Fiddlesticks’ 2004 May Tour to Rutland

Following last year’s enjoyable May Tour to France, it was decided to have another tour this year, but this time nearer to home, to Rutland. Our first stop was in Stamford town centre, where a paved pedestrian area provided a splendid venue, with local youngsters joining in enthusiastically in The Rose.

Then on to the Water’s Edge Cafe at Normanton, where another lovely paved area looked out over the water. Our final venue of the day was The Exeter Arms at Barrowden, providing a welcome opportunity for refreshment before another set of dances.

Sunday was another full day of dancing, beginning in the Market Place at Oakham. A bit too early in the day for much of an audience. Then on to the Sun Inn at Cottesmore where we had to dance before our Tour organisers would allow us to have lunch. The afternoon saw us at Barnsdale Gardens, a lovely setting for two more dance sessions and an opportunity to indulge in afternoon tea, ice creams, etc.

Next stop: the Finch’s (or Finches, depending on which sign you looked at) Arms at Hambleton. Here we danced on the grass behind the pub, where hidden holes (created by marquee poles maybe) were an extra hazard. A herd of cows in the adjacent field came to the fence to watch.

On towards dinner at the Cuckoo Inn in Wing. First, a bit of sightseeing at the “amazing maze” before a pre-dinner dance. Unfortunately, halfway through, the heavens opened, soaking us all before we could retreat indoors, thus making the meal rather a wet affair. Never mind, the music and dancing evening that followed dinner soon warmed us up.

Monday dawned hot and sunny once more, and our first stop was Exton Street Fair, buzzing with crowds. Two pub venues followed, the Noel Arms at Whitwell and the Railway Inn at Ketton.

Then on to our final venue: Burghley House. Our dances here made a grand total of 100 for the weekend. A picnic on the grass before heading home made a perfect end to the Tour.

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