Morris dancing, throwing up, and other vacation activities

So I’m back, having spent all but one night from July 5 to yesterday away from home. First there was about ten days in Newport News, helping to get the HAPPEX experiments ready for this year’s running. In fact I was originally supposed to be there for the actual startup, but that got delayed. Things went pretty well. Heather and Kenny drove down for a couple of days and we caught up with some old friends.

I came home the evening of July 14 (Thursday) and left again on Friday to go to Trumansburg for the Dog Days Ale where I played music for Thornden Morris. Heather and Kenny arrived in the other car. Saturday was Kenny’s sixth birthday, but we celebrated with an orange cake topped with icing, strawberries, and blueberries on Friday night. That turned out to be a good thing, because on Saturday Kenny was on his way home again: at about 3:30 am we woke to find him vomiting in our tent. Pink vomit, actually. Heather took care of him while I cleaned up. Then we all went back to sleep. Next morning Kenny was throwing up again, and leaking at the other end too. Heather loaded him in the car and took him home. He was sick most of that day and pretty much fine again the next.

I stayed and played. I had a good time, enjoying watching Hicks With Sticks (a team whose dreadful name is about their only failing — they’re serious competition with the Not For Joes for my favorite border morris team) and Riptide Morris (a new and promising Cotswold team from the Boston area) among others.

Sunday at lunchtime I headed on out, not for home but for Otego, NY, where the thirtieth annual tour of the American Travelling Morrice was already under way. I caught up with the tour just as they were finishing the last dance of the third stand, and was congratulated on my impeccable timing.

A couple hours later, driving back to the camp, I started feeling queasy.

Uh oh.

I threw up just once that evening, and then lay very very still until morning, by which time the nausea had subsided and I was left feeling a bit weak but otherwise okay. Breakfast stayed down. I sequestered the plates and utensils I’d used for a while, in an effort to prevent the bug from spreading — the ATM only had about 11 dancers there at that point, and having half of them off puking would have put a serious dent in the tour. Fortunately no one else seemed to get sick, with the possible exception of one man who felt nauseous on Tuesday.

Back home, on Monday, Heather was throwing up repeatedly, suffering headaches and fever, and eventually getting abdominal pains so bad she called 911. Three ambulances showed up. She was treated at home and was feeling somewhat better by evening, and went back to work Tuesday.

The ATM experience got better from there. At the Monday practice I worked on two dances — Lichfield “Vandals of Hammerwich” and Brackley “Jockey to the Fair” — from traditions I really haven’t done before, and danced each of them once during our later performances. Our ranks swelled with the arrival of several men on Wednesday, coinciding with a break in the hot and humid weather we’d been having, which made us happy.

Tuesday’s dancing included a stand in Pioneer Park in Cooperstown, where we displaced a couple dozen teenage boys who were throwing baseballs around; to my amazement they stayed, they watched, they cheered at the cross-and-clash in the Upton on Severn Stick Dance, someone yelled “Encore!” at some point, and several came around to shake our hands when we were done. They were probably the most appreciative audience we had all week. WTF? I never thought of trying to recruit at baseball practices, but maybe…

Food was excellent, of course.

There was further discussion of next year’s tour in England, on which I hope to be able to go. Stay tuned.

The campsite was great. The swimming pond was an absolute jewel. The sunsets were superb.

Home again Sunday. Work again Monday. Great week. Pictures soon.

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