The Lone Morris

We are indebted to the Bourne River Morris Men for this.
There has been much talk recently of Lone Morris, in which a single dancer performs in his or her own garden, as a means to maintain fitness and continuity of the Morris.
Following recent clarification of Government guidelines, it seems there may be scope to maintain a more familiar form of Cotswold Morris at least, and the following is offered for consultation.
Obviously we must respect the need to avoid non-essential outings. The Government has recognised that exercise is a necessary and permitted activity, and since, for many if not most dancers, Morris dancing includes an element of exercise this should be acceptable under current rules.
The second requirement is to limit the frequency to one such activity per day. Since most sides are completely knackered after one practice per week, this should again be easily met.
Since shopping for essential supplies is also permitted, it may be permissible to include a brief dance stand on the way to, or perhaps from, the supermarket to get a six-pack and a couple of bottles of ale. Supermarkets and other stores are not yet banning entry to customers with tankards, although these should be empty on entrance and much preferably also on exit.
We must also, of course, maintain the two-metre separation rule. This will bring a few wry smiles from Foremen who will undoubtedly point out that when they call for a wide set, this time they bloody well mean it and are backed up by Her Majesty’s Government.
It has been pointed out that, due to greatly increased separation in the set, some dancers might not be able to hear the music. Upon consultation, the overwhelming majority of musicians observed that most of the dancers took no bloody notice of the music anyway and they really couldn’t see this being a problem.
Stick dances bring a particular set of challenges. It was noted that, with a two metre separation, the machine gun rattle of sticking so characteristic of many dances would not be readily achievable with the average two-foot stick.
Dance historians have suggested that this might be an opportunity to reverse the decline of earlier stave or pike dances, in which a mere two metres is easily achieved.
The Royal Air Force have also asked that versions of Skirmish be avoided since, due the extra length, the tips of vigorously wielded sticks might exceed the speed of sound and they do not wish to get the blame for any consequent sonic booms.
Risk assessments have highlighted possible problems keeping spectators at safe distances. Meeting risk assessment requirements is a particular issue for some teams, who are not used to having spectators at all, let alone interfacing with them. For other teams the prospect of having spectators, and telling them to go further away, is proving difficult to reconcile and it may be necessary to seek further advice and counselling.
Hanky dances generally offer fewer problems. A warning has been issued to the effect that less fit dancers should consider avoiding corner dances since, due to the longer distances, they might run out of puff before they reach the other corner.
One issue yet to be resolved is the current requirement for over-70s to remain isolated at home until further notice. Due to age demographics, this may reduce some sides to one member dancing jigs in their back garden to a Sony Walkman.

Xmas Day of Dance 2019

Our annual festive tour on London’s South Bank accompanied by Greenwich Morris, Marlings (Edenbridge,Kent), Neap House (somewhere oop north) and Old Palace Clog (Croydon).

More pictures and video to follow

The Bridge saluted us just before we started dancing
Team effort twixt Greenwich, Neap House and North Wood with Brian on the pipe.
Greenwich Morris Men in Hay’s Galleria.
Old Palace Clog at London Bridge Pier
Marlings at London Bridge Pier
We weren’t the old ones dressed up
Contemporary architecture taken from the Thameside Inn
All too much for our Squire!
Marlings at the Golden Hinde

Dancing with Old Palace after their delightful audience participation.

London Marathon, April 28th 2019

We were pleased to be part of the Marathon entertainment (and to get a passing audience of 40,000 – a record for North Wood!). Old Palace Clog (from Croydon) and members of the Greenwich Morris Men joined us for our own marathon of almost five hours of dance.


Brian Stewart pipes the runners on their way


Mick O’Leary and Roger Hill dancing Nutting Girl


We are indebted to our supporter Anne Whitehouse for capturing this shot. A runner bearing what appeared to be a club or similar, leapt out from the race, clashed sticks a couple of times with Mick O’leary (left) then rejoined the throng.


The amazing Old Palace Clog acceleration tunnel. Weary runners entered the tunnel at one end and exited from the other at the speed of sound (well, nearly)

The RoseTree (with unsuspecting innocent bystander held aloft)

St.Dunstans Church, Cranbrook, November 11th 2018

We were invited to dance in St Dunstans church in Cranbrook as part of the Remembrance commemorations.


St Dunstan’s Church
Mick O’Leary (left) and Stephen Collingwood dance Nutting Girl, Brian Collins piping.
Dancing our only imported dance “Cuckoo’s Nest”. In the foreground David Williams (left) and Mick O’Leary.

Left to right: Jeanette Stewart, Jon Wimhurst, Andy Ellis, Brian Stewart, Mick O’Leary, Stephen Collingwood, Brian Collins and David Williams
The inimitable Brian Collins

Castle Inn at Chiddingstone, September 23rd 2018

Dancing “Rosetree” with unsuspecting member of the public.

Left to right: Brian Tasker, David Williams, Jon Wimhurst, “Alisa” (held aloft), Stephen Collingwood, Andy Ellis (minus waistcoat, don’t ask) and Mick O’Leary. A camera shy Brian Stewart is hiding behind David, top hat just visible.

We are indebted to Peter Taylor for providing the photographs.

Last orders at the Bree Louise

The Bree Louise, near Euston station, was a proper pub. Over a dozen ales, home made pies and none of that fruit machine nor background music nonsense.

Sadly it was in the path of the HS2 project and scheduled for demolition.

The North Wood Morris had the sweet sorrow of performing there on the 27th January 2018 – the day before the last pint was pulled.

Left to right: Jon Wimhurst, Andy Ellis, David Williams, Brian Stewart (recorder), Roger Hill, Janette Stewart (drums), Stephen Collingwood (The Squire)

Part 1 featuring the following dances:-

  • Saturday Night (hanky) – our usual opening number.
  • Country Gardens (two sticks)
  • Valentine (hanky)
  • Young Collins (stick – including throwing!)

Part 2 with the following

  • Balance The Straw (stick) – with a guest Morris Man who happened to be in the pub.
  • Bromsberrow Heath (short stick) – with audience participation
  • Cuckoo’s Nest (stick) – a Canadian import!
  • Bonny Green Garter (hanky) – the traditional closing dance for Cotswold style sides.

With a big thank-you to our friend Anne Whitehouse for this video.