I have to admit to feeling quite a sense of adventure before setting off to Upton – my first time there, not quite knowing what to expect with reports of floods and a change of camping venue, and armed with what felt like only a sketchy knowledge of most of the dances! By the time I arrived on Friday night, most of the Crook side were settled in to their assorted ‘homes’ for the weekend and many had gathered at Martyn and Jen’s where wine and conversation were in full flow till the early hours of the morning.
Saturday dawned without rain, thankfully, and the bus laid on to take people in and out of Upton soon filled up with dancers and musicians of all shapes, sizes and kit. To an unknowing outsider, it must have looked an unusual sight travelling by! After Crook’s show dance spot at the Kings Head, where I was happy to just watch and soak up the atmosphere, I was soon persuaded to join in at the Swan and the Plough. (It’s funny how quickly you pick up the names and locations of the pubs in Upton!) Sunday was a much brighter day weather wise and we started the day dancing again outside the Kings Head, with more of an audience, whilst waiting to take up position as the honour guard for the procession, which we only just made in time! Later in the day we danced March Past from Eynsham, and just about disappeared in a cloud of dust outside the Swan. The rapper side had two successful dance spots over the weekend – though they did take place at the coldest, draughtiest spot in Upton, so the rest of us had to huddle together to watch. It was worth it though!
Unfortunately, Saturday evening’s fancy dress party had to be cancelled, as there was no room for our gazebo. Not to be downhearted though, most people headed into Upton and met up at the Swan for the music session. A curry was organised for Sunday evening and a much appreciated bottle of fizz was produced by Simon to christen my van! Several of us then headed into Upton for the ceilidh with Steam Chicken and a certain well known caller. Our singing of John Ball, from the top deck of the bus, earned us a round of applause from the lower deck. The singing continued as we wandered through Upton – but wasn’t considered good enough to get us free entry to the ceilidh, despite our best efforts! Plans to heckle Martyn didn’t come to much as we all threw ourselves into the dancing.
Monday morning’s rain meant no more dancing for us. After making sure that all our vehicles were safely out of any danger of mud, Jen served up coffee before we all said our various goodbyes and began the journey homewards.
Despite the weather related problems, we had a great time. And if, as several people said, that Upton is usually better than it was this year, then I can’t wait till next year!!