May 2016 A NEWSLETTER No. 145
The story behind “Reel of the 51st” is so well known that most of you won’t need
reminding about it. Originally called the St. Valéry Reel, it was written by in their
Dances both ancient and modern have been named after people, often these days in
tribute to a much-
George Emmerson’s Scotland Through Her Country Dances is a good source of information on who many of the people whose names appear in dances were, apart from The Laird of Milton’s Daughter, a title which in some earlier editions he wrongly attributed to Flora MacDonald. We will never know who many of these people actually were, especially with some older dances, but it’s nice to think that in some small way they have been immortalized. And while on the subject of names, could someone planning a future programme consider including Mrs. Stuart Linnell, just to make Veronica happy?
Some dances are named after the tune they were danced to, rather than a person, as is the case with “The Laird of Dumbiedykes’ Favourite” – the Laird’s favourite tune, in case you thought otherwise. “Miss Drummond of Perth’s Favourite Scotch Measure” is a tune just crying out for a dance, in my view, even if just to frustrate all those people who insist that Scotch is only what you drink. And even drinks have had their dances – Glayva and Johnnie Walker, for example. It appears that young people (and doesn’t writing that make me feel old!) are now drinking far less alcohol than in the past – perhaps they would be more in favour of Highland Spring than The Alewife and her Barrel?
Frequently, too, place-
So when you are planning your holidays this year, you could consider planning an
itinerary which visited as many “dances” as possible. It could add a different dimension
to your holiday to visit The Birks of Abergeldie, or even those of Invermay, Castles
Campbell, Douglas or Mey, but though you may be able to see others of Scotland’s
Gardens, I think it’s too late to visit Cherrybank Gardens in Perth, which seems
to now be a housing estate. You could even visit Europe and far-
Somehow I once labored under the impression that “St. Andrews of Brampton” was the name of a dog…. So, just me then?
NO LIGHTS IN THE HALL!
There we were, Norma & I, after a two week Easter break, all set for our summer season at the York club & looking forward to an evening with Robert Whitehead, playing for our April birthdays. Sheila Barnes at the ready to M.C. our celebratory programme, with cakes waiting to be shared, shoes on, members & visitors arriving, eagerly anticipating a special night.
But oh dear!! Big problem. The hall is currently undergoing extensive alterations & we've managed quite well, under difficult circumstances for the past few months, but horror of horrors, "No lights in the main hall". Lights everywhere else, stage, loos, kitchen & tea room, but sadly not our dancing space.
So with H & S in mind, dancing in the dark was not an option. Someone had the brilliant idea of emptying the tea room of tables and chairs, and suddenly bodies appeared, like ants clearing the room, where the lights were on. The floor was swept of debris from the builders, Robert moved from a large space to a bijou, but cozy one, and we had a Dunkirk spirit amongst us.
Sheila cheerfully & expertly guided us through our multi-
So, our “No lights in the hall”, turned into the “Best Group in the North”, and we both want to thank all who helped to make it special & fun.
Judith Johnson & Norma Wheeler, York SD Club
Don’t you think “No lights in the hall” and “Best Group in the North” would make
great titles for dances? -
A Case for the Great Detective Broccoli Spears
(After that last, truly head-
There’s been a murder in the kirk
So Broccoli is soon at work
To solve the awful Sunday crime –
He’ll do it in his own good time.
The body sounds like Harris’s
Who’s been visiting the parishes
Demanding folks’ attendance
And appropriate repentance.
Perhaps he’d made an assignation
With someone in the congregation
So Broccy and his spies
Are out to question alibis.
They’ve run to earth
The Duke of Perth
But he and MacLeod
Were visiting Stroud.
Then they’re on to Ian Powrie
Who’s made his tuneful, all-
Au revoir to his home town –
But he was staying with a Brown.
Where then was the Richmond Lass?
Surely she was not at Mass?
No, she, impeccably, was present
All the day at Twelve Coates Crescent.
The Cooper and his Wife
And their kids had gone to Fife
The neighbours saw them all
On the Sabbath playing ball!!
And Mrs Linnell?
Is she suspect as well?
Not so: from the talk
She’d hurried to York.*
Broccy’s at a loss
All tangled like Hugh Foss
But then he smelt pollution
And here is his solution:
The Minister had told his flock
That he was skating on the loch
(On a Sunday that’s absurd
Though they believed his every word)
But in the kirk he’d gone berserk
With a spurtle and a dirk;
He couldn’t stand the interference
So he made a Highland clearance.
*I keep on trying!
Veronica Wallace, York
BRANCH COMMITTEE 2016-
Members of the new committee are:
Allan Highet, Chairman
Chris Hare, Secretary
Lynne Brooks, Treasurer
Norma Wheeler, Minutes Secretary
OBITUARY: ALEX HODGSON (1924 – 2016)
Alex Hodgson died on February 24th. H gave great service to Scottish Country dancing having run the Wenlock Reel club from 1978 to 2010.
He was one of a steadily diminishing group of people who saw active service in World War 2. Born and educated in county Durham he joined the Royal Navy at the age of eighteen and then moved on to the Fleet Air Arm. After training in Canada he was posted to HMS Venerable in the Far East where he flew Corsairs.
After demobilisation he married Jessie in 1948. In 1950 he graduated from university with a degree in mechanical engineering. All his working life was spent working on aircraft with various firms which ultimately formed BAE. The planes that he worked on included the Buccaneer and the Harrier. He moved to North Ferriby in 1968 when his work was transferred to BAE at Brough, where he remained until he retired.
The Wenlock Reel club began at the latest in 1959. Originally it was for members
and wives of the Local TA. It was initially run by Col. Dobbs followed by Harry and
Pat Randall. Harry dropped out in 1978 following the death of Pat. This left the
club teacherless without equipment and music. Alex was persuaded to take on the class,
members produced vinyl records which were copied on to tapes and a reasonable repertoire
of dance music was assembled. Alex was keen that members should join the rscds and
helped by using the branch dance programmes as a basis for our local evenings. The
emphasis in the class was to enjoy social dancing without labouring technique. He
was presented with a well-
Outside dancing Alex had many interests ranging from gardening to fine arts and hill walking. After he retired he took up ice skating progressing through some of the earlier proficiency grades. Being able to skate backwards competently must class as being a little more difficult than poussettes or tournees!.
In later years increasing and multiple health problems did not deter him from dancing. He danced and taught as first couple in the top set until he finally retired at the age of eighty five. All of us who danced with him have very fond memories of Alex and the Thursday evenings spent with the Wenlock Reel Club.
George Edwards, Willerby
George Edwards presenting Alex Hodgson with his
Branch Award in May 2009