ELEVEN O’CLOCK saw us once again on “The Village Green” at The Shepton Mallet Show Ground where, to a hugely enthusiastic crowd of at least a dozen people (including Colin’s younger family members, James’s father, and a couple of our more obviously encouraging wives), we performed a very tidy set - the approbation for which brought about intermittent sunshine for most of the day until about 4.30 pm when rain set in.

Intermittent periods of dance precision were interspersed with some interesting improvisational meanderings by certain nameless members of the side during the afternoon set, after some hearty interim real ale consumption. The responses from the crowd - now augmented by a goodly number of real people - were as enthusiastic as were the attempts from the side to bring the wandering miscreant dancers into line. Cheering… or jeering? Whatever… We all agreed that, overall, our performance was worthy of public exhibition - as did the organisers of the Village Green programme, who intimated that our presence will be desired next year, member survival rates allowing.

On, then, to the Cider Tent and the now traditional out-of-season Wassail. This year’s spirit-meddling ritual, we believe, will bear serious fruit this coming Autumn if the proliferate orchard blossom, the dignity and application of Alice, our Wassail Queen, the quality of the rendering of The Gloucester Wassail and the noisy enthusiasm of the assembled cider aficionados (James and his father included) is in any way indicative. Must have been a reasonable harvest after our efforts last season, as the generosity of the producers threatened to overwhelm… Jugs of cider overflowed… Pretty darned good, as was “The Hollow Tree” and “The Rose.”

This curiously improvised and aberratively-timed version of the January festival left us all feeling rather pleased with the days efforts. The justification (or otherwise) for our satisfaction rests with the public, most of whom have remained silent on the matter…

Another great day out for us all.