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June Japes in the Quantocks

June 28, 2014

June Japes was the title of a five-day programme led by Chris Turner at Halsway Manor, national centre for traditional music and dance, in the Quantock Hills in Somerset. The musicians were Orion’s Ring, a lively father and daughter duo (Steve and Genni Wood), augmented on Wednesday evening by a visiting bassoon-player and at other times by various course members.

Halsway Manor

Halsway Manor

Halsway Manor

Halsway Manor

 

Chris Turner in one of his trademark outfits

Chris Turner in one of his trademark outfits

"Try the other left!"

“Try the other left!”

Peter and I have come home with heads full of music and feet still tapping. Three dance workshops daily, dancing every evening, afternoon walks, choir practice, band practice and all manner of silly games kept us busy.

The Rainbow Ball

The Rainbow Ball

"If you've got your back to the yurt, you're a third couple"

“If you’ve got your back to the yurt, you’re a third couple”

All were invited to contribute to the Thursday night ceilidh. Peter called his newest dance, “Bess’s Delight” (so called because Bess the dog was wandering between us as we walked it through in the kitchen at home), and he later won the Wooden Spoon for worst joke of the evening. I read this poem, written during a previous visit to Halsway.

Beeches on Quantock

sun wind sky
the scent of autumn
a dog – two dogs –
three dogs and a woman

on Thorncombe Hill
where the long-horned cattle
stare from prehistoric eyes
and the shadow of a kestrel

shivers through the grass
and a grown-out hedge
has become a procession
of dancers on the ridge

of a windswept hill
with their long grey limbs
and their sighing skirts
and their twisty arms

and the crows in their hair
as they dance on by
in the sun and the wind
and the brindled sky

Bridgwater Bay, Steepholm and the Welsh coast

Bridgwater Bay, Steepholm and the Welsh coast

Looking south west from Hurley Beacon

Looking south east from Hurley Beacon

View of Dowsborough Hill, which has an Iron Age fort at the summit

View of Dowsborough Hill, which has an Iron Age fort at the summit

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Deadwoman's Ditch, an Iron Age boundary

Deadwoman’s Ditch, an Iron Age boundary

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Foxgloves

Foxgloves

Steepholm from the coast path near Kilve

Steepholm from the coast path near Kilve

Ripening barley beside the coast path

Ripening barley beside the coast path

Oilseed rape gone to seed. A field of flax in the middle distance.

Oilseed rape gone to seed. A field of flax in the middle distance.

 

Flax

Flax

Lady's Bedstraw, Galium verum

Lady’s Bedstraw, Galium verum

Camomile, Matricaria chamomilla

Camomile, Matricaria chamomilla

 

Common red poppy, Papaver rhoeas

Common red poppy, Papaver rhoeas

 

Bee on Greater knapweed, Centaurea scabiosa

Bee on Greater knapweed, Centaurea scabiosa

Common agrimony, Agrimonia eupatoria

Common agrimony, Agrimonia eupatoria

Salsify, I think! Tragopogon porrifolius

Salsify, I think! Tragopogon porrifolius

Common mallow, Malva sylvestris

Common mallow, Malva sylvestris

 

Pyramidal orchids, Anacampsis pyramidalis

Pyramidal orchids, Anacampsis pyramidalis

Common centaury, Centaureum erythraea

Common centaury, Centaureum erythraea

Wild parsnip, Pastinaca sativa

Wild parsnip, Pastinaca sativa

Common blue butterfly, Polyommatus icarus

Common blue butterfly, Polyommatus icarus

Part of Kilve beach

Part of Kilve beach

Foxglove in the garden at Halsway Manor

Foxglove in the garden at Halsway Manor

Bee and Opium poppy in the garden

Bee and Opium poppy in the garden

 

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 2, 2014 2:40 pm

    Lovely pics of places (and flowers) I know fairly well… regarding the poem – remove the first stanza?

  2. July 5, 2014 10:15 pm

    You’ve got a point … that poem is 9 years old and overdue for editing!

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