On the May Bank Holiday we made our customary pilgrimage across Port Meadow, up and over Wytham Woods, across Swinford Bridge, to Eynsham, to see the local Morris dancers bring in the May. After so much rain, Wytham Woods was an almost fluorescent green, the last of the bluebells looking bedraggled and sorry for themselves in the mud.
Though we were quite dry and found a rare pool of sunshine to sit in, our picnic in the woods (and the music of one solitary cuckoo) was interrupted by ominous claps of thunder. When we emerged through Swinford Gate the sky had gone quite black. Forked lightning skewered the horizon and a strange vortex of cloud whirled about our heads as if it were the end of days. Counting the gap between lightning flashes and thunder we worked out that the storm was still a few miles away and but for a few drips it passed us by. Nevertheless, its ferocity earned it a mention in the press.
A storm is probably not the best time to investigate a hollow tree, but Taranis had other things on his mind and we were safe.
Eynsham Morris seemed genuinely pleased to see us. It's a strange thing, but their annual home gig goes almost unnoticed. Only fifteen or so locals assembled to see them. Barely anyone from the Oxford Folk scene was there. And yet, buoyed up by the recent influx of young blood, or perhaps driven by the crackling electricity of the storm, they danced as if their lives depended on it, thumping the ground with their boots and thwacking their sticks together so hard that sparks flew.
Eynsham are the real deal. It's a special thing that they do. Next year, why not come and see for yourselves? Up the May!