There’s no one else there.”

“Well, she’s talking to herself,” replied the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. “She used to have a lot of friends she would see at dances, but now that the RSCDS Branch has died, she doesn’t see them any more. She’s just lonely, I think.”

At another house, there came an expected knock at the door. “How nice to see you!” exclaimed Caroline. “What news? Is it good, or bad?”

“Bad”, her husband answered. “The Branch has died. Withered and died. We have no committee. No one to organize dances. No one to MC. No one to book the halls, or the bands. No one to store the tea dishes. No one to look after the money. No one to teach any classes.”

“We are quite ruined?”

“No. There is hope yet, Caroline.”

“But what hope is there?” Ellen Beazer asked the Ghost. “Could they not have saved the Branch? And all those people who enjoyed the dances – what will they do? Why did they not help? Will there be no dance at New Year?”

“Why show me this, Spirit, if I am past all hope?” cried Ellen Beazer. “What can I do?”

Ellen Beazer awoke in her own bed. “I don’t know anything. But I care. I can’t see the Branch die, and all those people have nowhere to go, nothing to do, no friends to meet. It just wouldn’t be right.

“But I can’t do it all on my own. But I could persuade my friend to come and help. Well… perhaps it would be too much for just two of us to take on. But if there were three or four of us, or even five, we could join Caroline’s husband, and then we could all work together. Yes! There is hope! We must pull together! This does not have to happen! It would be something good. It might even be fun!”

Ellen Beazer was better than her word. She did it all, and infinitely more. Her own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for her.

So to Ellen Beazer Scrooge, and all her friends out there, please be as generous as you can with your time and energy, so that the Branch does not die, and so that this is just a warning of something that will not come to pass.

With apologies to Mr. Charles Dickens.                       Joyce Cochrane



The Unrivalled Benefits of Scottish Country Dancing

Friendship and care

I don’t want to be too soppy about this but I have had so much support during the last few months when I couldn’t dance at all that I’m very pleased to have the chance to acknowledge this in Broun’s Reel. It’s been lovely to have so many cards and good wishes, so much help and so many visits from dancing friends (even if they didn’t actually dance in my sitting room). Thank you so much, all of you.

The recent Harrogate weekend

This was a splendid weekend at the Cairn Hotel, superbly organised as usual by Helen and Joyce, with two appropriately challenging morning classes taught by David Queen, and two exciting evening dances, with excellent music throughout. Alan Ross played for the classes (‘umpteen bars’ as required!) and the bands in the evenings were Neil Barron and Neil Copland.

This was my first time back in the fold, and what a very warm welcome I had! I watched the morning classes with interest, wondering how I was ever able to stay such courses myself, and I tottered through a few strathspeys in the evenings. The teacher’s choice of strathspey for Saturday evening was Rose’s Garden, a new one to most of us, I think. It had double half figures of 8, set and rotate for 3 couples and a few turns and other bits, all of which gave the garden a most attractive layout. I misheard its name as Moses’ Garden, and that didn’t do me any harm as, later on, when some joker asked me who led the Israelites through the semi-permeable membrane, quick as a flash and to his amazement I replied ‘Oz Moses’.

After the warm-up routine and step practice (or torture) at the start of the Saturday class, the first quick dance taught (and then danced to perfection of course) was Maid of the Mill; it has shades of Shiftin’ Bobbins as there was no doubt (to me at least) that a carpet was being woven, with bobbins being changed and shuttles thrown (or vice-versa), involving some tricky changes of direction and a need to think fast. I think people were on the whole relieved that it was not the Teacher’s Choice dance in the evening. Instead David chose his own Hurtling Hedgehogs, mirroring the behaviour of his family’s hedgehog, appropriately called Boris, who, we were told, bumbles around a lot, changes direction haphazardly, and can be imagined snuffling a chaotic 6-hands-round with his mates from next door, followed by a circle.

 The Sunday morning class included The Ratcatcher’s Reel (8-bar phrases – ratcatchers not up to wee coopers with their ten bars, it seems), a strathspey called Miss Lucy Fallon (Lucy was with us) and The Toast of Bon Accord, a lovely dance; why don’t we dance it in our region along with all the other Bon Accords, I wonder? I must have my hearing aids tested as again I misheard its title: this time it was The Ghost of Bon Accord. Happily, we had no ghosts there; everyone seemed very alive and happy at the end of the weekend. I understand next year’s is planned for 5th to 7th February and it’s sure to be popular so it might be wise to book as soon as the details are published.

      Veronica Wallace


This year our walk will take place in the Wolds, on a route chosen by Ken Wallace and led by Jennifer. The date chosen is Thursday 25th June (TBC). As soon as we know more detail, and the venue for our lunch, we will let the groups know, and details will also be in May’s Broun’s Reel. Watch this space!


This year membership forms are being sent to existing members electronically, in addition to the one included with Broun’s Reel, as last year. If necessary, download and print the membership form, then fill it in for yourself and send the form to Helen with a cheque. If you have not previously been a member, I urge you  to consider joining, please! Single adult membership is £23, joint adult membership is £37.

BROUN'S REEL, our newsletter, is published four times a year and can normally be collected at the Branch Dances held in September, December, February and May.  Readers wishing to obtain Broun's Reel by post should send 4 (or more) first or second class stamps, together with a note of name and address, to Mrs. R. Robins, 90 Carr Lane, Willerby, Hull HU10 6JU.  Please don't also collect a further copy from the dances, or we might run short!

Editor:  Joyce Cochrane, 22 Newton Drive, Beverley,

  HU17 8NX.    (01482 - 871790)


Production: Rosemary Robins

Secretary: Helen Brown  01904 - 488084

York & North Humberside branch website:

Contact:  Rita Eastwood   (01904 - 413020) or

Copy date for next issue:     18th April 2020

Harrogate Weekend report

Membership application form