I WAS enjoying a pint at the bar in the Cuddesdon Cricket Club on one of those classic English summer afternoons. It’s a fantastic small club in Oxfordshire, cricket as you would imagine it in heaven, when the sun is shining like it does in summer. Minding my own business, I just happened to glance at the blokes legs who had just strolled up to the bar and I was surprised by his huge calves. Now, just for the record I don’t rate blokes legs in any way, this was totally unintentional but I opened the conversation with, “How ya goin mate, do a bit of riding do ya?” He had no clue what the hell I was on about and just stood there.
“Bike riding mate, do ya do a bit of bike riding.” He remained confused and replied: “No, why do you ask?”
For me this was unchartered waters, I mean, what do you tell a bloke? I wasn’t checking him out, he’s an older bloke around 50 , looks fit as a bull and he takes a sip of his beer. He’s not going anywhere…he’s waiting. Oh My God. I bite the bullet, “I couldn’t help but notice the size of your calf muscles mate, do you ride a bit?”
Actually I didn’t bloody care anymore, I just wished his huge calf muscles would crank up and cart this bloke back to wherever he came from. His moustache twitches a bit, his eyes widen then he takes a defensive stance like he’s ready for anything and says, “No friend, I’m a Morris Dancer”.
OK, no worries, take it easy mate, turn back to the barmen, order another beer. That’s what I should’ve done…. “A what dancer,” I laughed and almost spilled my beer.
Right, now I realise it’s a fighting stance. “You taking the piss??” he snarls, then glances over his shoulder at two younger clones of himself stood near the door. “Boys over here,” he beckons to them.
Morris dancers? What the hell are Morris dancers? I glance around the room and I notice the locals are all grinning, they know what Morris dancers are. Maybe they are some sort of Ninja dancing Poms that fuse martial arts with poetry and are both feared and worshipped in these parts. It was time to pull out the good ol’ ‘get out of jail card’ I have used so many times.
“Nah mate, I’m not from round here! I’m an Aussie. So, what is this … Boris dancing?”
“Morris,” he snarls again. Wow, he is gunna need some serious talking down.
“These are my sons Christopher and Michael, we are all Morris dancers”. They surround me and decide I need educating in the ways of Morris dancing.
Three beers later I can safely say these guys are complete weirdos, who dance around like fairies, ringing bells and throwing hankies at each other. But those spine crushing calf muscles ward me from voicing my opinion and I laugh along with my new found friends and enjoy another beer in this beautiful but crazy place known as England.