Long Man Morris Men

celebrate 25 years of dancing.

 

This summer we are Hopping around the Harveys Estate

 

To celebrate our silver anniversary, Long Man were formed in 1978, and our association with Harveys since completing the inaugural Harvey Hop in 1990, we decided to revisit the Hop. When the idea was first mooted late in 2002, we had not realised that the estate now numbered 44 houses, when completing the first Hop there were 35 houses and we danced at them all in a single day between opening time and closing time. So, how were we to cover five counties and a trip to London?

Peter White and I met with Miles back in January to discuss how we could cover the estate; bearing in mind 44 stands is a great deal more than some morris sides do in a year. However, we still wanted to keep some of our regular stands.

We couldn’t get round in a day, or a weekend or even a bank holiday weekend, so we needed to split the pubs into manageable tours. Simple maths says 44 pubs equal eleven tours of 4 venues. We couldn’t attempt long tours on our normal dancing out night of Friday; we couldn’t tie up every Saturday, so a compromise has been reached whereby we stay local, well reasonably local, on a Friday evening and travel the South East on a couple of Saturdays and Spring Bank Holiday. The trip to The Royal Oak in London will be on a Friday for the lunchtime drinkers and the trip into my home county of Berkshire is also a lunchtime stand but on a Sunday in September.

 

We started our Silver Hop at the Terminus in April after dancing on Eastbourne Seafront for the Mayor of Eastbourne’s Open Day.

On Easter Monday we visited The Grenadier and The Kings Head in Hailsham.

On May Day we started at The Trevor Arms in Glynde and ended the day’s dancing in Polegate at The Dinkum.

On our first Friday evening out we danced for a small crowd at The Bulls Head, Boreham Street, but attracted a good audience at The Red Lion at Stone Cross.

On a wet Bank Holiday Friday evening we toured Eastbourne, starting at The Lamb in the drizzle, before moving onto The Hurst, where we ousted the pool table to make an area to dance in the bar. A young lady volunteered to collect for us and cajoled the locals into parting with just over £60, not a bad start. From Old Town we went townwards to The Victoria where we received an amazing welcome on a wet and windy night. Again we danced inside, under the chandeliers, “keep your stick down” was the cry. The whole pub joined in and we collected a staggering £115. Our evening was complete when at The Arlington we danced and then played “Toad in the Hole”, and of course were afforded the usual warm welcome.

 

The Spring Bank Holiday Monday tour started in West Sussex, visiting The Swan at Midhurst and the White Hart in Arundel. Then back into Brighton & Hove, where we were up against the play-off for the Premier League at The Eclipse and danced at half time in the Gallery at The Lord Nelson, another superb collection of over £70.  At The Mitre in Baker Street we met up with Miles Jenner, Harveys Head Brewer, and another good-hearted bunch of locals.

 

On the last Friday in May we headed northwards to Tunbridge Wells to visit The Crystal Palace, then along to the Brecknock Arms, runners up in the 2002 Harveys Floral Competition, in Bells Yew Green and onto Hook Green to dance in the dark at The Elephant Head.

 

I mentioned a couple of good collections, but our thanks go to all Harveys’ tenants and Customers for their overwhelming generosity. We are collecting for the Hospice organisation and are looking to raise £1000. At the end of May, having visited just 19 pubs we have collected over £700.

 

We continued our Silver Hop at the Cricketer’s Arms, Berwick on June 4th as guests of The Chanctonbury Ring Morris Men who are celebrating their “Golden Anniversary”.

 

Over the following weekend we travelled to Germany to the wine producing village of Klüsserath, which is situated on the Mosel. The Winzertanzen Gruppe Klüsserath organise a bi-annual “Internationales Trachtentreffen” in the village to market the wines of the “Klüsserather Bruderschaft”.

For this trip we tried to spread the Harveys name by taking a polypin of “Long Man Pale Ale” to educate a small corner of Europe on the qualities of English beer.

 

On Saturday 14th we travelled through Mid Sussex, meeting at The Plough, Plumpton Green and dancing for the recently installed tenants and a couple of my friends. Moving northwards to The Heath in Haywards Heath and then onto a busy White Hart in the High Street at Crawley. Our lunch stop was in Turners Hill at The Red Lion. For the afternoon we were due over the border in Kent at The Fountain in Cowden, but “due to unforeseen circumstances” it was closed when we arrived, oh well we’ll have to reschedule. So an early arrival at The Dorset Arms in Withyham was met with closed doors, so the advance party carried on to Jarvis Brook near Crowborough, The Wheatsheaf was open so they played “Toad in the Hole” until the rest of us arrived with the tour rearranged we danced for a small but appreciative audience. The final stand now being The Dorset Arms we backtracked to Withyham. A hot day and an eventful tour.

 

For our “Midsummer Walking Tour of Lewes” on the 19th June the ladies of Fleet Morris joined us, taking in two more Harvey locals – The John Harvey Tavern, the closest house to the Brewery and The Swan in Southover before the locals ventured out for their evening tipple.

 

On the last Friday in June we headed east to The Seven Stars in Robertsbridge where Sussex Spinning Jenny joined us, then along to Burwash to The Rose and Crown where we reached our collection target of £1000, so what we collect for the rest of the Hop, fourteen more pubs to go, is a bonus.

 

Friday July 11th we visited the Halfway House, Isfield, and The Alma in Uckfield where we entertained a good crowd and then onto The Blackboys Inn at Blackboys, the collection for the evening was just under £100.

 

The following weekend was another sojourn across the Channel, this time we visited Gournay en Bray, a small town in the Normandie region of France, for The Feté St Claire as guests of Hailsham Twinning Association.

 

Our next pub on the Hoppers trail was The Royal Oak, Tabard Street, Southwark for a rainy Friday lunchtime session where we collected pennies short of £80.

 

On Summer Bank Holiday Monday we visited The Golden Cross Inn, a family run public house with a Holiday Caravan Park to the side. The collection now stands in excess of £1200.

 

With our extended programme Long Man had to dance out through September into October. On the 21st September we met up with Kennet Morris Men at The Nags Head in Sunningdale, and danced for an appreciative audience out for a Sunday lunchtime pint. We then returned to Sussex and danced at an overhauled Constant Service in Brighton during halftime of a Premier League football match featuring Manchester United.

 

On the last Saturday in September a small, but perfectly formed band roamed the Kent and Surrey borders, and collected over £100 at three pubs. Starting in Maidstone at The Pilot, moving westward along the A25 to The Bricklayers Arms in Chipstead near Sevenoaks and finishing the day in Redhill at The Garland. Just under £1400 with three stands to go - £1500 beckons!

Long Man MM Squire, Stuart Walker says, “If you are ever in Redhill, do visit The Garland - it has a wonderful atmosphere and great hosts!”

 

On the first Saturday in October Harveys Brewery sees its devotees eagerly await the advent of their ‘Old Ale’, a dark seasonal drink brewed from October to May. Reminiscent of the mild ales produced during the early part of this century. Long Man Morris Men lead the celebrations and are always joined by Chanctonbury Ring MM, Brighton MM and Knots of May. To complete the Hop we also danced at The Dorset Arms in Lewes and to a small crowd and the new tenants of the recently refurbished Foresters Arms in East Hoathly. The collection from these last three stands pushed our total for the “Harvey Hop” to just over £1500 which we will pass on to St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

 

On 15th November we reconvened along with Miles Jenner, Head Brewer of Harveys Brewery at The Victoria Hotel , Latimer Road, Eastbourne, the house where we collected the biggest bag to handover a cheque for £1500 to Sarah- Jane Wood representing St Wilfrid’s Hospice.

 

 

A very big thank you to everybody who helped us raise 150% of our initial target, to Harveys Brewery, their tenants and their customers and fellow Hoppers. Good health to all.

 

 

 

 

Norman Hopson

October 2003