Winding up the Sun

(A note to readers; this posting was originally written on the 1st of May, I just haven't managed to upload it until today...)

This is nothing to do with causing colleagues to briefly hold false opinions for personal amusement, but rather, observing one of England's more amusing ancient traditions.

At dawn this morning (05:32!), the Hook Eagle Morris Men gathered outside my local to bring in the May Day dawn. If you've never seen these guys, they're not your typical Morris troupe - forget the whites and handkerchieves, their outfits comprise black shirts and trousers, frock coats with tails (for the musicians - two accordions, two violins, a tambourine and a recorder), waistcoats which look like they were made from cut-up road workers' fluorescent jackets, and top hats adorned with pheasant feathers and fox tails. To cap it all, they black their faces up and wear dark mirrorshades, so it's very much "Morris goes post-Cyberpunk". Oh, and they're serious with their sticks - they don't pull their blows, and there were some splinters flying!

About 20 folk turned out to watch, and a bunch of us (me included) were roped-in to go through one of the simpler dances ourselves. It's harder than it looks, especially if (like me) you have a slightly iffy leg. At about 06:15, Adrian the landlord opened the pub for breakfast - a bunch of the Morris Men went so far as to sink a couple of pints, although as the sun was barely up, never mind over the yardarm, I settled for a nice mug of tea.

Photos of these guys doing their stuff can be found here; their main website, with timetable of currently-scheduled appearances, is here.

Hint: Go read the docs on the website, especially if you're fond of the kind of English irony espoused by lovers of real ale.

After a busy day's work (involving a design meeting and a trip into London to present at the Intellect Security and Privacy Working Group, followed by a very enjoyable curry with the group's vice-chairmen), I was too tired even to put my "Wicker Man" DVD on when I got home...

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