send you Seasonal Greetings.
Last year we
carried out our traditional Christmas events: the
Companions’ party; and our
“Carols and Capers” tour to the
White Horse, Newnham Avenue; The
Five Bells, Cople; The Anchor, Great Barford; and The
On Boxing Day, we danced on
Bedford Embankment and then at the Swan Hotel, where we
introduced the formal proceedings by singing the Boar's
The New Year started with
our annual Plough Monday Plough Play tour - we started
at the Wellington Arms; moved to
the Three Cups,
and then the Cricketers.
In February, we performed at an 80th
birthday party at the Horse and Groom at Clapham, they
wanted a group that was of similar age!
early March we joined Letchworth Morris at their
energetic Ale, and in mid May, we joined Aldbury Morris
at their Ale.
The Summer Season started on what was expected to be a
wet May Morning.
However, at 6.30 a.m. the rain abated and
Bedford, Offley and Letchworth Morris Men sang the May
Carol and the Northill May Song.
A selection of Morris dances followed, although
drizzle returned for the Folk Dances for all.
Museum was filming for
Archive footage on local customs, prior to attending the
Unfortunately, due to heavy rain and flooded car
parking, that event was cancelled for the first time in
We danced a full Wednesday evening
summer programme, despite some less than ideal
On the first Wednesday in
May, we made our traditional first outing to the Fox and
Hounds at Riseley.
not the warmest evening, we were greeted by a large
crowd as it would also be almost the last event for our
host, Jan Zielinski, who was retiring after some twenty
Once again we were
refreshed by the barrel of beer that Jan so very kindly
provided and he later joined us for some favourite songs
until closing time.
the next four May Wednesdays, we visited the Carpenter’s
Arms, Cranfield; the Horse and Groom, Clapham; the Three
Cranes, Turvey; and the Wheatsheaf, Bow Brickhill, where
we were welcomed by Andy Malleson and Jonathan Ginn who
joined with the musicians to play for some of the
We were also visited by an
“Shag” Graetz, from Pinewoods MM in USA.
In late May we helped out on
Channel 5’s “Cowboy Builders”.
The householder was Michael
Snow, a former member of Standon Morris Men, the
producers had noticed an arch of Morris sticks in a
wedding photograph - and thought a similar “surprise”
should be staged.
After hiding round the
corner, we made an arch of sticks when they came out,
and we then danced for them.
Little escaped the cutting
room floor, but we had a few moments of “fame”!
Jubilee season: Angus Darling and Ray Horner gave a
“teach in” for a charity event at the
and on the first Wednesday, we danced at the Sun Inn,
Felmersham, and then on the next Wednesdays, at the
Victoria, Wilden [a new venue]; the Five Bells, Cople;
and the Polhill Arms, Renhold.
Also in June,
representatives attended the
of Dean Morris Men’s
In July we danced at
Bedford Arms, Souldrop and then in the middle of the
month, we attended the
Letchworth Ring Meeting to help
celebrate their 90th Anniversary.
Wednesday we were at the Bell, Odell, where we had both sun and heavy
rain showers, but were treated to an excellent rainbow,
as can be seen on the back of our card.
Our final night of the
season was a Thursday, so that we could join Letchworth
MM at the
Stone Jug, Clophill.
In October, we celebrated our 80th
Anniversary with a Day of Dance.
It was based at the Bedford Guild House,
conveniently in the town centre.
Our guests included Anker MM from Nuneaton; East
Surrey MM; Letchworth MM; and Manchester MM; the Past
Squire of The Morris Ring, Bob Cross, and Paul Cross,
both from Chalice MM, who had joined us for our trip to
Erlinsee in Germany, a couple of years earlier, also
Some of our guests arrived on Friday evening for supper
in the Guild House and a few beers at the Wellington.
The majority arrived on Saturday morning, either
to join us for breakfast, or for coffee and doughnuts.
A number of Bedford Men who had moved away, or
are now out less frequently, including Arthur Ronald;
Towns and Peter Davey
attended in kit and swelled our ranks.
There were two morning spots: in Church Square and outside the Harpur
Centre, before we visited the 35th Bedford
Beer Festival, where we danced and had a lunch of
We also felt obliged to sample some of the beers!
In the afternoon, we danced outside Marks and
and finally, outside the Swan Hotel.
Refreshments in the form of tea and cakes were
available back at the Guild House, but most took further
liquid refreshment at the
Whilst a spot for dancing was available, it seems
all felt enough dancing had been done.
However, music was played and songs were sung
with many enthusiastic choruses.
We then returned to the Guild House for our Feast.
Many more former Bedford Men attended, indeed
some had been following us in Bedford during the day,
including: Philip Cambers; Derek Collins; Doug
Greenwell; Bruce Garner; Hugh Hamer; Roger Nicholls;
Geoff Nichollson; Mike Sargeant; David Towns and Graham
The main hall of the Guild House had been suitably
decorated, with the tables decked in orange and blue,
and “80” sprinkles, formal Menu Cards and a turned
wooden “Bierdeckel” [tankard cover] for each attendee as
a souvenir of the occasion.
The excellent meal provided by Joanna Daye and
her team, comprised: Avocado à la Grecque; Ragoût of
Jersey Beef; a selection of home made puddings; and a
superb choice of “real” cheeses.
Three barrels of a draught “Real Ale”,
Inclined Plane from the Langton Brewery, lubricated
the attendees. Various
toasts and short speeches followed, including one from
the guest of honour, Councillor Sylvia Gillard, Speaker
of Bedford Borough Council.
The Loving Cup was passed with due ceremony
whilst songs were sung.
The tables were cleared and dancing followed,
with many of our visiting members dancing and Roger
Nicholls joining the massed band.
Later in October, we danced two shows for the Apple Day
event at Bromham Mill, in front of record crowds - it
had stopped raining for a while - quite an event - but
the drizzle returned once we had finished!!
Our practice season is now in full swing, at
Ravensden Village Hall on Wednesday evenings at 8.15pm.
In November, representatives
visited Anker MM in Nuneaton for their excellent Ale, with good companionship,
five beers from the Church End brewery and a substantial
supper, and energetic dancing.
Our AGM will be held early next
“Carols and Capers” Border tour will be on the Thursday
just before Christmas and we anticipate performing at
the Fine Companions Party the next evening.
On Boxing Day we will be on Bedford Embankment
and then at the Swan Hotel.
In the New Year we will be performing our Plough
Monday Mummers’ play.
The dates and venues [as available] are listed on
our Winter Programme.
We thank our “hosts” for their generosity, tolerance and
friendship through the year, and hope to see friends old
and new, this Winter season and next year.
Meanwhile, to you all, Wassail, and a
very Happy Christmas and peaceful New Year,
For details of how to
join Bedford Morris Men;
information on events; or to check dates/times for the
Ian Daye -
Email: email@example.com - or visit
For Archive information
[items always welcomed]: -
John Frearson - Email: