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pdcawley (485)

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Journal of pdcawley (485)

Wednesday May 01, 2002
04:10 AM

What time did I call that?

[ #4570 ]

Hal an Tow!
Jolly Rumbelow
We were up
long before the day o!
To welcome in the summer
To welcome in the May o!
For Summer is a coming in
And Winter's gone away o!

So, at 5.30 this morning I was stood on top of the castle mound at Laxton with a bunch of morris dancers and other assorted nutters greeting the sunrise with a song.

And it was grand. Getting up to greet the sun on May morning is an old, old English tradition, and it's still done all over this island, at Padstow, Bampton, almost anywhere that has a morris side and probably hosts of other places that I don't know about.

There is something quite magical about watching the sun come up on a beautiful morning. The clouds lifted, the sun came up, we sang Hal An Tow and the morrismen danced a few dances, and an hour or so later, as the wind blew in a nasty looking front to hide the sun again, we scattered to our cars and headed off to work.

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  • Umm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Matts (1087) on 2002.05.01 5:09 (#7780) Journal
    Boy did you ever get lucky with the weather! Given the stormy week, I was damned surprised to wake up to sunshine this morning.
    • It's May day. It happens. It was raining in Newark by the time I caught the train. There was a certain amount of good natured complaining as we trudged up the hill 'til someone pointed out that it could be worse. It could have been yesterday.
  • It looks like a very nice tradition, I'd love to get to see it once. Of course around here we have different traditions that I'd hate to miss. Today we had circa 2.5 million people in the streets (almost a million in Paris itself, where it was totally mind-boggling) to protest.

    It happens every year, but this year is the record since the liberation. It was so moving I almost cried.


    -- Robin Berjon []

  • Being easily influenced in my musical choices first thing in the morning, reading your journal sent me running for the Oyster Band recording of "Hal An Tow" which I then bounced around to a few times before lunch.

    And then this evening whilst I was catching up with last night's BBC 4 Martin Carthy documentary, it included a version by the Watersons that I'd never heard before. And that was even better.

    Thanks for reminding me of such a great song.

    • I have friends who maintain that the Oysters completely ruined that song, but I always maintained it was great.

      I listened to it again for the first time in a while yesterday, and d'you know, I'm starting to agree with the old farts; the Oysterband version is definitely inferior.