THEBUS, PHOEBE & ME

or

The World is my Lobster........I never did like oysters

                                                                                     

 

 

RICHMOND AND THE LONG SWORD DANCING

 

Phoning the council before hand to check on parking for the day I was told to use the Nuns Street Carpark, as I often have difficulty with Strict Lady not recognising street names I asked for the post code, so with that duly set we started out.

 

Starting early meant it was still dark and also pretty foggy, which as were would be on some motorways was not very nice, but I consoled myself with the idea that fog is sometimes more unpleasant in the daylight anyway.

 

We arrived just gone seven to quiet streets, but Strict Lady is playing me up just lately and insisted I went down a very narrow street to the carpark.  As everyone was still in bed that early on a Saturday morning the cars were parked thickly on both sides, with the result that once again I had to turn around in a space really not long enough to do so.  Still we escaped and I parked up to see what was going on.  Google Earth didn’t seem to want to oblige either, and in the end there was nothing for it but to set out on foot to reccie the situation.  Yes - the carpark was there at the end of a perfectly wide enough street, goodness only knows why she endlessly wants me to go down the narrowest street available.  I was thinking of buying a Snooper (a different brand of Sat Nav), but just today someone told me his was dreadful!!!

 

So we parked up and I went to pay. When I had phoned beforehand to check where to park Thebus I had been told I would need to pay for the number of spaces I was taking up, which I consider fair in any case, but for some reason the machine kept rejecting one of the pound coins.  Now the total cost was eight pounds for two spaces.  I had eight pounds in change, but not enough to cover the rejected coin.  I read just the other day that to say you have gone for change is not an acceptable reason if you get a parking ticket.  And knowing that for some reason motors homes are particularly disliked in tourist towns, plus it was a Beer Festival as well as the Sword Dancing Championships I did not dare risk just paying for one space, so had to put in six pounds and when I returned later another eight pounds when I had some more change.  Why tourist towns in the Britain dislike motorhomes is beyond me. By the time I had paid the parking, had something to eat and drink, visited a couple of the tourist attractions, gone to the festival and made a couple of donations to people who were collecting for good causes, plus done some shopping  I would have thought I had made quite a reasonable addition to the local economy.

 

Still Richmond is a most attractive town.  It is based on a castle, which although I got my ticket to go in I didn’t actually look round, as I was worried I would miss out on the Sword Dancing which was the main reason for my coming to the town.  Not long after I had arrived there were several loud bangs which sounded like a cannon going off, I presumed at the castle and I wondered if it was part of the festival, but though I asked a couple of folks I met with blank looks and apparently no-one else seemed to have heard them.  

 

So with the castle unvisited I went along to the market hall where I hoped some of the dancers would be performing, and I was lucky, several groups had their practice dances in there and having watched their performances I have decided I have a penchant for Yorkshire Sword Dances.  And the dances they call rapper as well.  Rapper is not what one normally associates with that word in these modern times, and I would guess it comes from a corruption of  the word rapier, which are pointed but not edged swords.  The dances are performed either with a flat metal band with handles or flat wooden staves, and the dancers form a sort of endless chain with each other which writhes and twists, as the dance goes on its convoluted way.  It is not a dance one can easily describe, but I did manage to take a few video clips of the dancing.  

 

In between the dances, I popped back to Phoebe to check she was alright, plus have a warm up myself, as though it was now a beautifully sunny day, there was a real nip in the air, and sitting on the scooter makes my knees very stiff and cold - I must see if I can get something warm to cover them.

 

The town of Ripon is full of old world charm, and I would have liked to have stayed on longer and look around, perhaps I will call back another time.  Surrounding the castle are quaint alleys and side roads, all cobbled , and flanked by charming cottages and houses, neatly kept and many with pretty gardens and flower tubs fronting the streets.  Once again the town is centred on a vast cobbled market place, the boundaries of which mark the original line of the outer bailey castle walls, and an active and interesting market is still held there with a good fishmonger, excellent cheeses, home made breads, and fresh vegetables to name but a few.  And the town shops themselves are well worth visiting

 

On a different note (note the double pun) I remember as a child singing The Lass of Richmond Hill, which I always assumed referred to Richmond in London but apparently it was written in the eighteenth century by Leonard McNally who courted and married a Frances l’Anson, who’s grandparents lived in here in Richmond at Hill House.

 

 

 

The Lass of Richmond Hill

 

On Richmond Hill there lives a lass

More bright than May-day morn,

Whose charms all others maids' surpass,

A rose without a thorn.

 

This lass so neat,

With smiles so sweet,

Has won my right good will.

I'd crowns resign to call thee mine,

Sweet lass of Richmond Hill!

Sweet lass of Richmond Hill,

Sweet lass of Richmond Hill,

I'd crowns resign to call thee mine,

Sweet lass of Richmond Hill!

 

Ye zephyrs gay that fan the air,

And wonton through the grove,

O whisper to my charming fair,

I die for her I love

 

How happy will the shepherd be

Who calls this nymph his own!

O may her choice be fix'd on me!

Mine's fix'd on her alone.