I was exhibiting at the Eastwood Expo yesterday, which is mainly an event for local authors to promote their work - fantastic. The event was at the lovely Beauvale Priory which is close to us, but we previously hadn't visited. We'll definately be back though - the priory remains are interesting,. and there's a lovely tea room serving high teas, which also hosts a summer beer festival. As well at the exhibitors there was quite a lot of entertainment - my favourite being the black pig border morris dancers. The woman at the stall next to me kept urging me to go outside and look at the morris dancers, and I was just "yeah, yeah" but I'm really glad I did - don't think traditional morris dancers, think "steam punk" brightly and chaotically dress, covered in feathers and ribbons with blacked out faces, playing their own instruments and attempting to thrash each other with massive sticks - Hugely entertaining.
Apparently the tradition was started by farmers, who needed to earn money, once the harvesting was done. They would tour the pubs and turn their jackets inside out and decorate them with ribbons and scraps of materials. They would black their faces so that they weren't recognised by the church, who were disapproving of people having fun.
The Black Pig Border Morris dancers were all really friendly guys, and are well worth checking out