As Squire of Crook Morris, Rique originally organised a tour that centred solely around tea shops – not the usual as you might imagine, but his passion. However, after consideration he thought he might get lynched so he conceded by swapping the last tea shop for a pub.
Firstly, we congregated outside Jumping Jenny, the tea shop attached to 'Brantwood', on the shores of Coniston Water. We were bathed in watery autumnal sunshine (lucky, as it rained heavily the day before and the day after!). We enjoyed a backdrop of the Old Man topped with a grey whispy hat plus the steam launch Gondola chugging elegantly up and down the lake. Get the picture, have I set the scene enough?
Suitably replenished with hot coffee, tea, bacon butties and the like we danced for an intrepid outdoor café audience and those folk momentarily diverted from their intended visit to Brantwood, in a sort of 2 for 1 cultural exchange.
Having enjoyed ourselves so much we moved on to the second venue, the Lakeland Motor Museum at Backbarrow. We danced outside the café again, keeping our sticks and unbridled enthusiasm at a safe distance from the gleaming chrome and lovingly polished bodies of vintage Rolls Royce, MG and other motors from a bye-gone age. Some of us took the opportunity to get a closer look and paid the entrance fee, the rest of us stuffed our faces again!
Once more with feeling … off to the Strickland Arms, a pub which also has a good reputation for food, that sits aside a quiet road by the Sizergh Estate. We were pleased to be met by 2 of Crook’s founder members, now Honorary Members, Colin and Margo, who were feeling a little nostalgic for the sound of English concertina, melodeon, fiddle and drum, the clashing of sticks, the crisp flicking of hankies, nifty footwork and the usual Crook bon homie. In exchange they offered up apples for the picking from their walled garden, a place where we have languished on many occasions, enjoying their hospitality and pick-me-up after all the hard work at the end of our legendary Weekends of Dance. (Watch this space for details of our 30th Anniversary Weekend do in July 2011.)
The day ended with Crookites sauntering off into the pub for the usual music session, well earned rest and a glass or two, I think I heard mutterings of “at last”.
All proceeds from the day are ear-marked for the Pakistan Flood Disaster Appeal being organised by a friend of Crook - Richard Hannah, from Upton upon Severn in Worcestershire. We are grateful to be able to contribute £120. Well done and thanks one and all for your contribution to a great Squires Tour.
Photos thanks to Martyn and Jen