CHADS – Oct 27th – 29th 2023
The last meet of the year at CHADS for North Central is always tinged with sadness as we won’t be meeting up again there with our friends until March the following year. And, unfortunately as with a lot of our camping weekends this year, the skies opened and it poured. Luckily CHADS has hardstanding, and we know from long experience where the largest of the puddles is likely to occur. One unlucky camper didn’t notice the huge concrete bunker beside a tree. The bike rack came off worst in that contest!
However in the hall we had a really excellent weekend, welcoming some visitors who joined in with the fun and games. Friday night we had great dancing and “Spots”. On Saturday morning ten of the crafting ladies drove off in convoy to Chasewater to a “Fabric Barn”, a fabulous outlet stuffed with fabrics of all sorts, mostly recycled, wools, papers, threads and all things crafty. Heaven! We all came back with bags of materials and good intentions.
On Saturday night the hall was decorated with webs, spiders, and monsters various to set the scene for our “Welcome to the Halloween Party”. The Grim Reaper won the costume parade again. Cruella de Ville would have been in with a chance if she had managed to get there on time. There’s always next year! Many thanks to Paul for fetching the fish and chips. always good but everyone said this time the fish was particularly tasty. We shared puddings, trifles, jelly, cream. and lots and lots of scrumptious cakes, then tried to dance it all off. Many thanks again to the callers and “Spots”
We didn’t quite finish the fiendishly difficult jigsaw. Where was that piece with a bit of white on the edge and a smidge of section of door frame?
Sunday morning we finished the cake with our coffee and said cheerio. Roll on 2024 when North Central gets to host the Group AGM at Wellbourn where we hope to meet, greet and welcome you all.
WELBOURN – Oct 6th – 9th 2023
ABBOTS BROMLEY – Sep 8th – 12th 2023
Oven hot and humid on the field interspersed by rain showers of varying severity, we were so grateful for our new gazebo. But we had energetic dancing and some brilliant spots at Admaston Village Hall in the evenings. On Monday, two early risers joined the entourage following the Horn Dancers round Abbots Bromley village, then a look in the church at the fascinating historical display about this old English tradition. Most of the group joined the Froggat family and many villagers for mulled wine and hot prok baps on the lawn at their farmhouse. We all cheered as the Horn Dancers, accompanied by accordian danced around. Our musicians played two sets despite the downpour and a couple of encores as well. Another excellent few days in Staffordshire.
ASHOVER THS – August 18th – 30th 2023
On arriving at this THS the first set of Stewards decided that a good policy would be to wait out the rain in one of the village pubs. Happily the rain soon stopped so we set up camp and erected the Gazebo, a four person job, at the top of the field. This Gazebo stood up faithfully for the entire holiday meet, and proved to be a good place for “Getting to Know you Bring your Own Coffee Mornings”, (biscuits provided) and where notices and leaflets could be put out under stones to prevent being blown away! Pubs, delicious pies, local walks,and a certain football match were much discussed, the new bus timetable proved to be accuate and useful. Pity that one of the buses didn’t run and two of the campers had to get a taxi back! However by Monday the sun had come out and some of the festival goers from MOIRA Folk arrived with instruments and sing songs. A village wedding took place in the field next door and a great time was had by all. Many thanks to the combined efforts of all the stewards to make this a really successful THS.
THORESBY PARK – August 3rd to 7th 2023
On arrival at Thoresby it was raining, And continued to rain over the four days we were there, which was very unfortunate for the Vintage Morris Car rally as the numbers on their field were really down on previous years.
But North Central Folk Dance Group had an amazingly good time despite the frequent downpours. Games were played on the field, albeit briefly, coffee mornings and afternoon teas enjoyed between the drizzles and beer was quaffed from he very nice little brewery at the back of the hall. The evenings entertainments in the village hall went very well and we had several visitors who joined in with “spots”. One of our newer members learned how to “set to your partner and turn single”, but Keith “Twinketoes” Jackson stole the show. We have booked again for next year, can’t guarantee the weather but we can guarantee the enjoyment. Very many thanks to Margaret Thomas, not only for her calling skills but especially for booking so many excellent venues this year and for 2024 too.
LEES MEADOW FARM – July 14th to 17th 2023
New site on the top field, not too soggy with lovely views and a very keen and helpful site owner. They offered really tasty breakfast buns for the hungry with tea and cakes later on in the day, and at very reasonable prices too.
Friday it rained, and it rained, and still it carried on raining. The campers arrived, set up camp and refused to be depressed. There were wonderful Highland cattle in the field next door, chickens and ducks in the farmyard, and the occasional horse. And then the mists came down. On Saturday rain and wind with a spectacular thunderstorm and lightning right overhead put all but the bravest off striding out over the High Peak Trail. One brave camper who shall remain nameless had to borrow his wifes trousers as he had only brought one pair! On Saturday evening we had a Quiz in the village Hall (some people knew some answers) and a sing song, everyone including some visitors, enjoyed the dancing. Two attractions are Middleton Top and the High Peak walking trail. Very interesting Limestone quarry with a huge wagon for the stone at Middleton Top with a history lecture on the working machinery (and a pleasant cafe). The evenings were spent playing games and chatting. This site has been booked again for 2024. The area also boasts D.H. Lawrence who lived close by and the tale of T’Owd Man a Wirksworth, a lead miner from 800 years ago with pick and kibble (basket) these to be further investigated.
HILLSTOWN – June 30th to July 3rd 2023
Another meeting on this pleasant and usefully flat site just outside Bolsover, which has a very impressive Castle overlooking the town. The weather was cloudy with occasional sunny spells. Some of the group found the market in town, others played KUBBS on the field between the showers. The usual suspects tried to move the stumps but were spotted!! The lone camper survived quite well considering the drizzle on the new tent!. We also played the game of how many Committee members can you shuffle about to get sitting down in David and Margarets caravan? There is a modern hall on site with all facilities, although few in numbers there was great enthusiasm for dancing, many thanks to callers and musicians.
Offley Hay June 9- 12th 2023
In June we were off to Offley Hay in STAFFORDSHIRE. The village is about a mile west of Eccleshall and eight miles from Stafford. Apparantly in Medieval times Offleie covered a large tract of land including Bishops Offley, High Offley and Offley Brook, all belonging to the Bishop of Lichfield whose summer residence was Eccleshall Castle. Sad to say that this meet was not that well attended, but we had use of the really well appointed village hall all weekend, and the field is, for the most part, flat! The day time weather was perfect for games on the field and walking, although the Lone Travellers knee problems were not helped by the stiles we climbed over as we circumnavigated Copmere. This lake is a great place for birdwatchers, and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest. The Hall has great acoustics for songs and dancing, and we enjoyed learning some really interesting crafting. Many thanks to Leslie for showing us how to do encaustic painting. For those who are not in the know this technique basically uses liquid wax melted by a hot iron on to cards. The evenings entertainment was enhanced by a certain amount of thunder and lightning, but we were not down hearted and danced on! Paul played his Auto Harp ( a bit like a zither) which greatkly impressed us. I should mention the local pub The Star. Great beer on a thirsty day and very good Sunday lunch too!
Swythamley – May 26th to 30th 2023
In May we were at one of our favourite Centres at the Swythamley and Heaton Centre in The Roaches. We all managed to avoid the boggy bit in the middle of the field which has trapped the unwary on past visits, and once Bev had sorted himself out, deciding to park on the hardstanding at last, we settled down to a great weekend, welcoming two new visitors. Plenty of good walking in lovely warm weather, great entertainment, many thanks to the musicians who played for us on the field. We had dancing each night, with an excellent Bring and Share Supper on Saturday Night. We were then entertained by a local lady who plays the harp. She was amazing and we hope she will play again for us next time we are there. The walk to Wincle Brewery nearly finished off one member of the group (me) whose knees have not been the same since!
Seagrave – Apr 28th to May 2nd 2023
We all enjoyed a lovely weekend at Seagrave and were pleased to welcome to several visitors.
Several people took the bus to Loughborough to explore the excellent Saturday market and Harold and May thoroughly recommend the National Trust property at Stoneywell.
On site, Margaret ran a Needle Felting workshop and dance workshop (Multi-talented is Margaret). We sorted out the intricacies of the latest Nottingham Folk Dance Group core dance.
There was KUBB on the field and the jigsaw team finished the puzzle with over a day to spare – sorry we didn’t bring a second one for you. Next year, we’ll bring the Baked Beans Impossipuzzle!
The evenings in the hall were very much enjoyed. Plenty of dancing – including the visitors who managed exceptionally well; and a few spots – thank you to all – and finished off with a good quiz by John and Joan. (I must say it was good because we won! – We never win pub quizzes).
It doesn’t look like we have scared off the visitors – one new recruit to Folk Group – and possibly two to follow.
Looking forward to seeing you all next year
CHADS – Mar 17th – 19th 2023
A warm though somewhat drizzly weekend for our Groups first meeting of 2023 at one of our favourite sites, combining several enjoyable and important events for us all. The AGM, Brian and Marlene’s winding down party, the CHADS band playing from strength to strength, Mothers Day, Eva the trainee Guide dog to be petted, and culminating in the first Day of Spring!
The car park was full, new members were welcomed to the group, new committee members welcomed on to the committee and a new Hon Secretary who will show us the way!
Friday night we tucked in to Brian’s pasta and sauce supper, followed by dancing to work it off and some excellent “Spots”. Margaret’s Dance workshop on Saturday morning proved to be very helpful to those of us who are new to Folk Dancing and also for those of us who still need to know which way to turn. After the AGM on Saturday afternoon we thanked Brian for all his hard work for the group over the years and presented Marlene with flowers.
A shared supper, more “Spots” and dancing plus entertainment from CHADS band brought the evening to a happy close. An extra day had been booked so for those of us who could stay on a lazy Sunday morning was spent digesting Brian’s legendary bacon and egg buns plus genuine Scottish black pudding, in the afternoon a lot of the ladies turned their hands to craft skills, knitting, crochet and one lady turned the hems up on three pairs of trousers!
In the evening we ate Brian’s delicious beef stew then watched a BBC Proms of American Songs from the Shows.
And yes, the Elephant Stampede ensured that the dancers were put through their paces again!
CHADS – Oct 28 – 30 2022
So here we were again at CHADS for the last meet of 2022. But what exactly is CHADS you may ask, and why do we return there happily year on year for first (the AGM) and last meets.
CHADS stands for Combined Handicapped and Disabled Society, a registered Charity offering theraputic benefits for many people and making Nature available for the less able, all areas are wheelchair friendly. There is hardstanding at the site which is just outside Handsacre and Armitage (yes where the bathroom fitments come from) and a cosy hall with use of kitchen. Surrounded by fields there is a path around and through a wooded area at the back, with a large hen house and run for assorted chickens. Opposite the site is the 60 acre Trentside Meadows, which has been awarded Site of Biological Importance (S.B.1. Grade 1) status, achieved by sympathetic management and traditional grazing by the CHADS herd of rare breed Gloucester cattle.
On Friday and Saturday many of the group showed off their crafting skills, knitting and crochet, and Di brought her sewing machine to demonstrate quilting. No we didn’t finish the jigsaw. May be next time!
This last meet is tradiitonally a Halloween meet, when the hall is draped with cobwebs, spiders and hideous masks, quite a few of the group getting dressed up in ghastly costume in competition for the best (worst) dressed vampire, witch or ghoul. The fish and chips were really tasty, shared puddings enjoyed by all. Many thanks to David and Margaret (Stewards) all the callers and the “Spots” particularly the new CHADBAND. Five of North Centrals most notable musicians had been feverishly practising to be note perfect for our entertainment and were mightily applauded. We hope to see a lot more of this group in 2023. Thanks also to Paul the Vampire for his musical choices befitting the occasion. See you all next year.
Abbots Bromley (Horn Dance) Sep 8 – 15 2022
Our THS at Abbots Bromley, Little Dunstall Farm, was, again, very successful! It was well attended with our members and members from all over the country visiting on their way to Walesby. Despite two days rain the weather was fine but we were too busy to notice really. We had a large marquee which we used for socializing every day and Ceilidh in the evenings- with ‘cruise’ effect – the floor boards bounced when we got energetic with our dancing! People were given hot soup and crusty bread on the Friday, Brian and Marlene’s famous bacon and egg baps on Sunday morning and finally Brian treated us all to a delicious lamb stew on the Tuesday! Most of us attended Little Dunstall Farm for pork rolls where the Horn Dancers entertained us and we also got to dance on the farmers lawn. During our stay Paul and Janet led a walk and they organised field games, you don’t have a chance to sit still or get bored when you come with us!
Very many thanks to Stewards Jane and Richard, and Brian and Marlene for the catering!
Hillstown July 1-4 2022
This was our first visit to Hillstown (Bolsover). Quite a few people had booked other venues so our numbers weren’t as high as we would have liked, but we were made very welcome by the staff and trustees. Our group attended the Well Dressing at Bolsover and also visited the castle. Games of boules, quoits and croquet were enjoyed in the afternoons with the usual music, dancing and entertainment in the evenings. Many thanks to Brian and Marlene who supplied soup for everyone on the Friday. All told it was a very good meet and has been booked for next year. The only thing that let us down was the weather!
Swythamley – June 1st to 6th 2022
The Jubilee meet at Swythamley went down well despite one of the stewards being struck down with diverticulitis and hospitalised (yes, the steward with all the notes, quizzes, Union Jack decorations, trifle ingredients and some incredibly silly outdoor games) but despite this ‘hiccup’ we had a wonderful time.
Paul led a walk to Hangingstone Rock with glorious views and there was a trip to Wincle Brewery and the mobile Creperie! There were plenty of outdoor games, Kubb and boule on the field in the good weather and dancing and spots in the hall in the evenings. The jigsaw got finished! The Bring and Share tea was a huge success, plenty of cake to help pile on the pounds and bring on skirmishes with diabetes. The diet can wait until tomorrow.
Walk to Hangingstone
Jubilee Tea Party
Seagrave – April 29th to May 3rd 2022
EASTER MEET – April 14 to 18th 2022
FOLK GROUP EASTER MEET was very well organized this year, hosted by Midland Area.
Many thanks to them all and especially to Gaynor for a wonderful few days. North Central helped out on Reception on the Thursday with booking in, and some of the childrens events. The fabulous programme was full of well run workshops, singing, dancing, crafts, socializing, children’s events and family dances.
An archery for beginners course was available for 4 mornings, and one of us has a certificate to prove it. For the artistic amongst us there was Glass painting, Mosaics and Paint a Board
Lots of wonderful dancing thoughout the Meet, one of us even tried her feet at Clogging,.
Meeting old and new friends plus experiencing the many workshops made this a fabulous 5 day meet. There was a variety of foods and drink available. Easter Meet 2023 is hosted by Home Counties at Sawston near Cambridge from 6th – 11th April . Make a note in next years diary!
CHADS – March 25th to 27th 2022
And what a lovely weekend it proved to be with glorious sunshine on all three days at one of our favourite camp sites. We couldn’t believe our luck as, in the past, we have had extremes from icicles hanging from the vans to ‘paddling pools’ in the car park at Chads!
Friday’s culinary welcome with soup proved to be a huge hit, as did games on the field.
Some of the group and the dogs ventured into the wood but came back regretting the huge thorns and brambles which somehow became attached in more than one painful place.
On Saturday morning Brian and Margaret organised a class for new and aspiring (or perspiring) dancers for the evening’s entertainment with reels explained.
Saturday afternoon was the AGM to which we welcomed Keith Jackson.
The retiring committee must be thanked for all their hard work and enthusiasm over the past years. Despite Covid the North Central Folk Group has held together and has a firm foundation. The American Shared Supper was enthusiastically eaten, after which dancing and “spots” were enjoyed by all. Also, thank you to Brian for all the wine he provided.
We would also like to welcome our youngest member, Eva, a Guide dog puppy just starting her training with Susan and Raymond.
Many thanks to Paul and Janet for hosting a super weekend – did they get the hoover working? (No – we didn’t!)
CHADS – October 29th to 31st 2021
It was the famous CHADS Halloween weekend. For weeks, all over the North Central Folk Dance area, participants had been choosing their costumes with care, in order to surprise, shock and terrify their friends.
The lone camper drove through the beautiful Autumnal Cannock Chase forest, only having to retrace the route at the very last, as the road under the bridge was flooded. A quick visit to a local supermarket advised on taking the Old Road, then swiftly the welcoming flag indicated the site.
Once in the cosy and welcoming hall, tea and cake were provided then over the next 24 hours balloons were blown up, masks were utilised to cover the lamps, and spiders and webbing were slung around to great effect.
The usual indoor games were played with the usual accusations made, crochet and knitting were greatly admired and the Jigsaw challenge saw many heads being scratched. We decided not to try to finish it otherwise we would have been up all night!
On Saturday afternoon a dance tutorial workshop, by Margaret, was well received, with the monster parade on Saturday night, which was great fun. The ladies prize was won by the most hideous masked creature! Who was she? Even Marlene couldn’t tell!!
At the end of the night the burning question was Would they, Wouldn’t they? Those that could dance it, did. The Elephant Stampede, called by an indefatigable Brian, brought a magic weekend to a close.
Very many thanks to Paul and Janet for stewarding, and for arranging the very tasty fish supper.
Freehay – October 8th to 10th 2021
Freehay has been a great weekend for relaxing, board games, walking, dancing and ‘spots’! The stewards, Nora and Val, really looked after us and worked very hard to make our visit one of the best, also providing information on local walks. The main theme of the Freehay Meet was to celebrate Margaret’s 70th birthday and her sister, Susan Parkin, wrote a dance for her called ‘Margaret’s Birthday Cake’. We did a couple workshops, run by Susan, which we all enjoyed and in which we practised the birthday dance to do a demonstration that evening. Newcomers, who have started becoming regulars, commented that our club was such a warm friendly Group!
Abbots Bromley THS – August 26th to September 7th 2021
The weather wasn’t that great, mainly cloudy but warm with the odd burst of sunshine, but did not do anything to diminish the great time we all had at Abbots Bromley.
Very many thanks to our Stewards, Richard and Jane and Brian and Marlene for arranging the Marquee and for not panicking when the generator seemed to fade.
Especial thanks again to Brian for the delicious suppers we all enjoyed and to the various club members who kept the morning coffee, evening drinks and biscuits flowing.
On the field four intrepid ladies tried their hands at Badminton, proving the theory of hope over experience. We managed a staggering rally of three shots over the net but failed to get a fourth. Maybe next time! The ukelele choir strummed merrily and mainly kept in voice, tune and rhythm, we all promised to practise more!
Afternoon and evening entertainment in the Marquee had something for everyone. There was Jenga, plenty of crafting and the musical offerings from the musicians, which proved very popular, with some great songs and guitar playing. The raised voices in the evening over the jigsaw challenge showed that even the best brains amongst us could not always find the right piece for the right ‘ole, and there were even more raised voices debating the intricate rules of Rummikub!
Abbots Bromley is a lovely village. Having admired the Horns in the Parish Church, a couple of members discovered the joys and frustrations of Geocaching.
For the uninitiated this is a kind of worldwide treasure hunt played on your mobile phone. Great fun when you find a cache, can add your name to the list and read the comments of those who have been before, but infuriating when you are within a couple of metres and can’t find it.
After a glorious 2 weeks of this relaxed and friendly Meet, where some chose to enjoy the ‘plentiful’ supply of field mushrooms, while others explored the area and it’s delights, it was time to say our goodbyes and pack up! Thank you to all those who took part to make this such a ‘fun’ event. We look forward to seeing you all at future Meets!
Thoresby Park – August 5th to 9th 2021
Most of the participants having arrived and set up camp on Thursday, The North Central Folk Group Meeting, started with a delicious Pasta and Lentil meal for everyone, courtesy of Brian and Marlene. The lone camper had set up her tent with extra tarpaulins against the torrential rain expected overnight and it would have worked well apart from on a midnight trip to the loo when, on opening the tent door she stood up, thus releasing a flood of rainwater collected in the dip in said tarp. However all was not lost as the sun came out and dried everything on Friday and the tarpaulin was pegged down properly with some more heavy duty pegs borrowed from Richard.
Friday morning was spent by a small group of us walking round the grounds of the hall, and visiting some of the shops and the museum in the old stable courtyard. The curator told us all about the fascinating history of the Hall, its occupants and the wars they fought in over the years.
Games on the field in the afternoon lead to the usual cheers and groans. In the evening some excellent music, calling and dancing at the village hall, every single one of us was so pleased and happy to be back together again.
On Saturday some of us walked to Clumber Forest past the happiest outdoor piggery ever seen. The wallows were pristine, the pigs were rolling around in unctuous mud, their houses were spotless, the straw was first class. It was a pig “Spa”. In the afternoon, more games of Kubb then to the field at the front of Thoresby Hall where the Vintage Car Rally was taking place. The car “gymkhana” went down very well with the crowd and, after a slow start and lots of heckling from the crowd (who, us??), the vintage cars were put through their paces, as were the drivers who had to drive round a zigzag course, then blindfold and backwards round another.
Another splendid evening of fun and dancing in the hall on Saturday night brought the lone campers weekend to a close.
Ashover THS – July 20th to August 1st 2021
We had a very enjoyable time with a good number of units during the Ashover THS.
The first week we had no rain and it was hot and sunny most of the time.
Many members took advantage of the good weather to go on some of the walks that Brian had printed out which took in the local undulating terrain and lovely cross-country views. Having three pubs in the village serving a choice of food and real ales was most welcome after a day exploring the landscape including the industrial history of the area’s old quarries, mines and water mills. The local ice cream parlour in the cake shop just a few minutes walk into the village was proving to be a very popular attraction as well. Following games of Kubb on the field, some evenings were spent sitting out singing and playing music taking advantage of the warm summer evenings.
Knighton – July 9th to 12th 2021
We had a very enjoyable meet with a good turnout at the Knighton Sports & Social Club in July, although the covid restrictions were still in force so we could not use the club room for our song and dancing social activities. The club was open however for drinks throughout the day and evenings which was a bonus. The weather stayed sunny all weekend and there are some lovely walks from the site along the Shropshire Union canal and the large fishing lakes in the Hamlet of Knighton. On Friday and Saturday we had musical evenings on the field until dusk when it was deemed time to retire to our vans or the club bar. The football final was being held on the Sunday evening and the social club invited us to watch the match on a big TV screen set up in the large club room. At the half time break they brought out pizza and garlic bread which helped to ease the tension of watching the match. The only downside to a great weekend meet….England lost!
Copt Oak – June 11th to 13th 2021
The site at Copt Oak was very cosy and one of the first Meets since lock down. Our stewards made everyone very welcome and provided cakes for all! They organised field games and led a walk to increase our activity levels to work off the cakes! We also sat, socially distanced, each day, enjoyed the sunshine and the music played by musicians on the field. Having experienced a couple more ‘Meet’ type events put on by different organisations, recently, we realised the music was the main thing that makes our get-togethers so special and we can’t wait to get back into the other things that we all enjoy so much, especially the dancing!
Swythamley – May 28th to June 1st 2021
We had a very good second Meet with 21 units at Swythamley, helped by the sunshine. We had some glorious afternoons with the sound of instruments drifting across the field. Several campers played a new puzzle game whilst setting up – where does this awning pole go? How do I heat the water with gas? Who was that in the queue for the lone camper’s ‘loo with a view’! We were very fortunate in that Janet (Hall Secretary) had provided several local walk guides and maps for us. The most popular one was to Wincle Brewery, over 14,000 steps and 9.6 K uphill and down dale. Other walks have wonderful views of the Peak District.
On Saturday morning we had a sheep shearing demonstration in the field next door but the fleeces were going to be burnt as there is no profit in selling them anymore.
So a brilliant few days in the sunshine, meeting up with friends, old and new – Missed some ‘Old faces, but they were still thought about – alas no dancing due to the Covid but a grand outdoor celebration for Brian’s 85th birthday, postponed from last year.
Offley Hay – May 14th to 16th 2021
Our first Meet of the year at Offley Hay was not that well attended for various reasons and the weather could have been better but it was great to be out in the countryside once more after over a year since our last Meet.
Although we could still not use the facilities of the hall, the adjacent camping field surrounded by trees, provided a secluded setting with plenty of space to keep to our social distancing.
Between the showers we had some lovely walks around Copmere and the local pub was quite busy providing meals and takeaways from a large marquee in their beer garden.
We may also have gained a new member who is a musician and very keen to come to our future Meets, after joining us on his first meet with the folk area, to see what our special interest section is all about.