To celebrate our 21st Birthday, we planned a relaxed tour around Alton, to which all former dancers with the side were invited, concluding with a party at Four Marks.
To make the day extra special we commissioned some vintage transport.
First stop was Alton's Market Square. Many old friends dropped in, including Roy Dommett who taught us for our first several years and has always been around.
And so, in bright warm sunshine it was time to dance. With nearly a full turnout of current dancers and several "returners" big sets were teh order of the day. We started with Uptails for 12 (normally danced by 8!).
As we approached the climax of our display in the Market Square, we danced Alton Morris. This is a dance we've done little recent years, as it requires 12 dancers. But today we could could dance with 16!!
The set finished with The Rose for 22! Normally danced by 12, sometimes 10 or even 8, occasionally 14, never before by 22! With "everyone in" we didn't get a picture of this momentous event.
Display complete we boarded the bus and were transported to the Golden Pot (third time we've danced here in a month!). Lunch and a drink or two, followed by clogging in the skittle alley then a few dances in the garden. This included The Rose (again) but only 18 dancers this time. I'm afraid the tiger was out of his skin, but modelling the commemorative t-shirt produced for us by Remarkable Impressions of Farnham - well lots of people (friends and returners) were out of kit
and there was a wide range of garlands in use - smart ones, old ones, practice ones, children's ones.
On the move again, this time to Jane Austen's house, where we went straight on to give a display to the assembled audience. Amidst the roses the Minden Roses gave a colourful display. Can you tell which of these dancers hasn't danced with us for 3 years?
The band too had its share of returning members - Jean modelling the 1983 kit.
On the fine lawn the morning's mishap with the windmill in Alton Morris was forgotten as the arms turned like clockwork.
Then the finale - The Rose of course. This morning's record didn't last long - we processed on with a total of 24 dancers, they were queuing up for garlands. Even the photographer was dancing, so I have no evidence - yet.
A break for tea, a snooze, preparation of the hall ready for the evening's party. Including, of course, red roses and a celebration cake.
Archives of the 21 years were on display, and proved popular. Exclamations of "Oh, I'd forgotten that.." or "What did you look like then..." were commonplace.
There was a fancy dress theme to the evening - potential Minden Rose attire in 2082. One lunatic family went over the top...
The evening continued with a number of acts by members of the team, excellent food and drink, awards to anyone who'd ever been anything to do with Minden Rose, and a tribute performance of Dommett's Delight (the first attempt admittedly turning into Dommett's Despair!).
More than that I cannot remember! It was an excellent evening rounding off a very special day.