Happy May Day

2006-05-01

in Oxford, Travel

Morris Dancing on May Day

Happy Birthday Roham Alvandi

This morning’s May Day celebrations, which I attended with Kai and Roz, were interesting and unique. They felt like a special glimpse into parts of England never seen: what I might have experienced if I had succeeded in finding a Guy Fawkes Day celebration, in the fall. Up near the northern end of the Port Meadow, we watched the early Morris Dancing in the cold and drizzle. Unlike whatever was happening at the Magdalen Bridge, this was a largely suburban affair: adults with umbrellas and a smattering of children clearly taking more or less well to the rain and early hour. At the end of the dancing there was a straightforward participatory dance that reminded me a great deal of the kind of square dancing we used to do as part of gym class in high school.

Roz and I left the celebration after a cup of coffee to wander southwards and see a bit more of what was going on. There was more Morris Dancing on Broad Street, as well as fairly large numbers of people outside everywhere. Remarkably for England at an odd hour, all the pubs were open. Indeed, after watching some energetic and potent drumming at the corner beside Carfax Tower for a while, we stopped at Freud’s for a 9:00am glass of champagne on the way home, as is apparently one of many interlocking traditions here.

Having decided to simply stay up for the 6:00am departure, I didn’t find myself able to keep staying up. Problematically, my intended short nap ended in mid-afternoon. It is time, then, to re-deploy to the SSL and carry on reading about the end of the Cold War (which we all know Ronald Reagan won singlehandedly). Thankfully, my productivity last night wasn’t entirely confined to reading The Economist and fixing hundreds of posts in the new WordPress blog: I also charted out the outline of my thesis presentation for tomorrow afternoon.

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