01 July, 2011


The semi-detached mind bells the morrisman

To a lovely little township by the Thames, which I shall not embarrass by naming, where some Morris Men were in evidence. They had concluded their curious ritual before I arrived and they had then repaired en masse to a local hostelry for refreshments. From time to time the tinkling of bells could be heard as the Morrisists wandered round the pub, still wearing their dancing kit.

As I contemplated this curious sound, the semi-detached mind leaned across, as he does, and whispered that Morris Men were compelled to dress in this way, with bells strapped to their calves, in order to stop them creeping up on virgins. Apparently the music, dancing and most especially the clacking of sticks was apt to inflame their passions, overpowering normal civilized self-restraint.

Personally, I think the SDM is pulling my plonker, as the vulgar hoi polloi are wont to express it, but you never can tell.

Possible virgin-ambushing proclivities excepted, the Morrisites seem a harmless enough bunch. The only thing that annoys me about them is their habit, on completion of their bizarre gyrations, of coming round with the collecting hat. Rather like those bands of gyppos who wander round during the the al fresco season with their fiddles and accordions, play three or four bars of a popular tune wherever groups of people are gathered, then send a child round with an upturned tambourine. Come off it! I don't expect strangers to fund my bizarre hobbies, which I have the common decency to practise in private anyway.

I am prepared to fund them with a florin or three occasionally because, for reasons unknown, they upset the Guardianista like few other things on this island of ours.

You should try a loyalist band parade in Northern Ireland. Same schtick with the collecting tins but a much more, erm, 'vibrant' atmosphere.

We went to the Old Swan in Thames Ditton last week. Lovely, although it would have been nice to see one or two English staff. Not that there's anything wrong with Anna from Stettin, of course - very sweet girl.

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