Posts Tagged ‘dancing in street’

St George and the Dragon in Ulverston Market Town

April 24, 2010

St George and the Dragon

Still fighting the good fight!


Crowds gather for the fun — St George and the Dragon!

Me Dance, Daddy

Cleaned up and ready to dance

Face painting for the cross of St George — well it's just like lipstick in the wrong place!

Cake stall — lots of other things to eat too!

Victoria School Jazz band — what a treat for St George's day!

In town today there is a Festival of St George going on — brass band, Victoria High School Jazz Band, Morris dancing, entertainers, plus the slaying of a huge dragon — lots of colour, sound and smells. Most of the smells coming from vendors of burgers and such. There are stalls selling just about everything, including cuddly life size toy animals. I saw one small boy struggling to carry a lifelike Collie dog. I wondered what would happen to it. Would it be a hassle-free pet to keep him company and someone to tell his troubles to, or will the novelty quickly pass and it become tossed aside with discarded toys ready for the next table-top sale?
As I write this, people are gathering in town for all the fun and games. Bread is piled high on one stall, cakes on another. There are canopied tables with meat, sausages, sweets, books, handicrafts, toys — you name it, you are bound to find it. Right now, musicians and dancers will be performing with children bobbing around longing to join in — and not only children, oldies like me find it hard to be restrained and ladylike. St George’s Day in Ulverston is mainly for families with fun and treats for the children.
Why celebrate St George? Such strange legends have little meaning today unless we all realise that we have a dragon within us — a mixture of greed, intolerance, envy, hatred — which the St George part of our personality needs to overcome. Surely this is something we should think about as we face hard times ahead.

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The Band Played On… by Gladys Hobson

August 13, 2008

The Band Played On.

In the sunny Market Square, the silver band of twenty-eight red-faced elderly gentlemen gave a lively rendition of the Floral Dance, oblivious to the movement of shoppers at nearby stalls and tourists snapping photographs in front of them.
Children, bored with standing at stalls while their mothers looked for bargains, drew closer to the band intrigued by the hand movements that produced the jolly sound. One boy did a good impression of the trombonist, another lad puffed his cheeks and laboured at producing a sound from his invisible euphonium. Little girls laughed and tapped their feet. Before long, more children joined in, with watching adults smiling, tapping and clapping to the merry beat.
A weathered elderly gentleman, with long white beard wagging in tune with the music, began singing:
‘We danced to the band with the curious tone
Of the cornet, clarinet and big trombone…’
The Floral Dance, now in full swing, more girls were dancing and swinging each other round and around while others jigged about doing their own thing.
The music came to an end, but the crowd hooped and yelled for more.
The conductor bowed, turned to the band and raised his baton.
The white-headed, bearded gent took off his coat, threw it over the nearest stall and started singing again, his elbows keeping time with the music.
Shoppers left the stalls and gathered round; smiling, laughing and clapping while their children merrily danced or imitated the musicians and singer:
‘Dancing here, prancing there,
Jigging, jogging ev’rywhere…’
Market smells of fruit and vegetables, the scent of flowers, young women’s perfume, old ladies’ talc’, sweat, soap and aftershave, mingling with fresh air breezes; rainbow colours of summer clothing, moving sights and sounds — all swelling up to entrance and befuddle minds and bodies. Not one person immune to the hypnotic beat:
‘Bassoon, flute and euphonium≤…’
Maggie pulled away from the hand holding hers, and ran forward to join the dancing children in the cobbled square. Round and round, arms waving in time with the beat, laughing and singing the words she could easily remember:
‘Dancing here, dancing there…’
The crowd clapped and sang with her. Maggie’s movements became more intricate while retaining the essential simplicity of country dancing. Girls began imitating her and before long the market place became a throbbing beat of music, clapping and dancing feet. Heated musicians played on, mesmerised by what they had created.
‘Each one making the most of his chance
Altogether in the Floral Dance.’
Round and round and roun…
The crowd hushed, the music petered out, children stopped dancing.
The bearded, elderly man ran forward and fell to his knees by the side of the fallen fragile lady. ‘Are you hurt, Maggie?’
She opened her eyes. ‘Lovely, wasn’t it, daddy?’
‘Yes, my darling, you danced beautifully.’
‘I want…’
Maggie’s eyes closed. The elderly man put an arm under her shoulders and held the old lady to his chest, wiping away long strands of grey hair from her wrinkled face. Tears ran down his cheeks.
A large muscular man from the vegetable stall came forward. ‘I’ll carry her into the chemist’s for you, mate.’
The crowd, no longer hushed, parted and made way for the carried woman.
‘I’ve called an ambulance,’ someone told the old man as they entered the chemist’s shop.
The old man nodded his gratitude but his eyes told those present that nothing would bring his wife back to life again. Even through his tears, he smiled. ‘She loved to dance and sing, you know. The dementia didn’t rob her of everything.’
Outside the band began to play, We’ll Gather Lilacs.
‘That’s our tune. We sang it at our wedding reception.’ He drew in a deep breath and said in a determined manner, ‘Could I have a drink of water please?’
He sat on the chair placed beside his wife, now stretched out on a couch at the back of the shop, and hummed to the music of the band. He took the glass of water being passed to him, shook tablets from a small bottle he’d taken from his jacket pocket, and threw them into the back of his mouth, swallowing them down with the liquid. Then he took his wife’s hand and began to sing in a croaking voice:
‘We’ll gather lilacs in the spring again…’
His quivering voice petered out as his body slumped to the floor.

For books by Gladys Hobson (some in pen names) go to:
http://www.magpiesnestpublishing.co.uk where you can read samples of her work.
Also visit http://writingforjoy.blogspot.com for her other blog and
http://www.myspace.com/gladyswrites to both read and hear stories.
Her latest book, ‘Awakening Love’ can be ordered from Amazon and all good bookshops.