Goodbye Chris and Sandra! 24 June 22

After eight years of running a hub of Morris Dancing in the village of Adderbury, the resident landlord and landlady Chris and Sandra are sadly retiring from The Bell Inn. We thought it was only fair to make a song and dance of it, so decided to gather on Friday evening to wish them all the best. In typical Morris fashion, after a week of fair weather it was a cloudy and blustery evening outside the Bell. Undeterred, our team and loyal supporters had come out to help wish farewell to Chris and Sandra. We started with the usual Sweet Jenny Jones and Haste to the Wedding (Flasher), followed by the Beaux of London City (Shooting), in which our youngest member Luke performed brilliantly – even better than I did at some points!

From one of our newest members to one of the longest serving – it’s at this point that I need to make special mention of Former Squire David Reed, known affectionately as ‘Dorset Dave’ and his wife Chris who had made the effort to join us. After taking the decision to move to Wales to be closer to family, this may be one of the final times we get to see them. As a token of our appreciation for everything that Dave has done for the team over the years, we presented a photobook which included memories of his time with us. There’ll be a much more in-depth thank you at a later stage, but this gift hopefully goes some way to showing how much we’ve appreciated the knowledge and wisdom passed down over the years.

Former Squire Dave Reed (Dorset Dave) front left, dancing with Ryan and next to Luke, our youngest dancer. Photo courtesy of Hannah.

After Stourton Wake, I nipped into the pub for some refreshments and I could hear the Postman’s Knock being called outside by Troy. Having fetched a refreshing lemonade, it was three pairs for Jockey to the Fair and me praying the bubbly lemonade would stay down! Of course, being a professional, all was well and John, Dylan, Troy, Owen, David and I put on a good performance despite the sloped nature of the road. At this point we invited Chris to take a quick break outside the pub to listen to our serenade of ‘Come Landlord fill the Flowing Bowl’. A song which we only pull out for very special occasions! We did offer to sing inside the pub, but for some reason Chris didn’t want a load of rowdy Morris Men with large sticks in his establishment…

Landlord Chris Shallis demonstrates his sticking skills dancing with former Squire John. Photo courtesy of Hannah.

We danced Constant Billy as per the request of our Bagman David (who had squeezed in a dance-out and a theatre trip in one evening), and it was at this point we decided to bring in the children watching and do our obligatory Shepherd’s Hey Jig. I could definitely see a lot of prospective future members for the side which is always encouraging. We began winding down with the Bluebells of Scotland, Old Woman Tossed up in a Blanket, Lads a Buncham and Hail to the Chief, and then dragged Chris away from his bar once again to dance Brighton Camp with the signed stick which we presented to him. I would say that Morris men were impacting his usual business focus, but I’m sure we made up for any distractions with our own drink orders. The coats were coming on, the clouds had rolled in and at that point it was time to draw things to a close.

Thank you to everyone who came, Donald for the music and Hannah and Dorset Dave for the photos. Really though, this thank you section needs to be for Chris and Sandra who have done so much for all Morris sides in the past eight years of running the Bell. Thank you for the pints of Hooky, lemonade, Coke and water, a place to relax post practice and the setting for our AGMs. You’ve been contributing to the side long before I even knew it existed and you truly will be missed by the team in a way that words cannot fully express. We wish you both all the best for the future, and hope to still see you around and about in the village soon. Perhaps with some free time on your hands Chris, you may consider taking up a hobby. I hear dancing is good for your physical and mental health…

Squire Ryan