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Daisy Daking

Daisy Daking

Caroline Daisy Daking (although she preferred to be called Daisy Caroline Daking, and also had the nickname Pixie) was a dance teacher of morris, sword, and social dance. 

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DCD Daisy Daking Collection

 

Daisy Daking Collection

Daisy Caroline Daking Manuscript Collection (DCD)
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Notes: Diaries of Caroline Daisy Daking, and a presentation booklet in hand-made textile envelope
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VWML Location: Ann Mason
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DCD/1 The log of The Fine Companion

 

The log of The Fine Companion

Daisy Caroline Daking Manuscript Collection (DCD/1)
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Date: 1914/1940
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Notes: A notebook entitled The Log of The Fine Companion containing diary entries from Daisy Daking's travels in her caravan named 'The Fine Compan... ion", which she took from Oxford to the Stratford-upon-Avon festival in 1914. Daisy Daking was accompanied by P ([Gladys Margeurite Girdlestone]) and Alec ([Alexander Noel Hepburne-Scott]). The first entry in 1914 is dated 23rd July, the last 28 November. After this, the notebook has been used as a scrapbook documenting Daking's activities as a dance teacher for the YMCA in France during WW1. Entries include photographs, permits, letters, newspaper clippings and a booklet entitled English Folk Dancing for Men, Women, Boys, Girls published by the YMCA. Later letters are dated 1940 and show Daking's interest in assisting during WW2. A final entry was made on 2nd May 1940. Names noted in the log include: Mr. Ball [James William Balls], Janet Heatley Blunt, Constant Billy [William Hamilton Fyfe], Dr. Hampton [Frank Anthony Hampton], Mrs Hawes [ Katie May Hawes], [Harold Wilberforce Howe], Teddy ("Rufty") [ Edward Laurence Jones], [Douglas] Kennedy, [William] Kimber, Ursula Marsh, Olive, [Beatrice] Sainsbury, Arthur Sidgwick, Ingeborg Sogaard, Edna Spokes, [Catharine Octavia] Stevens, [Marjorie] Taylor, [Lancelot Andrewes] Vidal, William Henry Lowe Watson, Wilky [George J. Wilkinson], [Frida] Zimmern. For more information and a typescript of the logbook, see The fine companion : the journal of a caravan trip from Oxford to Stratford-upon-Avon in the summer of 1914 / edited by Hilary Clare. - Elsie Jeanette Oxenham Society, 2011. See more
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The Log of The fine Companion


1914

 

July 23


I came to the Hill Top about 3.0pm. The Van was in good order, but needed a clean out, so I saw to that & then bought
supplies. The baker was jogging down the road, so I stopped his cart. Dorothy gave me tea in the kitchen with her C.O.S. being at Headington for "The Dream". I cleared up everything & then myself and then rolled round to the Vidals to ask about the Country Dancing Class. Mrs. Vidal gave me a hearty welcome and the two sons were discovered talking Morris tunes and dances. I was asked to supper, so came back for my shoes and then went into the garden and talked to Lance Vidal.
Kimber told him that Old Kimber knows a lot more dances and tunes, but won't tell them to people. The old Headington Side udes to be frightfully debauched and go of at Whitsuntide for weeks and weeks and never come home to their wives. They would be drunk the whole time, and turn up at the end of the trip with no money at all. The Old Kimber got converted and turned Methodist, so set his face against the Morris. But he had taught all his sons and daughters and they loved it, though he did all he could to discourage it. Young Kimber has taught the side all he knows, but means to get more out of his father if he can. The old man refuses to speak. Not long ago Old Kimber and Henry Franklin arranged to meet in a pub in Oxford and dance jigs. Young Kimber heard of this, and came down.

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meaning quietly to watch from behind something and see what his father did do - but the old man saw him, and never said a word, but went straight back to Headington
without dancing a step. Mr. Vidal says that Young Kimber was a little drunk when he told him this, it must have been pricelessly impressive.

 

A gypsy woman once said to Lois Vidal , "You have a lucky face and a wanting heart."

 

We had an nice supper. They have a really fine old oak table and [?hey], like Constant Billy, don't have any table cloth, which is delightful. The dancing class was in the school garden. A good many turned up, about eighteen I should think. John Vidal played the clarinet. The dancing was nice, but a few beginners were struggling in the hope of future success.


Then I went back to the Van and Dr Hampton with me, he bought a Spanish Sausage and a book. He liked the Van.
Then Lois turned up and I made milk cocoa as there were milk and cream to use up. I spilled the cocoa and then knelt in it. We fetched C.O.S. and she had some too. Then Lois went, and C.O.S. and I took Dr Hampton over the house and farm, and then he went home. He left me half a box of cigarettes. He seems to be a kind of supply store - two sprigs of
lavender seem a very poor exchange.

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for all this. C.O.S. came and slept in the Van at last, I slept and she seemed to keep awake, but always does that one's first night.

 

July 24


We got up about 6;30 and C.O.S. went to her housework. I put the beds away And then Lois arrived to breakfast. We had a really nice meal. The Primus was a lamb, but I must not say "Blast" so often. After breakfast I cycled into Oxford and spent most of the day at 64 Woodstock Ro writing and packing. I told Mr Sidgwick the [5 h w k w] joke, he had never heard it and was vastly pleased. There was a Morris class at 5 oclock in St Giles for Miss Taylor, as she had had no dancing in Rome and was joining for a little before going to Stratford. I got back about 7 oclock and had a hot bath and took my supper across to C.O.S. The Spanish Sausage is a queer compound, but might grow upon one. We talked life and I helped to wash up. I found Lois in the dark sitting on the hill. We made our beds then sat again on the hill till it was too cold. Then in the Van for tunes one the accordion and so to bed (Pepys)

 

July 25


We woke early and listened to a lark on the ground getting ready to fly. He made little chirps and twirls of song and then started up and away. I had never heard that before

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Then C.O.S. startled us considerably by banging over the front door with the letters.
About twenty years ago Mrs Vidal helped to entertain some [London]girls form the [Ships]. She asked one her living, and the girls said, "Oh I'm a Worm Eater". It appears that she earned her living by drilling holes in fake furniture to look like worm holes!
It rained hard, so we shut ourselves in and had a hearty breakfast. Lois kicked over the coffee pot , so I had to wash the floor. Then she went home, and I turned the Van into a laundryand washed clothes. The wind was too good to be neglected.

Then took my sewing kid over to the Vidals as the had promised to let me use the sewing machine. Made a nightgown all except the lace and buttonholes. Stayed to lunch. I believe I could be as nice as the Vidals if I lived in a house called "Windrush" with so many different flowers in the garden. Came back after lunch and had a visit from Edna Spokes
We made a chocolate pudding, The blacksmith had been during the morning and painted the new shelves a bright scarlet. The paint dripping in the sun in all directions and making it a little difficult to get in and out of the Van.  One would have thought it a better plan to paint the shelves before putting them on the Van - but I suppose there is a rule about such things . A Blacksmith must know.

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A present from Mrs. Vidal of a bunch of mixed herbs and a bag of shallots form the garden. The herbs hang inside the Van and the shallots outside.

I went over to the Spokes for tea. Edna gave me a very nice paper pattern of a frock for the baby.
Olive came about seven oclock with her baggage for the night. We went out Together with our jugs and bought milk and cream at the Ball's farm. Fred Cooper presented me with a large red dahlia, the first of the season. We carried it in triumph to the Van and were immediately aware of an immense swarm of earwigs. Fortunately the are clean and friendly beasts. The boy at the farm is like nice Mr Pallet of Kidlington who is such a good folk dancer.
Olive intensely pleased with everything - in a voice mounting the octave at every exclamation.

We had scrambled eggs on toast for supper and the chocolate [cake] with lost of cream, and butter and biscuits, and cocoa made with milk. Olive tried the Spanish Sausage, I felt I could not face it. She said "are you quite sure it is good?" and put it down hurriedly.
We went to bed early and talked late, The wind was terrific all the night. The Van tugged at her moorings, and when everything rattled there still seemed something left to begin a fresh noise. We were most comfortable. we agreed that there was nothing like

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The Wind to make one thoroughly understand the comfort of a warm soft bed.

 

July 26


We waked early and talked and had tunes on the accordion. "Shale we gather at the River" because of it being Sunday.
Olive read "[Lindle Wakes"] breathlessly, and I had "Times Laughing Stocks". One claims "A Tramp Woman's Tragedy" at once. We got without much difficulty. the bath just fits in the van and we just fit  in the bath!
Breakfast too exactly one hour and a half because we began to discuss FolK Dance Propaganda - this being a subject which one never finishes.
Then Olive went home and I called on C.O.S. in the kitchen. She was stuffing a duck. Our Mag came over and told my fortune with a pack of cards. The most wonderful luck of course -but its the teasing of our Mag which is such fun.
Then Miss Zimmerman and her nice German girl called and I showed them the Van, and Edna Spokes came with more paper patterns for the baby. Back to lunch with Miss Zimmerman leaving the Spanish Sausages on guard.
A very happy lunch with Miss Sainsbury there as well. We each told past experiences until we could laugh no more. Cycled to Iffley to see P. about the buying of a dust pan and then

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to Cowley to sign legal things for the Baby.
The to 64 Woodstock Rd in the pouring rain, my only hat getting soaked to the skin. Fortunately my only other one was at No 64 so I could take that and leave the poor wet thing stretched out
to recover. Mr and Mrs Sidgwick were alone , so I had tea and we talked by the fire. Mr Sidgwick wrapped in cushions with bad lumbago.
Ethel was in to supper, Then to Sunningwell to see the blacksmith about greasing the wheels and a screw eye for the baggage carriers behind. He was ready to come and do it at six oclock
in the morning, but that seemed a little early and we arranged a later time. Then a quiet talk in the van with C.O.S. and then alone on the top rail, A really satisfactory. Perhaps a little tiring.

July 27
Waked at 6:15 by C.O.S. with an invitation to breakfast. Went over to her and read some of the Hardy poems. A lordly breakfast in the kitchen side by side. A friendly visit from Mrs Ball and
also Our Mag. The blacksmiths son came at 8;15 to look at the luggage carrier, so I sent him back to Sunningwell for a screw eye and his tools. Horse and man came punctually at 8:30 The
man very pleasant and a little amused, He just managed to fit the horse into the new [?] Then to the road to sit and wait for the blacksmith's boy. Waited three quarters of an hour dancing with

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impatience to be off and away, but boy so pleasant when he did arrive, that it was impossible to be tart to him.
Then off down the hill. Stopped for supplies in Oxford and baggage from No 11. All the Sidgwicks with P. ready and welcoming. Stacked everything in the Van- showed everybody over her,
The man was really nice and handy. Then fed by Lilly downstairs as she had overheard the time that breakfast was away, and then off along the Woodstock Rd. We shut ourselves in and packed hard and made all trim - P. pausing suddenly, a little seasick and longing for a walk along the road. Certainly it does heave and shake. Discovered no sign of my ring. I know I only took it off to get dressed - but missed it just before leaving. It can't really be lost - only mislaid. Perhaps C.O.S. will find it in the grass - it may still be in the Van, but there is no sign - it was mother's.
Stopped at the Blacksmith's in Summertown to have the wheels greased. Little boys much excited. Packing inside the Van -and P. on the road. Driver turned round with a grin and said, "This is a nice life ain't it?" Stopped to write it down a suitcase fell off the rail, everything on the floor and fountain pen sneezed over best silk shirt. Fortunately the spots come under
the collar. Left our hats inside the Van and walked along the road together. Stopped at the "Britannia" to feed the horse and took our lunch over to the canal bank. Bread, bacon, [hams], bananas. Drove the horse a little while.

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Answers to her [name] more than Emma did. Better for the man to drive. The man said greasing the wheels eased the Van of about half a ton. Horse slipped badly and nearly fell on the smooth tarred road, Exciting. So to "Sturdy's" Castle by 2:45 pm where we found the new horse "Fanny" waiting by the roadside with a country youth. So out came Captain and back to
Oxford with the man and Fanny fitted the [Sharves] and off we went. That strap behind is called the "breeching" and helps the horse going down hill. The horse sits on it as it were andyou needn't be frightened if it goes sideways a little, because it can get more grip that way.

We had both kinds of couplings on the Sharves because then we could have a horse with any kind of harness.
There was another boy with a horse named jolly waiting for us at the foot of Doddington Hill. It is an impossible bit of country for a heavy van and the roads are all tarred so there is no foothold for the horses. Our driver said - "They don't care for the 'osses." However the two of them took us up in splendid style. We bought two more rolls and some wonderful jam
buns at the butcher's shop. We had a meal in the Van, but didn't bother to make any tea. The methylated spirit was slung underneath and the spirit stove seemed stuck together, and after all what's a cup of tea

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when you are merely hungry?
The second boy sat on Jolly and we went on to Adderbury. Such a welcome from Miss Blunt and her cousin. We settled into the field and scrubbed the van. It needed it after a journey of twenty two miles. We then went into the house where Miss Blunt has the largest bath imaginable. The cook had been coaling up the kitchen fire for hours before our coming. We put on lilac print frocks and brushed our hair. Never could one see or imagine anything more clean than we. Miss Blunt's cousin has collected Indian Folk Songs in Kashmir, she sang some after dinner
We looked at the pictures for the fete tomorrow. There are some lovely things. It was difficult to know how to price them and we couldn't help much there. We went to the van at 9:45pm. Miss Blunt insisting on our taking the hunting crop with us in case the horses in the field should attack us in the night. She wanted to send us early tea in the morning and a maid
to call us at eight oclock. This we refused - it did not seem to be in the picture. Had a little trial with the hunting crop, but couldn't reach the window from the top rail. Could reach everything else in the van including P. Then settled quietly and read P. to sleep - though she woke up again at "Pure from the night and splendid for the day" - got soaked to

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in candle grease. Read myself to sleep. How can people go to fashionable watering places! Owls in the trees in the night - perhaps C.O.S. will find the ring. It is not in the Van - I literally took the Van and shook it upside down but there was no sign of it.

July 28


Waked early both of us, so had time to read. P deep in with [Tagore]. No need to hurry , breakfast up at the house being at 9:15- a most comfortable hour, but hopeless if one had to pack and be on the road by ten oclock.
P. playing an uncertain "Jamaica" on the pipe, and then a really recognizable "Lady Cullen" but stronger on "Home Sweet Home." The house is most beautiful. It is were mine I should have all my meals sitting on the staircase. There is a XIV Century stone arch leading to the kitchen. I imagine living here, with ancestors all around the wall with your nose- Mrs Hawes at Dorchester once was said to me about the High Church Vicar. She did not approve of early service taken fasting. She said she could not see any reason in it. "The poor stomach has to do the work for all and if one doesn't come on top- t-other does."
P. washed stocking and D. blacked boots, It saves time if one specializes. The a drive to Cotefield with Miss

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Blunt, taking our pictures for this afternoon. A happy morning hanging them on screens in the big marquee. It was quite interesting finding out how the go to show their best. Then back to the house. We passed a motor caravan standing by the roadside, a wonderful modern thing made of three ply. Gentle rain. A hurried lunch. The house is so lovely. Up stairs and
down stairs and round corners and always a glimpse & [etc] which is a sheer delight. Then a quick change into immaculate white and off to the Fete with powder on our noses.
Mrs Jones in the village told us that the house is haunted. she mentioned three ghosts. A headless woman and someone laid in [beer] in the cellar - but the nicest is "A rustling lady in the little drawing room.
The Fete was fun and had many attractions. I am afraid we were the least of these. There was a Best Baby Prize and an ugliest Dog Prize (on the terrace) and Bowling for a Pig. We wanted to do this last, but felt it might be embarrassing if happened to win. The Palmist was a lamb to look upon. Obviously from London and absolutely IT. D. couldn't help
following her about - one understands young men. The country there in force. But how foolish some looked Tags and ends of materials tied together round the middle with something  different - and some of them such lovely young

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women. Why do they?
Ingleborg Sogaard dance to Grieg behind a fence, but we couldn't go and see her because we were selling pictures. We really did enjoy ourselves - but it was amazingly hard work -and dear Miss Blunt began to look so tired, but couldn't rest because she knew everyone who wandered in. We made small purchases. A large bunch of lavender and the two little Kashmir drawings, and P. succumbed to the Malta Sketches.
Then we packed up and fell into the carriages and so back again. So dog tired that it seemed absurd - far more tired than after a day's trek. One only felt fit to crawl onto the top rail and blow out the candle. A quiet slow dinner. Mis Blunt told us about Miss Peta Brown who lives in Scotland and is a healer. She believes in the healing power of colours and makes
her patients wear clothes of their own influencing shade, which sounds entirely foolish written down like this but not at all so as told by Miss Blunt. Then P. played the Bechstein. She is wonderful. Then had a hot bath and back to the Van. Too tired for anything but silence. If P. had talked much [D.] would have snapped, but fortunately she hardly said a word, so it was just possible to maintain and attitude of

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melancholy affection

July 29


We tumbled up fairly early and packed everything. It did not take long as things are now so ship shape that we know our space to the inch. Poor Miss Blunt so tired at breakfast time after her hard day yesterday. She asked me to copy my record of the Endless One so that she might send it to Miss Peta Brown who is interested in charms and amulets. The maids form the house to see the Van. Overcome with admiration - the household arrangements appealing to their expert minds.
Then came a man with to our [horror] - two horses. We felt that we were face to face with utter ruin. What could we do? We held our breath and asked his charge, it was no more for one horse than for two - he would charge us 10/6 for the fourteen miles, and having an extra horse he had bought him along to save the other on the hilly road.
How grand we shall feel all the day. I wonder if I could sit on the front one and go along like that.
A nice man with a smile - he said "tis a roomy Van -tis deceivin'"
Miss Blunt gave us lettuces and some sections of honey, she walked with us through the village and so waved goodbye.

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We were sorry to leave her.
D. cycled into Banbury to buy supplies the food shops there are most excellent.
The Van waited by the Cross till we had finished and stowed the purchases away in the locker behind.
The man has bought a little boy with him whose duty it is to sit on the hill and hold the reins while the man leads the horses. The little boy very silent - he seemed a little puzzled at the piece of chocolate, but eventually knew what to do with it.
The road goes on steadily uphill to Edge Hill. The cornfields are wonderful. Mr Dealy - our driver -told us that it is the best harvest we have had since 1898.
The back horse is named Dapple and the Front one Ben. D. sat on Ben for about three miles - it was splendid - and so funny to feel his skin twitching under one's ankle.
Mr Dealy was vastly amused and warned about stiffness - but he doesn't know about our Morris legs.
Then a halt at the "Hare and Hounds" and a happy lunch in the Van. P. went for milk but they had none - we had imagined coffee- so we had cider instead. Mr Dealy refused this being a teetotaler - but he and Fred accepted each a jam [for] to sweeten their sandwiches.

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P. astride Ben and D. peeling mushrooms in the van - the view becoming more and more magnificent. Then through to Upton D. on Ben - to the [home] Farm. The farmer pleased to have us in his field only we must got where the hay had been cleared and not where it is just cut.
We pitched near the cottage with our back to a row of elm trees. Goodbye to Mr Dealy who wished us a happy holiday. Tea in no time. There was only skim milk at the farm so we said we would wait for the new milking and in the meantime the kettle boiled so we had some Russian tea instead. N.B. Always carry lemons. Tea on the grass by the van, the sun shining.
Iffley cake is wonderful. There arrived a small boy with a jug of the new milk , the bluest eyes possible and the worst possible squint.
P. pitched the tent -D. made a pudding out of the stale buns and an egg. If only one had vanilla essence - but the only flavouring in the locker is anchovy. Aha the lemon of course- and some jam. Lord only knows how it will taste - but it looks extremely nice in the bowl Aunt Mary gave us.
Then more cooking - in fact D.cooked everything she could lay her hands upon. Then hot baths in the tent. Then stripped some of the lavender for bags. Then supper. The little Dutch oven is a real lamb. You put things in it for a real long time you

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leave it alone and then P. says you are the most wonderful cook. We had just finished supper and had eaten absolutely everything, when P. gave a shout and leaped from the tent. D. looked and there was Alec with a cycle coming from the wrong corner of the field, and looking like he had just dropped in for friendly call on his way along the road. D. shouted
then and everyone fell into everyone else's arms. Then to feed him. Started with scrambled eggs but the seemed inadequate to support that frame, so dug some sausages (English) out of the locker and fried them. The sausages were a little sudden in their behaviour and spread out into crumbs in the most horrifying manner, but Alec seemed satisfied.
We has said before leaving - quite casually that we should be through Banbury on Wednesday.
Alec staying in Oxford with William Watson, sent him on a motor cycle to Banbury to tell us to wait - but the cycle broke down three miles out of Banbury. William Watson telegraphed to Alec who caught the next train. In Banbury he had hired a cycle and tracked us along the road - one man said a "menagerie" had gone by that way, and another remembered our name "The Fine Companion" Once he lost us entirely and had to go back again for miles.
Then coffee in the tent - and gossip. Sheep in the distance, a

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barking dog and owls, and a little singing of the silent primus (Stove) in the van, and Alec puffing a cigarette.
We didn't bother to tell our adventures, but just handed our logs to him. He says they will always be nice to read , even when we are dying. Then we turned the tent into a really nice bedroom for him wiht one of the spring beds and a camp washstand and a chair and a little lamp. Then we washed up and boiled kettles to wash ourselves and sat on the [hill] and drank Horlick[s] and said good night to Alec and turned in.
Alec was polite over the Horlicks but said it reminded him a little of mumps.
And so to bed. P. in a wild [paroxeyom] of terror because she said she saw a black beetle with two tails had suddenly settled on her leg. Probably the Horlick[s] was a little too strong, as she is not usually given to romancing.

July 30
Read Border Ballads to P. while she was dressing. She was overcome by one or two of them. And they are bloody. Alec went to the farm for eggs - one wonders what the farmer's wife thought of him - she must have thought that he had [curiously] changed during the night! A happy breakfast with the sun shining and a little wind. Disgracefully late 9 oclock or so

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Alec to the village in search of a carrier to take his hired cycle back to Banbury.
The woman at the cottage says she lived in a caravan for fifteen years selling Banbury Cakes all around Leamington and Stratford. That was when her first husband was alive 'tis her second husband that she has now. There are marigolds in the garden. Why are marigolds so neglected, except in cottage gardens? One would always have a clump of them in the sun where a wall makes a corner. P. making Alec's bed found fifteen earwigs. Then the three of us with packed lunch basket , books and needlework off to find the village.
There was a short cut through a cornfield A little path of red earth about a foot wide through the corn, which brushed one's face as we walked, poppies , and [scabius] and billy buttons and little blue birds eye as the edges thinned. Such a road afterwards with every kind of flower. Pale [scabius] and a deeper coloured thistle in clumps behind and then clover and yellow bedstraw.
So to the Castle Inn, and a man said we could go down the steps to the valley. So through trees down the hill. There was a monument at the bottom, but only about the
Battle of Waterloo. We have a better one at home.

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THE EARL OF WARWICK DEFEATED AND SLAIN
Stick no Bills


The path seemed to lead to a big house and no where else, so we felt doubtful. Alec put on his Best Manner and we got ready to smile and explain. We could always say we had bought
the eggs........
Then we found that the path went past the house, so probably the village would soon be found. A Church Spire was poking out from the trees. Then a rest under a big elm tree to write up our logs and look at the 'vista'. I think that is the proper word. People say that two is Company - but three can be more delightful than anything - only it is much more difficult
to find the right three. That's the real truth, while two will nearly always shake down and be happy.
There was a man on the road. He said that there is no shop , but that they might let us have a loaf of bread at the cottage where the tree is. So we marched to the cottage. A long low whitewashed kitchen with a half door, and a woman inside ironing, and a little boy having dinner at the table. She bought a loaf of baker's bread from an inner room and we paid for it, and then caught sight of a just cut loaf of home made on the table. We asked her to exchange - to keep the baker's loaf and let us have her's; she though this a little queer

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but we smiled steadily at her and she did what we wanted. We also bought a bottle of cherry cider and a bottle of lemonade, but proper cider at a pub is more satisfactory - only there is no pub here. She says the village is called Radway. Then along the road and past a little Tudor cottage with a corner in the garden - one could make a home of that.
There was a field of new cut hay, so we jumped over a gate and settled under a big tree for lunch. Lettuce, home made bread and butter from the farm. Cheese - honey- raisin cake. Peace.
P. suddenly said this:-


There once was an Ichthysaurus
Who lived when the Earth was quite porous:
When he first heard his name
He fainted with shame
And departed long ages before us.


A long lazy afternoon with books and needle. P. sang German songs and read [Tregenew] to us . Alec slept. D. made lavender bags. The na reluctant packing and back to the road.
Can anyone spell this? 'Outside a cemetary stood a harassed pedlar and an embarassed cobbler gauging the symmetry of a lady's ankle with unparalleled ecstasy.' D. made seven mistakes and later on - when we asked him - over Constant Billy made one, and he's a First.

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Then a long stiff hill, but we trudged on till we came to the top. A motor passed us. It was standing there when we struggled u, and the lady asked us the way to Cirencester. We suggested all  kind of ways and Alec offered a map, but the man said they had one. We said a few sentences to the lady and then went on. It struck us that she had asked us in order to find out what kind we are -
and certainly we do look tramps- : we congratulated each other, that at least our accents are alright.
Back through our cornfield and D. to the farm for milk and cream. Such a welcome form kind Mrs Hawes. P. and Alec had been to the farm the other times. Back to the Van to find tea all ready on the table. The Iffley soda cake again - the kind that William Watson liked that Sunday on the river. He said - "I could kiss this cake!" Alec is a wonderful young man. Here he is quietly putting away things without anybody telling him. D. with her usual clumsiness knocked over the cream and had to go to the farm for more. Mrs Hawes said, "Yes it is serious, but accidents do happen - even indoors." After supper the sky looked grim, so we washed up in a great hurry and put everything under cover, Alec pinning down the little [frill] round the top of his tent so that no rain could blow in. Then a little quiet shower, So we three in the Van. P. and Alec

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writing logs and D. concocting towards tomorrow's breakfast. We had felt a sudden craving for mushrooms and asked advice at the cottage. A girl went into the fields and came back a  little while later with a heaped plateful. She asked 4d. The Spanish sausage is getting on my nerves. No one will eat it. P. was most decided she said 'My God it is Blutwurst'. Something
must be done with it as it is so obviously nourishing.
The rail again and reading 'Peacock Pie' to P. 11.5pm P. says "Mother won't know.'


July 31st


I will not go to Stratford today - I will not. This pitch is too lovely to leave and the day is too beautiful. If we start at eight o'clock tomorrow I am certain we could get to Stratford and fix camp by the evening. Alec shall tell the farmer when he goes for the milk. P. says it may rain tomorrow and the would delay us- but if it does rain, we can only get wet and Alec will work like a horse. We shouted to Alec and he said we would stay. Read Border Ballads to P. some of them are terrible. It makes one feel a little frightened of Alec , He's Scotch. Suppose he burnt the Van in the night with us in it!
Breakfast the D. cycled to the village for supplies for dinner tonight. It is quite easy to fee a man, Apparently he takes the same kind of food as a woman, only you must

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be careful to leave much more than you think necessary in the bottom of the saucepan for him to have another helping.
A man came into the field with a little cart. He stopped at the cottage and we went to see what was in it. Articles as follows;- Cucumbers oil lemons darning wool candles soap boo laces Pins scrubbing brushes rabbit food. Starch boot blackening soda metal polish. Tape cottons brushes writing paper. Bananas in picture post cards. Tomatoes plums tea. foot rules. Suspender elastic sandpaper cocoa laundry blue safety pins. Nail brushes matches 'Tam Buk' jam covers. Tin tacks luggage labels boot laces. His name is J.H. Townsend. Middle Tysoe. General Dealer and he has a lot of the same make as Alec's.
Then off along the road to Compton Wyniates. P. and Alec walking and D. on Norah Jones with the baggage strapped behind.
[Buds] of purple veitch by the roadside, yellow scotch daises, poppies wild [antirhinium] -betony and ever so many more.
Coming to Eppwell White House we found that Compton was still two miles away, so seeing a wood we decided to stay there. A woman at the cottage said that there was no where to get anything to drink nearer than Eppwell - so the family being terrible thirst, D, on Norah jones to the public house about a mile and a half away. A [most] curious village; so dead and forsaken and
quaint. All the

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houses built of stone brown and green with moss, and put at an angle to the road. The Chandler's Arms was the Public House, and the gentleman and his wife were very kind. They had no cider,
but offered ginger wine, however D. bought Stone ginger instead as P. is non alcoholic except for cider away from home and out of doors.
The gentleman says it is a funny place and the people don't care for anything - the [houses] are never repaired and the land is let to go to rack and ruin. That old burnt down house by the Church used to be a monastery and they say that there was once an underground passage from it to the Church. The lady tied the Ginger Beer bottles together with a string, so that D. could string them around he neck like milking pails.
The Church looked so little and quaint that it was impossible to pass it by, so the bottles were put on a grave as it seemed rude to take them inside. Such a little crude old Church - Early English with the queerest shaped arch. The was a man painting the door, so D. borrowed a pencil to put i down. The man sharpened it most beautifully first with an enormous chisel. The arch wider at the top than at the bottom.
[Picture]
(The two sides of the arch are alike in the original)
A dear little carved cross in the Churchyard with sprays of little stone roses. 'In memory of Ursula Marsh.' She dies in 1843. She must have been nice with a name like that. The must have loved her to have given her afterwards such a pretty little cross. Then back to the wood and a most glorious place with bracken and piles

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of brown brushwood and P. said "Wild Mushrooms."
Such a lunch! P. Said "oh yes most probably a XIV Century arch" So D, needn't have been so excited.
A long lazy afternoon and D. back to the Van to cook dinner, Alec and P. walking back to Epswell to return the bottles. D, put on the Irish stew which always takes hours and hours to cook, and then P. arrived alone, Alec having gone to the village to post letters. P. refused tea said she didn't want any - but fairly wolfed the bread and honey when it was put before her.
No Alec - where could he be? He wouldn't have had time to be drunk by the roadside - would he? and far more serious no butter!

So D. on Norah to the village. Alec was met trudging back along the road and D. said "My dear have you had any food?" Alec said "Well I was hungry , os I bought a penny worth of acid drops and showed the bag. Too much for them both and D fell off the cycle and knocked Alec's arm and the acid drops were scattered on the high road. However they both picked the up and polished them on their trousers and went their separate ways munching.
There was a wonderful smell of new pastry in the village shop so D. asked if it could be jam tarts? Miss Fox said she had just taken some out of the oven, so D. demanded them. Miss Fox said , "Well come into the kitchen and look at them." So into the kitchen and there they were all hot in their little pan

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DCD-1-28
D. said "Two dozen" and seized a knife, And os did Miss Fox and they soon out of their pans and in a box. The children were so pleased and had two each at once when the box was opened. This log is all about food. But that is because it is being kept by the Cook.
[Prumiss] had hysterics an the big kettle fell over ------There is a little rain and the big black slugs are crawling out on the road. D remembers , when she was young, picking up one of these thinking it was a nice umbrella tassel.

To have a hot bath out in a field at ten oclock at night and to dance about in your slippers under a big tree!! Milk cocoa.

 

Aug 1


A happy month to us all. the rain was coming down steadily at 6 pm [am?] when P [strongly] shouted that people must get up. Then a scramble and real hard work. Alec and P. outside the tent D. inside stacking beds and then cooking breakfast. D. to the farm for milk. she having india rubber wellingtons which made it possible to walk through the acre of newly cut hay. A hearty breakfast in the Van and then to clear away and wash up and wedge everything for the journey. Not quite ready when the horse came at 8 oclock, but soon off along the road.
D. with cycle trundled to the farm t osay goodbye to Mrs Hawes. D. said fervently 'Please God we would come again next year."

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And Mrs Hawes said ["Well ye can all have the saame horse and the saame yung feller.']
Then Sunrising Hill to come down, one of the worst possible places. 1 in 5 and curves and windings all the way. Yesterday, when going to Epwell, a man said there were no hills on the road,  but several 'banks' and though the road turned out to be a veritable switchback we realized the true meaning of 'hill' when we came to Sun Rising. The cottage woman tell of accidents that have happened at one time or another at every curve. We saw the orchard where the traction engine crashed, carrying behind it menagerie Vans full of wild beasts and we identified the telegraph pole where the 'young man's brains was found.'! However The Fine Companion came down safely, but with a tremendous shaking that shook apart a beam in front an made the front door impossible to open and then impossible to shut.
D. could not bear the thought of all the precious food getting jolted and spoilt and stuck together, so put up her feet and coasted down to the foot of the hill and sat on a gate and wrote up her log. Sat so quietly that a little field mouse came out and played about on the earth at the foot of the gate. D watching till the most awful pins and needles developed in both feet.
Rain rain dripping trees and wet grass and no horizon; the weather clearing a little later on, but still very damp.

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After a steady nine miles, the horse setting a steady pace at four miles an hour, and for the walkers, very welcome halt by the roadside for lunch. Then D. cycled into Stratford to get the gate opened and at the bridge met Constant Bill cycling to meet the Family. Back together to the interview Mr Brown - round to the school for letters and then to meet the van. Dear me how nice.
Then a very lazy afternoon. Alex and P. putting up the tents and D. scrubbing inside. Billy on the hill reading this log- he said 'I should publish it' Just time to jump into gym tunics and hot baths and then to tea with Billy on the lovely garden where he is. Then to the school and on everybody's [bosom] and then a class with [Wilky] to teach it. Then on Norah Jones to shop
for Sunday. getting so wet Then back again and into dry clothes and dinner to cook. Alec came to dinner and Billy rolled round afterwards bringing a chocolate cake and chocolates. He thinking us to be poor forlorn creatures with nothing nice around us. A hearty meal in the tent. Billy went out and bought a lemon squeezer and made some drink. and also some cheese to show us how to work Lilian who is the [shaping] dish. He bought two pounds of cheese! Then P. to interview the Chief and we others to washing up. A friendly visit form Miss Roberts and three of the Scarborough contingent. They all pleased to see the van. The whole party turned out be P. at 9.45. The arrived a weary P. to her ten

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and then only a screech owl in the trees.


Sunday Aug 2.


A very wet morning but a happy late breakfast in the van with hearty rejoicings at it's watertightness and the dryness of the big A tent. The chores unending and dinner put on the stoves. P. in thick coat and boots round and about outside. The [head] washings drying and combings. Then the awful discovery of rain coming into the Van in two places. D hurriedly into a short
gym suit and oilskins and sou'wester and a difficult clamber on to the roof of the Van. The rain pelting. the only thing to do was to sprawl on one's face and untie the Willesden canvas from under the luggage rail and spread it on the top of the Van holding it in place with carpet nails. It was an exciting job because the wind siezed the canvas which attacked D and knocked her down, and wetting in spite of waterproof clothing, Then a clamber down and a change almost to the skin. P. replaced the ladder most carefully; D. got out of the van and the ladder gave way and there was a most wonderful crash. Result a really fine bruise which came on the top of an egg shaped lump. If it had only been on the nose instead of the right shin, everyone would have noticed it and been sorry. Ten dinner. Then Billy and Alec to coffee and a long afternoon of reading sewing letter writing and heart to hearters. The Salvation army providing the music around the corner

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"[Thanks] to the Glory of God they daren't make a noise like that to anyone else!
A letter from C.O.S. saying that the ring is found. It was discovered by Our Mag in the grass, Oh dear - How satisfying.

Aug 3


This afternoon a telegram from Rusty saying that there is fighting in the North Sea and asking Alec to meet him in London tomorrow so that they can enlist together. Alec is going ,but has telegraphed to his father as he may want him to be with him. P. and D. writing to Rusty. There may be some work for us. We are strong and cheerful and can cook - though God knows that it is very little to be able to do.


Aug 4


A happy day, Billy writing the funeral service of the Spanish sausage all the afternoon. For the procession- a recipe- intoned- Gregorian tune. The response - 'Cheer up the wurst is yet to come!' . Alec to come to supper for some of his favourite sausage [stirs] and mushrooms. D. teaching in evening school / Alec arrived early with a telegram from London. He is to go tonight and enlist they may be off at any minute. There wasn't time for any supper. P. went to the station to say goodbye, D. didn't go because one was enough and besides he may never be back and one doesn't have scenes.

 

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Aug 5
War was declared last evening. D bought some lentils etc this morning. They were 2/- instead of 1/11, everything has gone up 1d per pound, but that is just a scare and because of the sudden rush and will settle down later.
Mr Sharp has decided to carry on the school as long as possible, it is silly to disorganise things. We shall have the funeral just the same. Mr Kennedy says he will be the undertaker instead of Alec.
Telgram from Alec. Daking. Girdlestone Paddock, Western Lane Stratford on Avon. Rusty and I enlist London Scottish tonight love Alec.
The baker here is in trouble because they have taken his horses to help get Yeomanry away today and he cannot deliver his Country Round. Billy came to supper. He washed up and put away all by himself. He did it most beautifully and even washed the cloth out afterwards and hung it in the right place. He must be the only first who can do a thing like that really well.
D. went to the Town Hall to volunteer for emergency duty. She said she understands camping and can cook and sew. She looked as competent as possible. The men were very nice indeed and said there would be something.
The funeral of the Spanish sausage is abandoned. With the sudden rise in the price of food it seems foolish to destroy an article which may be so needed later on.
P. packing Alec's things to send after him. Not a pair of socks or a

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shirt in decent repair - such darning and button sewing, but he will be comfortable for a bit at any rate. After going to bed, there was a visit form Mrs Brown. She came to say that some German ships have been sunk and that Japan is ready to help. We shall need everybody.


Aug 6


We went to the Town Hall together, as P. had the brilliant idea that if we could be [bracketed] we'd be able to take the A tent and two beds and a small outfit and be put down anywhere where needed.
P. learning to cook. We explained that we could be jolly useful. Benson was entering his name at the same time.
D. taught the Flamborough in morning school. A class of raw beginners in long tight skirts and corsets poor lambs, but intelligent and even affectionate.
Billy and Mrs Howe both passed their elementary examination last evening. Letters from Alec and Rusty - they have both signed for four years. Poor K. She and Rusty won't be married on March 1 now. P. came in late at night from a walk and sat down on a basin of soup.


Nov 2nd


A letter from Alec. He has been for eleven days and nights in the trenches at Ypres and is now off duty for a little rest

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He has not been hit - so far - but is having to go to the doctor every day.
And me at home knit and knit, and welcome these poor Belgians and try in some way to help in all this nightmare of so terribly altered social conditions.
And all those boys out there - seeing Death like that - the Death that is not laid out...............
Perhaps this is a Dream and all the before was true - or was that the Dream. They cannot both be true - at least not in the same year ?

 

[Two photographs]

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Alec was killed in the Ypres sector early in 1915. I had a little note, written in pencil on a leaf form a notebook. He said "We are just going into action. It is all so beastly that it must be for some good purpose."
It was his last remark. For he was killed that night. I sent the note to his mother.

The United Kingdom declared war on Germany 4th August 1914

First shot fired by Allied troops – German Steamer SS Pfalz surrenders after being fired on by Fort Nepean, south of Melbourne, Australia.

Credit Wikipedia and ABC Australia.

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[Two Images]


Greta . Self ? K Spence. G Girdlestone

 

GG Self Joan Sharp

 

There was also a snap of a party with George Butterworth but one has probably sent it to some relative of his. He was killed. There was a party with Joan and self and Constant Billy but it seems to have gone

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DCD-1-39

 

[3 Photographs of dancers]

 

Folk Dance Demonstrations in France 1917.

 

[Photograph of Daisy Daking and soldier]

 

Got stranded for ten days at St Pol with swords and music etc. Too heavy for lorry hopping YM man took me in as a Hut Lady till a car could be spared from Head Quarters.

 

[Newspaper clipping with photograph of Daisy Daking and text]

Daily Mirror

July 1918

Folk Dancing - Miss D C Dakin who has been introducing folk dancing for convalescents. Army gymnastic instructors are copying her method.

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DCD-1-40

 

[Photograph]


Conference at St Omer Jan. 1919.
YMCA base & up line secretaries and heads of departments to meet Sir Arthur Yapp and discuss reconstruction work in England
Sir Arthur Yap = X1

 

D.D. Kept a dairy for about eighteen months (six exercise books of it) It is now in the hands of Mr F. J. Chamberlain, National Sec YMCA in place of Sir Arthur.
Transferred to Library EFDS 1937.

1 The photograph has an X marked on a central figure, Sir Arthur Yapp.

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DCD-1-41

 

This was one's last motor pass before going to the army of occupation. The pass was valid, always, for three weeks and had to be handed in before the next one was issued. Train travelling was impossible. Passenger trains were very difficult indeed as it was almost always impossible to get a pass. Troop trains were not allowed as one was a woman (though one managed to scrounge now and again)
The only thing possible was a motor pass and trusting to luck to pick up a lift

Pass inserted on next page DCD-1-42.

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DCD-1-45

 

[BOOKLET]

 

YMCA
English Folk-Dancing
for Men, Women, Boys, Girls

 

This work lasted for two years & then had to be abandoned because lack of money meant the closing down of many Y.M.C.A. departments the music section included - but good work was done - the Lake District branch was started off - one travelled Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire Nottinghamshire, Cumberland & the Lakes - & made many contacts & handed over little groups of enthusiasts to the E.F.D.S. But except for the Lake District the work mainly fizzled out. There was at this time no county organisation E.F.D.S. & one couldn't, therefore, hand over1

 

1 Handwritten text in diary written under the attached booklet.

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DCD-1-46

 

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

The English Folk-Dance Society was founded in 1911 by a band of enthusiasts with Mr. Cecil J. Sharp as Director, "to disseminate a knowledge of English Folk-dances, folk-music and singing games, and to encourage the practice of them in the their traditional forms." The movement spread rapidly and branches were formed in many of the large cities.
During 1917, the Y.M.C.A. in France engaged Folk-dance teachers to work in the camps and huts to teach the soldiers. The dances were so greatly appreciated that additional teachers were added to the staff; and Demonstrations and Country Dance parties became frequent. The work was continued to the end of the summer of 1919, and the great success attained convinced the Y.M.C.A. of the necessity of including Folk-Dancing in the programme of work in England, also of providing efficient teaching in Y.M.C.A.'s and Red Triangle Clubs.
The Y.M.C.A. wishes to do everything possible to encourage the art of Folk-Dancing and to help bring back to the country something of this great national heritage of dance and song, and with this end in view have formed a Y.M.C.A. branch of the English

 

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DCD-1-48

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

Folk-Dance Society, with the benefit of the advice and direction of Mr. Cecil Sharp as a member of its committee. The Branch has secured the services of Miss D. C. Daking of the English Folk-Dance Society, to teach Folk-Dancing in the Red Traingle clubs throughout the country and to give help and advice to any Y.M.C.A. Secretary intesrested in the subject, also to put him in touch with any local E.F.D.S work in his area.

So much is already being undertaken that it is now necessary to secure the services of a second teacher in order to deal with demands for help which are reaching the office from many parts of the country.

We have in England three types of Folk-Dance; the Morris, Sword and Country Dances. A word concerning each type will be of interest

 

MORRIS DANCES. The Morris Dances have been found in some of the villages, notably in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Derbyshire, and are still danced by men at festival times. They are essentially "show" dances being much more difficult than Country Dances, and require long and constant practice, with real team work. The members of the team have to be very fit with an ample reserve of strenght. Villagers say it takes two years to make a Morris dancer.

 

SWORD DANCES. Sword dances immediately suggest the kilt and sporran of Scotland, but there are English Sword Dances, infourtunately very little known. The have however a singular beauty and interest. They are danced in the North - Yorkshire, Northumberland and Durham, but are quite different form the Scottish dances, where the swords are crossed on the ground.

 

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DCD-1-49

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

[Photograph of EFDS dance demonstration team]

 

COUNTRY DANCE

 

3

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DCD-1-50

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

[Photograph of EFDS men's demonstration team doing a morris dance]

 

MORRIS DANCE

 

4

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DCD-1-51

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

[Photograph of EFDS demonstration team doing a country dance]

 

COUNTRY DANCE

 

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DCD-1-52

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

[Photograph of the EFDS men's demonstation team sword dancing, titled Northumberland Sword Dance]

 

 

English Sword Dances are for groups of five, six or eight men, who hold their swords in the air, hilt and point being linked in a ring. They are most complicated, the dancers turning, twisting, jumping and running continuouslt under the swords in turn, the ring never broken except in the final figure, when the "lock is tied" and a frame made and held for the audience to see. Though complicated they are not as difficult as the Morris, the step being simpler.

 

COUNTRY DANCES. The Country Dance is essentially the old social dance of England. The dances are for men and women, and charming in every way invaluable as a pastime, for they can be danced in-door or out, and are suitable for young and old alike.

There are many forms of the Country Dance - longways, rather like Sir Roger, but in great variety, and rounds and squares for four, six or eight. The step is simple and the dances fascinating to both the dancer and to the spectator. They have been taught in

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DCD-1-52

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls

[Photograph of children longsword dancing]

 

the schools for some years and are becoming increasingly popular throughout the whole country.

 

The Y.M.C.A. hope every place with make an effort to arrange a class. The fees are exceedingly small and thte larger the class the smaller the payment made by each individual. Each section of the community will be considered, men, women, boys and girls, and nothing is so calculated to brighten and cheer life as the re-introduction of these old dances so essentially English and so much a part of our folk-lore.

 

Recently a great Folk-Dance Demonstration and Competition was arranged to take place in the Midlands. The Dances for the Demonstration were taught by Miss Daking on her visit to the various centres, and she will help to arrange such gatherings, which should prove a source of income to those promoting them. In some places expenses have also been met by arrangements with the Local Education Authority for additional Classes to be held for their School teachers.

 

C. J. Sharp as judge. Nottingham Branch E.F.D.S. and Y.M.C.A. village clubs

 

If you feel your town or village would like to receive a visit from a Folk-Dance teacher, and to experience what is one of the most delightful social events imaginable, will you


7

 

 

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DCD-1-54

English Folk Dancing: : : :  For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

discuss the question with your friends and write to the Y.M.C.A. No village is too small to receive most careful consideration, no town too large. The question of expenses is a very small item. Elaborate, highly polished dance floors are undesirable. The essential requirements are people really keen to learn, who will enter the course with enthusiasm and eagerness.

 

Any further inquiries will be gladly answered and all correspondence should be addressed to - Major J. T. Bavin, Y.M.C.A. Music Section, Malet Street, W.C.1.

[Photograph of children country dancing]

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DCD-1-56


ENGLISH DANCE AND SONG

DECEMBER 1939


ON TEACHING SWORD
By PETER KENNEDY

 

Last term I had an experience somewhat different to that of the usual folk dance teacher. I am a commonplace public schoolboy and I put up an insignificant notice on the prominent notice-board of a notable public schoo l:
THE NORTH SKELTON TEAM WILL MEET ON THE SECOND GAMES FIELD AT ....
I had asked various "suitable looking" boys to join a team of "sword"; I was going to play on my nice new accordion and teach at the same time. The talk for the rest of the week was about this notice, which was assumed to refer to a new secret football club.

On the correct date at the appointed time, the "players" arrived. Hardly had we begun sword dancing, which is a wild dance with swords and detachable handles, when the team observed spies behind the trees; a charge with swords drawn resulted in disaster. 

Before the next meeting I got involved in "domestic troubles"; one of the team had turned traitor but I eventually succeeded in getting a substitute, a boy with spectacles which, incidentally, were magnetised by the swords and got mixed up in the lock. 

We never actually got any further than "over someone or other's sword," which we performed with precaution, as though each player was undergoing torture one after another. 

When we came back to the lock I told them how it was usual to place the lock over some fool's head; they seemed to think it was execution, so I offered my head knowing how they hated me. They still were stubborn so I suggested making a lock round a tree. We "locked" the tree as it continued to stand, they tried me next and although you may not believe me, I have still got my head. My players were delighted and having made the lock round every player in turn we searched for centripetal objects. 

The next day two players went down with measles, so we had to conclude the dance and send the swords with detachable handles back to some society. Now there is a notice on the school notice-board about a new school theatrical society.

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CD-1-58

 

MARCH & APRIL 1940

 

44  ENGLISH DANCE AND SONG

A REPORT

by D. C.Daking

 

PETER KENNEDY'S most valuable letter has stirred me within some of my many memories and I think that it may come in useful if I write a report that sohuld have been made many years ago - only at that time nobody was interested nor was if possible to find a usefulness in what seemed then to be so very passed.

Early in 1917 the Base Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. in Harve lifted his head and questioned "Is there nothing we can give to the Troops but the end of a perfect day?" and Helen Tuckett of Bristol who happened to be his motor driver said "Yes folk dancing and send for so and so."

I had a sudden letter, went to London to be inspected by Lady Bessborough and when I had managed to convince her that I was never appeared in tights, she franked me as "suitable" and I was handed on to Lena Ashwell. The Military Authorities in France gave to the Y.M.C.A the bulk of the organising of social service and by early 1917 things were in full swing. The Lena Ashwell Concerts to the Front were handed over to the Y.M.C.A in France and for all living expenses, transport and all dates and places. whilst Lena's office in South Molton Street gave us each a squash hat, a top coat with warm check lining and £1 per week in wages. Only in the case of the English Folk Dance Society the "us" was me.

The usual Lena's were always in bunches of four or five put up in France by the Y.M.C.A in a concert party house. These concert parties would live in their Base for four months then return to England for short leave, to be reshuffled, and then return to France to some other city for another four months, Then there were the Nuts who would be sent for a fortnight's trip to give a couple of large public concerts in a city and on to another city and so on and back home by Boulogne. A solitary scrap of folk dancing had no place whatever, twenty three years ago.

At Headquarters in Harve the Y.M.C.A gathered round. They said "But what have you come for?" You said to folk dance. They said "But what is it and why?" You said Arthur Reade had invited you. They said he is crazy anyhow and we have no orders about your billets and why have you come and and will you show us a dance (I suppose that any waltz will do?)

It took four months to get up a show. You went around with the swords in your hand, the tunes in your head and your whistle in your pocket, not that you could play it very well. And you made friends at corners and you showed the locks. You found an old granary and bullied permission to rent it and you and your five soldier friends set to and scrubbed it. You made baldricks and bell pads. You collected a few Y.M.C.A. typist girls and made them learn some country dances and you had your five soldier friends to tea every Sunday and you bought some cotton stuff and indented for a sewing machine and made a set of demonstration frocks. You then persuaded a woman to leave her department and come to your department as a secretary and musician (having written to Lena for a grant of another £1 per week) and you stole a piano.

I found our subject a little difficult to fit in. In a Base like Harve there would be about twenty five Y.M.C.A. Huts each with a canteen and a concert hall and various small rooms. Demonstrations took up so much room on the floor that the hundreds of audience couldn't get in, also a full demonstration team couldn't get into the concert party small van. What we did most usefully would be a sort of blow-in class. You stood on a table in the canteen hut between the times of lecture and concert, blew your whistle and said there would be country dancing in the concert hall. They would follow you in (the shuffle of feet, the slight coughing , the smell of wet khaki) and they would sit down all passive and good. You would get them to help you clear the chairs form the middle and then you would persuade about 30 of them to stand up and would teach for about an hour and they and all those watching would enjoy themselves.

Always remember to dig out the Australians first as they are always ready for anything and are not shy: pair them off with any Scots as these are born dancers and cannot stay still in front of a tune, The quiet English will unobtrusively join in a little later on.

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And sometimes you would come across a hall-full, patiently waiting for their concert that somehow had lost itself. "Do go and amuse those boys in there."

I remember five hundred, once waiting like that. Five of them were cajoled on to the platform and never could you imagine so joyous a lesson on the Earsdon and when it began to spin how the 495 roared with excitement and how that five were like tops in a trance.

We had finally seventeen full time folk out there. We had three at Trouville at those huge convalescent camps ( Miss Holbrow in charge) and never will I forget one of her outdoor demonstrations when her five sets of Flamborough held up their locks.

We did special work at Etaples, and here directly with the medical authorities teaching the D.A.H. cases. These were slightly shell- shocked men and we got the grey look off their faces.

G. Girdleston, an Oxford dancer, transferred from the Red Cross in Boulogne, and spent all her days in the Convalescent Depot teaching and giving parties. She would have five hundred at her parties and she ran them on the plan of the (much later) Hyde Park Saturdays.

There was a Colonel who applied for a couple of Folk Dancers for one week as men rather wished to have a little meeting mutiny1.We sent Margaret Oakden with Doll Kirton to play for her and the camp went all joyful with a party and a demonstration at the end of the week, and the Padre doing an excellent Lumps of Plum Pudding, so I am told.

In February 1919 I had my orders to choose a few people and go to the Army of Occupation. Without actually looking up my notes I should say there were finally, twelve of us in one place and another.

We had centres at Harve, Trouville, Abbeville, Etaples, Treport: Etretat went in with Havre I think. Cologne, Euskirchen, Bonn, Duren and Opladen were our areas on the Rhine.

Here, after all these years, is another war . I read in the News this letter from young Peter Kennedy showing his lock getting laughed at, making (as he considered) a failure.

I bounce like a jack in the box from under my lid: I say "Well, what about it?" 

1 'mutiny' is a handwritten replacement for the printed 'meeting'.

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13 Hayes Court
S.E.5
May Day, 1940

 

Dear Miss Daking,
Mary and I have had a delightful wander through your Log, It must be a most treasured possession and we return it - reluctantly - with many thanks. When you jotted down your notes amongst the buttercups and midges and earwigs - you made a happy captive of that for offsummer. It leaps so warmly from each page, with a comforting glimpse if an almost lost
countryside, gentle yet stimulating, fragrant, peaceful - a simple kindly England.
I remember how I loved "The Diary of a Country Parson", which transported me into the quiet life of Parson Woodeford and his niece Nancy and the curate (my namesake, I regret to say!) who got drunk and beat his wife with great regularity and the old 18th century villagers who would put away such loads of victuals and small beer.
Your log has the same magic. We take a peep at your matey caravan and forthwith join the gang, sunning ourselves with Ben the (? black) nag, Old Kimber, nice Mr Pallet of Kidlington and Rufty and Constant Billy - and Alec. I can't place Alec but I feel better for meeting him. He is rather like a clean tonic brook, sparkling through the quiet and colourful woodlands of your story

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He said about your logs:"They will always be nice to read even when we are dying." You have given him such a happy memorial.
In those closing entries - What bitter sweet!
"Aug 1. A happy month to us all........
Aug 5. War was declared last evening."
But I notice: " Mr Sharp has decided to carry on the school" - and your summer ends with a smile: "D. came in late at night - and sat down on a basin of soup."
This is the way it is happening again and I wish you the best of luck in your efforts to fill the blank pages in a new war-log. I am sure that the marigolds of much friendship will line your path.


Yours sincerely,
R. W. Howes

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May 2 1940


At Cecil Sharp House there turned up a WO officer with a grey haired [spruce] Staff Officer in Gym Badges. He asking for self. Req'd come to ask for folk dancing in the women's army. Woman said -"They are so poor their money doesn't give them a chance of amusements outside and we have to provide something. He said he is Captain Parker of Trouville
and Miss Daking had proved the value of Folk Dancing when he was there in 1917. Mr Nicholl has been tinkering with some classes somewhere and had taken Majorie Kahn (E.F.D.S Sec) to dinner at the women officers' mess. But Major Parker seems to be head of P.R.G over here and was asking Douglas Kennedy for a Demonstration. Said "I shall announce it in Orders-" Shall write to Cecily Asher and tell her about it.

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Transcription

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The Log of The fine Companion


1914

 

July 23


I came to the Hill Top about 3.0pm. The Van was in good order, but needed a clean out, so I saw to that & then bought
supplies. The baker was jogging down the road, so I stopped his cart. Dorothy gave me tea in the kitchen with her C.O.S. being at Headington for "The Dream". I cleared up everything & then myself and then rolled round to the Vidals to ask about the Country Dancing Class. Mrs. Vidal gave me a hearty welcome and the two sons were discovered talking Morris tunes and dances. I was asked to supper, so came back for my shoes and then went into the garden and talked to Lance Vidal.
Kimber told him that Old Kimber knows a lot more dances and tunes, but won't tell them to people. The old Headington Side udes to be frightfully debauched and go of at Whitsuntide for weeks and weeks and never come home to their wives. They would be drunk the whole time, and turn up at the end of the trip with no money at all. The Old Kimber got converted and turned Methodist, so set his face against the Morris. But he had taught all his sons and daughters and they loved it, though he did all he could to discourage it. Young Kimber has taught the side all he knows, but means to get more out of his father if he can. The old man refuses to speak. Not long ago Old Kimber and Henry Franklin arranged to meet in a pub in Oxford and dance jigs. Young Kimber heard of this, and came down.

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meaning quietly to watch from behind something and see what his father did do - but the old man saw him, and never said a word, but went straight back to Headington
without dancing a step. Mr. Vidal says that Young Kimber was a little drunk when he told him this, it must have been pricelessly impressive.

 

A gypsy woman once said to Lois Vidal , "You have a lucky face and a wanting heart."

 

We had an nice supper. They have a really fine old oak table and [?hey], like Constant Billy, don't have any table cloth, which is delightful. The dancing class was in the school garden. A good many turned up, about eighteen I should think. John Vidal played the clarinet. The dancing was nice, but a few beginners were struggling in the hope of future success.


Then I went back to the Van and Dr Hampton with me, he bought a Spanish Sausage and a book. He liked the Van.
Then Lois turned up and I made milk cocoa as there were milk and cream to use up. I spilled the cocoa and then knelt in it. We fetched C.O.S. and she had some too. Then Lois went, and C.O.S. and I took Dr Hampton over the house and farm, and then he went home. He left me half a box of cigarettes. He seems to be a kind of supply store - two sprigs of
lavender seem a very poor exchange.

for all this. C.O.S. came and slept in the Van at last, I slept and she seemed to keep awake, but always does that one's first night.

 

July 24


We got up about 6;30 and C.O.S. went to her housework. I put the beds away And then Lois arrived to breakfast. We had a really nice meal. The Primus was a lamb, but I must not say "Blast" so often. After breakfast I cycled into Oxford and spent most of the day at 64 Woodstock Ro writing and packing. I told Mr Sidgwick the [5 h w k w] joke, he had never heard it and was vastly pleased. There was a Morris class at 5 oclock in St Giles for Miss Taylor, as she had had no dancing in Rome and was joining for a little before going to Stratford. I got back about 7 oclock and had a hot bath and took my supper across to C.O.S. The Spanish Sausage is a queer compound, but might grow upon one. We talked life and I helped to wash up. I found Lois in the dark sitting on the hill. We made our beds then sat again on the hill till it was too cold. Then in the Van for tunes one the accordion and so to bed (Pepys)

 

July 25


We woke early and listened to a lark on the ground getting ready to fly. He made little chirps and twirls of song and then started up and away. I had never heard that before

Then C.O.S. startled us considerably by banging over the front door with the letters.
About twenty years ago Mrs Vidal helped to entertain some [London]girls form the [Ships]. She asked one her living, and the girls said, "Oh I'm a Worm Eater". It appears that she earned her living by drilling holes in fake furniture to look like worm holes!
It rained hard, so we shut ourselves in and had a hearty breakfast. Lois kicked over the coffee pot , so I had to wash the floor. Then she went home, and I turned the Van into a laundryand washed clothes. The wind was too good to be neglected.

Then took my sewing kid over to the Vidals as the had promised to let me use the sewing machine. Made a nightgown all except the lace and buttonholes. Stayed to lunch. I believe I could be as nice as the Vidals if I lived in a house called "Windrush" with so many different flowers in the garden. Came back after lunch and had a visit from Edna Spokes
We made a chocolate pudding, The blacksmith had been during the morning and painted the new shelves a bright scarlet. The paint dripping in the sun in all directions and making it a little difficult to get in and out of the Van.  One would have thought it a better plan to paint the shelves before putting them on the Van - but I suppose there is a rule about such things . A Blacksmith must know.

A present from Mrs. Vidal of a bunch of mixed herbs and a bag of shallots form the garden. The herbs hang inside the Van and the shallots outside.

I went over to the Spokes for tea. Edna gave me a very nice paper pattern of a frock for the baby.
Olive came about seven oclock with her baggage for the night. We went out Together with our jugs and bought milk and cream at the Ball's farm. Fred Cooper presented me with a large red dahlia, the first of the season. We carried it in triumph to the Van and were immediately aware of an immense swarm of earwigs. Fortunately the are clean and friendly beasts. The boy at the farm is like nice Mr Pallet of Kidlington who is such a good folk dancer.
Olive intensely pleased with everything - in a voice mounting the octave at every exclamation.

We had scrambled eggs on toast for supper and the chocolate [cake] with lost of cream, and butter and biscuits, and cocoa made with milk. Olive tried the Spanish Sausage, I felt I could not face it. She said "are you quite sure it is good?" and put it down hurriedly.
We went to bed early and talked late, The wind was terrific all the night. The Van tugged at her moorings, and when everything rattled there still seemed something left to begin a fresh noise. We were most comfortable. we agreed that there was nothing like

The Wind to make one thoroughly understand the comfort of a warm soft bed.

 

July 26


We waked early and talked and had tunes on the accordion. "Shale we gather at the River" because of it being Sunday.
Olive read "[Lindle Wakes"] breathlessly, and I had "Times Laughing Stocks". One claims "A Tramp Woman's Tragedy" at once. We got without much difficulty. the bath just fits in the van and we just fit  in the bath!
Breakfast too exactly one hour and a half because we began to discuss FolK Dance Propaganda - this being a subject which one never finishes.
Then Olive went home and I called on C.O.S. in the kitchen. She was stuffing a duck. Our Mag came over and told my fortune with a pack of cards. The most wonderful luck of course -but its the teasing of our Mag which is such fun.
Then Miss Zimmerman and her nice German girl called and I showed them the Van, and Edna Spokes came with more paper patterns for the baby. Back to lunch with Miss Zimmerman leaving the Spanish Sausages on guard.
A very happy lunch with Miss Sainsbury there as well. We each told past experiences until we could laugh no more. Cycled to Iffley to see P. about the buying of a dust pan and then

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to Cowley to sign legal things for the Baby.
The to 64 Woodstock Rd in the pouring rain, my only hat getting soaked to the skin. Fortunately my only other one was at No 64 so I could take that and leave the poor wet thing stretched out
to recover. Mr and Mrs Sidgwick were alone , so I had tea and we talked by the fire. Mr Sidgwick wrapped in cushions with bad lumbago.
Ethel was in to supper, Then to Sunningwell to see the blacksmith about greasing the wheels and a screw eye for the baggage carriers behind. He was ready to come and do it at six oclock
in the morning, but that seemed a little early and we arranged a later time. Then a quiet talk in the van with C.O.S. and then alone on the top rail, A really satisfactory. Perhaps a little tiring.

July 27
Waked at 6:15 by C.O.S. with an invitation to breakfast. Went over to her and read some of the Hardy poems. A lordly breakfast in the kitchen side by side. A friendly visit from Mrs Ball and
also Our Mag. The blacksmiths son came at 8;15 to look at the luggage carrier, so I sent him back to Sunningwell for a screw eye and his tools. Horse and man came punctually at 8:30 The
man very pleasant and a little amused, He just managed to fit the horse into the new [?] Then to the road to sit and wait for the blacksmith's boy. Waited three quarters of an hour dancing with

impatience to be off and away, but boy so pleasant when he did arrive, that it was impossible to be tart to him.
Then off down the hill. Stopped for supplies in Oxford and baggage from No 11. All the Sidgwicks with P. ready and welcoming. Stacked everything in the Van- showed everybody over her,
The man was really nice and handy. Then fed by Lilly downstairs as she had overheard the time that breakfast was away, and then off along the Woodstock Rd. We shut ourselves in and packed hard and made all trim - P. pausing suddenly, a little seasick and longing for a walk along the road. Certainly it does heave and shake. Discovered no sign of my ring. I know I only took it off to get dressed - but missed it just before leaving. It can't really be lost - only mislaid. Perhaps C.O.S. will find it in the grass - it may still be in the Van, but there is no sign - it was mother's.
Stopped at the Blacksmith's in Summertown to have the wheels greased. Little boys much excited. Packing inside the Van -and P. on the road. Driver turned round with a grin and said, "This is a nice life ain't it?" Stopped to write it down a suitcase fell off the rail, everything on the floor and fountain pen sneezed over best silk shirt. Fortunately the spots come under
the collar. Left our hats inside the Van and walked along the road together. Stopped at the "Britannia" to feed the horse and took our lunch over to the canal bank. Bread, bacon, [hams], bananas. Drove the horse a little while.

Answers to her [name] more than Emma did. Better for the man to drive. The man said greasing the wheels eased the Van of about half a ton. Horse slipped badly and nearly fell on the smooth tarred road, Exciting. So to "Sturdy's" Castle by 2:45 pm where we found the new horse "Fanny" waiting by the roadside with a country youth. So out came Captain and back to
Oxford with the man and Fanny fitted the [Sharves] and off we went. That strap behind is called the "breeching" and helps the horse going down hill. The horse sits on it as it were andyou needn't be frightened if it goes sideways a little, because it can get more grip that way.

We had both kinds of couplings on the Sharves because then we could have a horse with any kind of harness.
There was another boy with a horse named jolly waiting for us at the foot of Doddington Hill. It is an impossible bit of country for a heavy van and the roads are all tarred so there is no foothold for the horses. Our driver said - "They don't care for the 'osses." However the two of them took us up in splendid style. We bought two more rolls and some wonderful jam
buns at the butcher's shop. We had a meal in the Van, but didn't bother to make any tea. The methylated spirit was slung underneath and the spirit stove seemed stuck together, and after all what's a cup of tea

when you are merely hungry?
The second boy sat on Jolly and we went on to Adderbury. Such a welcome from Miss Blunt and her cousin. We settled into the field and scrubbed the van. It needed it after a journey of twenty two miles. We then went into the house where Miss Blunt has the largest bath imaginable. The cook had been coaling up the kitchen fire for hours before our coming. We put on lilac print frocks and brushed our hair. Never could one see or imagine anything more clean than we. Miss Blunt's cousin has collected Indian Folk Songs in Kashmir, she sang some after dinner
We looked at the pictures for the fete tomorrow. There are some lovely things. It was difficult to know how to price them and we couldn't help much there. We went to the van at 9:45pm. Miss Blunt insisting on our taking the hunting crop with us in case the horses in the field should attack us in the night. She wanted to send us early tea in the morning and a maid
to call us at eight oclock. This we refused - it did not seem to be in the picture. Had a little trial with the hunting crop, but couldn't reach the window from the top rail. Could reach everything else in the van including P. Then settled quietly and read P. to sleep - though she woke up again at "Pure from the night and splendid for the day" - got soaked to

in candle grease. Read myself to sleep. How can people go to fashionable watering places! Owls in the trees in the night - perhaps C.O.S. will find the ring. It is not in the Van - I literally took the Van and shook it upside down but there was no sign of it.

July 28


Waked early both of us, so had time to read. P deep in with [Tagore]. No need to hurry , breakfast up at the house being at 9:15- a most comfortable hour, but hopeless if one had to pack and be on the road by ten oclock.
P. playing an uncertain "Jamaica" on the pipe, and then a really recognizable "Lady Cullen" but stronger on "Home Sweet Home." The house is most beautiful. It is were mine I should have all my meals sitting on the staircase. There is a XIV Century stone arch leading to the kitchen. I imagine living here, with ancestors all around the wall with your nose- Mrs Hawes at Dorchester once was said to me about the High Church Vicar. She did not approve of early service taken fasting. She said she could not see any reason in it. "The poor stomach has to do the work for all and if one doesn't come on top- t-other does."
P. washed stocking and D. blacked boots, It saves time if one specializes. The a drive to Cotefield with Miss

Blunt, taking our pictures for this afternoon. A happy morning hanging them on screens in the big marquee. It was quite interesting finding out how the go to show their best. Then back to the house. We passed a motor caravan standing by the roadside, a wonderful modern thing made of three ply. Gentle rain. A hurried lunch. The house is so lovely. Up stairs and
down stairs and round corners and always a glimpse & [etc] which is a sheer delight. Then a quick change into immaculate white and off to the Fete with powder on our noses.
Mrs Jones in the village told us that the house is haunted. she mentioned three ghosts. A headless woman and someone laid in [beer] in the cellar - but the nicest is "A rustling lady in the little drawing room.
The Fete was fun and had many attractions. I am afraid we were the least of these. There was a Best Baby Prize and an ugliest Dog Prize (on the terrace) and Bowling for a Pig. We wanted to do this last, but felt it might be embarrassing if happened to win. The Palmist was a lamb to look upon. Obviously from London and absolutely IT. D. couldn't help
following her about - one understands young men. The country there in force. But how foolish some looked Tags and ends of materials tied together round the middle with something  different - and some of them such lovely young

women. Why do they?
Ingleborg Sogaard dance to Grieg behind a fence, but we couldn't go and see her because we were selling pictures. We really did enjoy ourselves - but it was amazingly hard work -and dear Miss Blunt began to look so tired, but couldn't rest because she knew everyone who wandered in. We made small purchases. A large bunch of lavender and the two little Kashmir drawings, and P. succumbed to the Malta Sketches.
Then we packed up and fell into the carriages and so back again. So dog tired that it seemed absurd - far more tired than after a day's trek. One only felt fit to crawl onto the top rail and blow out the candle. A quiet slow dinner. Mis Blunt told us about Miss Peta Brown who lives in Scotland and is a healer. She believes in the healing power of colours and makes
her patients wear clothes of their own influencing shade, which sounds entirely foolish written down like this but not at all so as told by Miss Blunt. Then P. played the Bechstein. She is wonderful. Then had a hot bath and back to the Van. Too tired for anything but silence. If P. had talked much [D.] would have snapped, but fortunately she hardly said a word, so it was just possible to maintain and attitude of

melancholy affection

July 29


We tumbled up fairly early and packed everything. It did not take long as things are now so ship shape that we know our space to the inch. Poor Miss Blunt so tired at breakfast time after her hard day yesterday. She asked me to copy my record of the Endless One so that she might send it to Miss Peta Brown who is interested in charms and amulets. The maids form the house to see the Van. Overcome with admiration - the household arrangements appealing to their expert minds.
Then came a man with to our [horror] - two horses. We felt that we were face to face with utter ruin. What could we do? We held our breath and asked his charge, it was no more for one horse than for two - he would charge us 10/6 for the fourteen miles, and having an extra horse he had bought him along to save the other on the hilly road.
How grand we shall feel all the day. I wonder if I could sit on the front one and go along like that.
A nice man with a smile - he said "tis a roomy Van -tis deceivin'"
Miss Blunt gave us lettuces and some sections of honey, she walked with us through the village and so waved goodbye.

We were sorry to leave her.
D. cycled into Banbury to buy supplies the food shops there are most excellent.
The Van waited by the Cross till we had finished and stowed the purchases away in the locker behind.
The man has bought a little boy with him whose duty it is to sit on the hill and hold the reins while the man leads the horses. The little boy very silent - he seemed a little puzzled at the piece of chocolate, but eventually knew what to do with it.
The road goes on steadily uphill to Edge Hill. The cornfields are wonderful. Mr Dealy - our driver -told us that it is the best harvest we have had since 1898.
The back horse is named Dapple and the Front one Ben. D. sat on Ben for about three miles - it was splendid - and so funny to feel his skin twitching under one's ankle.
Mr Dealy was vastly amused and warned about stiffness - but he doesn't know about our Morris legs.
Then a halt at the "Hare and Hounds" and a happy lunch in the Van. P. went for milk but they had none - we had imagined coffee- so we had cider instead. Mr Dealy refused this being a teetotaler - but he and Fred accepted each a jam [for] to sweeten their sandwiches.

P. astride Ben and D. peeling mushrooms in the van - the view becoming more and more magnificent. Then through to Upton D. on Ben - to the [home] Farm. The farmer pleased to have us in his field only we must got where the hay had been cleared and not where it is just cut.
We pitched near the cottage with our back to a row of elm trees. Goodbye to Mr Dealy who wished us a happy holiday. Tea in no time. There was only skim milk at the farm so we said we would wait for the new milking and in the meantime the kettle boiled so we had some Russian tea instead. N.B. Always carry lemons. Tea on the grass by the van, the sun shining.
Iffley cake is wonderful. There arrived a small boy with a jug of the new milk , the bluest eyes possible and the worst possible squint.
P. pitched the tent -D. made a pudding out of the stale buns and an egg. If only one had vanilla essence - but the only flavouring in the locker is anchovy. Aha the lemon of course- and some jam. Lord only knows how it will taste - but it looks extremely nice in the bowl Aunt Mary gave us.
Then more cooking - in fact D.cooked everything she could lay her hands upon. Then hot baths in the tent. Then stripped some of the lavender for bags. Then supper. The little Dutch oven is a real lamb. You put things in it for a real long time you

leave it alone and then P. says you are the most wonderful cook. We had just finished supper and had eaten absolutely everything, when P. gave a shout and leaped from the tent. D. looked and there was Alec with a cycle coming from the wrong corner of the field, and looking like he had just dropped in for friendly call on his way along the road. D. shouted
then and everyone fell into everyone else's arms. Then to feed him. Started with scrambled eggs but the seemed inadequate to support that frame, so dug some sausages (English) out of the locker and fried them. The sausages were a little sudden in their behaviour and spread out into crumbs in the most horrifying manner, but Alec seemed satisfied.
We has said before leaving - quite casually that we should be through Banbury on Wednesday.
Alec staying in Oxford with William Watson, sent him on a motor cycle to Banbury to tell us to wait - but the cycle broke down three miles out of Banbury. William Watson telegraphed to Alec who caught the next train. In Banbury he had hired a cycle and tracked us along the road - one man said a "menagerie" had gone by that way, and another remembered our name "The Fine Companion" Once he lost us entirely and had to go back again for miles.
Then coffee in the tent - and gossip. Sheep in the distance, a


barking dog and owls, and a little singing of the silent primus (Stove) in the van, and Alec puffing a cigarette.
We didn't bother to tell our adventures, but just handed our logs to him. He says they will always be nice to read , even when we are dying. Then we turned the tent into a really nice bedroom for him wiht one of the spring beds and a camp washstand and a chair and a little lamp. Then we washed up and boiled kettles to wash ourselves and sat on the [hill] and drank Horlick[s] and said good night to Alec and turned in.
Alec was polite over the Horlicks but said it reminded him a little of mumps.
And so to bed. P. in a wild [paroxeyom] of terror because she said she saw a black beetle with two tails had suddenly settled on her leg. Probably the Horlick[s] was a little too strong, as she is not usually given to romancing.

July 30
Read Border Ballads to P. while she was dressing. She was overcome by one or two of them. And they are bloody. Alec went to the farm for eggs - one wonders what the farmer's wife thought of him - she must have thought that he had [curiously] changed during the night! A happy breakfast with the sun shining and a little wind. Disgracefully late 9 oclock or so

Alec to the village in search of a carrier to take his hired cycle back to Banbury.
The woman at the cottage says she lived in a caravan for fifteen years selling Banbury Cakes all around Leamington and Stratford. That was when her first husband was alive 'tis her second husband that she has now. There are marigolds in the garden. Why are marigolds so neglected, except in cottage gardens? One would always have a clump of them in the sun where a wall makes a corner. P. making Alec's bed found fifteen earwigs. Then the three of us with packed lunch basket , books and needlework off to find the village.
There was a short cut through a cornfield A little path of red earth about a foot wide through the corn, which brushed one's face as we walked, poppies , and [scabius] and billy buttons and little blue birds eye as the edges thinned. Such a road afterwards with every kind of flower. Pale [scabius] and a deeper coloured thistle in clumps behind and then clover and yellow bedstraw.
So to the Castle Inn, and a man said we could go down the steps to the valley. So through trees down the hill. There was a monument at the bottom, but only about the
Battle of Waterloo. We have a better one at home.

THE EARL OF WARWICK DEFEATED AND SLAIN
Stick no Bills


The path seemed to lead to a big house and no where else, so we felt doubtful. Alec put on his Best Manner and we got ready to smile and explain. We could always say we had bought
the eggs........
Then we found that the path went past the house, so probably the village would soon be found. A Church Spire was poking out from the trees. Then a rest under a big elm tree to write up our logs and look at the 'vista'. I think that is the proper word. People say that two is Company - but three can be more delightful than anything - only it is much more difficult
to find the right three. That's the real truth, while two will nearly always shake down and be happy.
There was a man on the road. He said that there is no shop , but that they might let us have a loaf of bread at the cottage where the tree is. So we marched to the cottage. A long low whitewashed kitchen with a half door, and a woman inside ironing, and a little boy having dinner at the table. She bought a loaf of baker's bread from an inner room and we paid for it, and then caught sight of a just cut loaf of home made on the table. We asked her to exchange - to keep the baker's loaf and let us have her's; she though this a little queer

but we smiled steadily at her and she did what we wanted. We also bought a bottle of cherry cider and a bottle of lemonade, but proper cider at a pub is more satisfactory - only there is no pub here. She says the village is called Radway. Then along the road and past a little Tudor cottage with a corner in the garden - one could make a home of that.
There was a field of new cut hay, so we jumped over a gate and settled under a big tree for lunch. Lettuce, home made bread and butter from the farm. Cheese - honey- raisin cake. Peace.
P. suddenly said this:-


There once was an Ichthysaurus
Who lived when the Earth was quite porous:
When he first heard his name
He fainted with shame
And departed long ages before us.


A long lazy afternoon with books and needle. P. sang German songs and read [Tregenew] to us . Alec slept. D. made lavender bags. The na reluctant packing and back to the road.
Can anyone spell this? 'Outside a cemetary stood a harassed pedlar and an embarassed cobbler gauging the symmetry of a lady's ankle with unparalleled ecstasy.' D. made seven mistakes and later on - when we asked him - over Constant Billy made one, and he's a First.

Then a long stiff hill, but we trudged on till we came to the top. A motor passed us. It was standing there when we struggled u, and the lady asked us the way to Cirencester. We suggested all  kind of ways and Alec offered a map, but the man said they had one. We said a few sentences to the lady and then went on. It struck us that she had asked us in order to find out what kind we are -
and certainly we do look tramps- : we congratulated each other, that at least our accents are alright.
Back through our cornfield and D. to the farm for milk and cream. Such a welcome form kind Mrs Hawes. P. and Alec had been to the farm the other times. Back to the Van to find tea all ready on the table. The Iffley soda cake again - the kind that William Watson liked that Sunday on the river. He said - "I could kiss this cake!" Alec is a wonderful young man. Here he is quietly putting away things without anybody telling him. D. with her usual clumsiness knocked over the cream and had to go to the farm for more. Mrs Hawes said, "Yes it is serious, but accidents do happen - even indoors." After supper the sky looked grim, so we washed up in a great hurry and put everything under cover, Alec pinning down the little [frill] round the top of his tent so that no rain could blow in. Then a little quiet shower, So we three in the Van. P. and Alec

writing logs and D. concocting towards tomorrow's breakfast. We had felt a sudden craving for mushrooms and asked advice at the cottage. A girl went into the fields and came back a  little while later with a heaped plateful. She asked 4d. The Spanish sausage is getting on my nerves. No one will eat it. P. was most decided she said 'My God it is Blutwurst'. Something
must be done with it as it is so obviously nourishing.
The rail again and reading 'Peacock Pie' to P. 11.5pm P. says "Mother won't know.'


July 31st


I will not go to Stratford today - I will not. This pitch is too lovely to leave and the day is too beautiful. If we start at eight o'clock tomorrow I am certain we could get to Stratford and fix camp by the evening. Alec shall tell the farmer when he goes for the milk. P. says it may rain tomorrow and the would delay us- but if it does rain, we can only get wet and Alec will work like a horse. We shouted to Alec and he said we would stay. Read Border Ballads to P. some of them are terrible. It makes one feel a little frightened of Alec , He's Scotch. Suppose he burnt the Van in the night with us in it!
Breakfast the D. cycled to the village for supplies for dinner tonight. It is quite easy to fee a man, Apparently he takes the same kind of food as a woman, only you must

be careful to leave much more than you think necessary in the bottom of the saucepan for him to have another helping.
A man came into the field with a little cart. He stopped at the cottage and we went to see what was in it. Articles as follows;- Cucumbers oil lemons darning wool candles soap boo laces Pins scrubbing brushes rabbit food. Starch boot blackening soda metal polish. Tape cottons brushes writing paper. Bananas in picture post cards. Tomatoes plums tea. foot rules. Suspender elastic sandpaper cocoa laundry blue safety pins. Nail brushes matches 'Tam Buk' jam covers. Tin tacks luggage labels boot laces. His name is J.H. Townsend. Middle Tysoe. General Dealer and he has a lot of the same make as Alec's.
Then off along the road to Compton Wyniates. P. and Alec walking and D. on Norah Jones with the baggage strapped behind.
[Buds] of purple veitch by the roadside, yellow scotch daises, poppies wild [antirhinium] -betony and ever so many more.
Coming to Eppwell White House we found that Compton was still two miles away, so seeing a wood we decided to stay there. A woman at the cottage said that there was no where to get anything to drink nearer than Eppwell - so the family being terrible thirst, D, on Norah jones to the public house about a mile and a half away. A [most] curious village; so dead and forsaken and
quaint. All the

houses built of stone brown and green with moss, and put at an angle to the road. The Chandler's Arms was the Public House, and the gentleman and his wife were very kind. They had no cider,
but offered ginger wine, however D. bought Stone ginger instead as P. is non alcoholic except for cider away from home and out of doors.
The gentleman says it is a funny place and the people don't care for anything - the [houses] are never repaired and the land is let to go to rack and ruin. That old burnt down house by the Church used to be a monastery and they say that there was once an underground passage from it to the Church. The lady tied the Ginger Beer bottles together with a string, so that D. could string them around he neck like milking pails.
The Church looked so little and quaint that it was impossible to pass it by, so the bottles were put on a grave as it seemed rude to take them inside. Such a little crude old Church - Early English with the queerest shaped arch. The was a man painting the door, so D. borrowed a pencil to put i down. The man sharpened it most beautifully first with an enormous chisel. The arch wider at the top than at the bottom.
[Picture]
(The two sides of the arch are alike in the original)
A dear little carved cross in the Churchyard with sprays of little stone roses. 'In memory of Ursula Marsh.' She dies in 1843. She must have been nice with a name like that. The must have loved her to have given her afterwards such a pretty little cross. Then back to the wood and a most glorious place with bracken and piles

of brown brushwood and P. said "Wild Mushrooms."
Such a lunch! P. Said "oh yes most probably a XIV Century arch" So D, needn't have been so excited.
A long lazy afternoon and D. back to the Van to cook dinner, Alec and P. walking back to Epswell to return the bottles. D, put on the Irish stew which always takes hours and hours to cook, and then P. arrived alone, Alec having gone to the village to post letters. P. refused tea said she didn't want any - but fairly wolfed the bread and honey when it was put before her.
No Alec - where could he be? He wouldn't have had time to be drunk by the roadside - would he? and far more serious no butter!

So D. on Norah to the village. Alec was met trudging back along the road and D. said "My dear have you had any food?" Alec said "Well I was hungry , os I bought a penny worth of acid drops and showed the bag. Too much for them both and D fell off the cycle and knocked Alec's arm and the acid drops were scattered on the high road. However they both picked the up and polished them on their trousers and went their separate ways munching.
There was a wonderful smell of new pastry in the village shop so D. asked if it could be jam tarts? Miss Fox said she had just taken some out of the oven, so D. demanded them. Miss Fox said , "Well come into the kitchen and look at them." So into the kitchen and there they were all hot in their little pan

DCD-1-28
D. said "Two dozen" and seized a knife, And os did Miss Fox and they soon out of their pans and in a box. The children were so pleased and had two each at once when the box was opened. This log is all about food. But that is because it is being kept by the Cook.
[Prumiss] had hysterics an the big kettle fell over ------There is a little rain and the big black slugs are crawling out on the road. D remembers , when she was young, picking up one of these thinking it was a nice umbrella tassel.

To have a hot bath out in a field at ten oclock at night and to dance about in your slippers under a big tree!! Milk cocoa.

 

Aug 1


A happy month to us all. the rain was coming down steadily at 6 pm [am?] when P [strongly] shouted that people must get up. Then a scramble and real hard work. Alec and P. outside the tent D. inside stacking beds and then cooking breakfast. D. to the farm for milk. she having india rubber wellingtons which made it possible to walk through the acre of newly cut hay. A hearty breakfast in the Van and then to clear away and wash up and wedge everything for the journey. Not quite ready when the horse came at 8 oclock, but soon off along the road.
D. with cycle trundled to the farm t osay goodbye to Mrs Hawes. D. said fervently 'Please God we would come again next year."

And Mrs Hawes said ["Well ye can all have the saame horse and the saame yung feller.']
Then Sunrising Hill to come down, one of the worst possible places. 1 in 5 and curves and windings all the way. Yesterday, when going to Epwell, a man said there were no hills on the road,  but several 'banks' and though the road turned out to be a veritable switchback we realized the true meaning of 'hill' when we came to Sun Rising. The cottage woman tell of accidents that have happened at one time or another at every curve. We saw the orchard where the traction engine crashed, carrying behind it menagerie Vans full of wild beasts and we identified the telegraph pole where the 'young man's brains was found.'! However The Fine Companion came down safely, but with a tremendous shaking that shook apart a beam in front an made the front door impossible to open and then impossible to shut.
D. could not bear the thought of all the precious food getting jolted and spoilt and stuck together, so put up her feet and coasted down to the foot of the hill and sat on a gate and wrote up her log. Sat so quietly that a little field mouse came out and played about on the earth at the foot of the gate. D watching till the most awful pins and needles developed in both feet.
Rain rain dripping trees and wet grass and no horizon; the weather clearing a little later on, but still very damp.

After a steady nine miles, the horse setting a steady pace at four miles an hour, and for the walkers, very welcome halt by the roadside for lunch. Then D. cycled into Stratford to get the gate opened and at the bridge met Constant Bill cycling to meet the Family. Back together to the interview Mr Brown - round to the school for letters and then to meet the van. Dear me how nice.
Then a very lazy afternoon. Alex and P. putting up the tents and D. scrubbing inside. Billy on the hill reading this log- he said 'I should publish it' Just time to jump into gym tunics and hot baths and then to tea with Billy on the lovely garden where he is. Then to the school and on everybody's [bosom] and then a class with [Wilky] to teach it. Then on Norah Jones to shop
for Sunday. getting so wet Then back again and into dry clothes and dinner to cook. Alec came to dinner and Billy rolled round afterwards bringing a chocolate cake and chocolates. He thinking us to be poor forlorn creatures with nothing nice around us. A hearty meal in the tent. Billy went out and bought a lemon squeezer and made some drink. and also some cheese to show us how to work Lilian who is the [shaping] dish. He bought two pounds of cheese! Then P. to interview the Chief and we others to washing up. A friendly visit form Miss Roberts and three of the Scarborough contingent. They all pleased to see the van. The whole party turned out be P. at 9.45. The arrived a weary P. to her ten

and then only a screech owl in the trees.


Sunday Aug 2.


A very wet morning but a happy late breakfast in the van with hearty rejoicings at it's watertightness and the dryness of the big A tent. The chores unending and dinner put on the stoves. P. in thick coat and boots round and about outside. The [head] washings drying and combings. Then the awful discovery of rain coming into the Van in two places. D hurriedly into a short
gym suit and oilskins and sou'wester and a difficult clamber on to the roof of the Van. The rain pelting. the only thing to do was to sprawl on one's face and untie the Willesden canvas from under the luggage rail and spread it on the top of the Van holding it in place with carpet nails. It was an exciting job because the wind siezed the canvas which attacked D and knocked her down, and wetting in spite of waterproof clothing, Then a clamber down and a change almost to the skin. P. replaced the ladder most carefully; D. got out of the van and the ladder gave way and there was a most wonderful crash. Result a really fine bruise which came on the top of an egg shaped lump. If it had only been on the nose instead of the right shin, everyone would have noticed it and been sorry. Ten dinner. Then Billy and Alec to coffee and a long afternoon of reading sewing letter writing and heart to hearters. The Salvation army providing the music around the corner

"[Thanks] to the Glory of God they daren't make a noise like that to anyone else!
A letter from C.O.S. saying that the ring is found. It was discovered by Our Mag in the grass, Oh dear - How satisfying.

Aug 3


This afternoon a telegram from Rusty saying that there is fighting in the North Sea and asking Alec to meet him in London tomorrow so that they can enlist together. Alec is going ,but has telegraphed to his father as he may want him to be with him. P. and D. writing to Rusty. There may be some work for us. We are strong and cheerful and can cook - though God knows that it is very little to be able to do.


Aug 4


A happy day, Billy writing the funeral service of the Spanish sausage all the afternoon. For the procession- a recipe- intoned- Gregorian tune. The response - 'Cheer up the wurst is yet to come!' . Alec to come to supper for some of his favourite sausage [stirs] and mushrooms. D. teaching in evening school / Alec arrived early with a telegram from London. He is to go tonight and enlist they may be off at any minute. There wasn't time for any supper. P. went to the station to say goodbye, D. didn't go because one was enough and besides he may never be back and one doesn't have scenes.

 

Aug 5
War was declared last evening. D bought some lentils etc this morning. They were 2/- instead of 1/11, everything has gone up 1d per pound, but that is just a scare and because of the sudden rush and will settle down later.
Mr Sharp has decided to carry on the school as long as possible, it is silly to disorganise things. We shall have the funeral just the same. Mr Kennedy says he will be the undertaker instead of Alec.
Telgram from Alec. Daking. Girdlestone Paddock, Western Lane Stratford on Avon. Rusty and I enlist London Scottish tonight love Alec.
The baker here is in trouble because they have taken his horses to help get Yeomanry away today and he cannot deliver his Country Round. Billy came to supper. He washed up and put away all by himself. He did it most beautifully and even washed the cloth out afterwards and hung it in the right place. He must be the only first who can do a thing like that really well.
D. went to the Town Hall to volunteer for emergency duty. She said she understands camping and can cook and sew. She looked as competent as possible. The men were very nice indeed and said there would be something.
The funeral of the Spanish sausage is abandoned. With the sudden rise in the price of food it seems foolish to destroy an article which may be so needed later on.
P. packing Alec's things to send after him. Not a pair of socks or a

shirt in decent repair - such darning and button sewing, but he will be comfortable for a bit at any rate. After going to bed, there was a visit form Mrs Brown. She came to say that some German ships have been sunk and that Japan is ready to help. We shall need everybody.


Aug 6


We went to the Town Hall together, as P. had the brilliant idea that if we could be [bracketed] we'd be able to take the A tent and two beds and a small outfit and be put down anywhere where needed.
P. learning to cook. We explained that we could be jolly useful. Benson was entering his name at the same time.
D. taught the Flamborough in morning school. A class of raw beginners in long tight skirts and corsets poor lambs, but intelligent and even affectionate.
Billy and Mrs Howe both passed their elementary examination last evening. Letters from Alec and Rusty - they have both signed for four years. Poor K. She and Rusty won't be married on March 1 now. P. came in late at night from a walk and sat down on a basin of soup.


Nov 2nd


A letter from Alec. He has been for eleven days and nights in the trenches at Ypres and is now off duty for a little rest

He has not been hit - so far - but is having to go to the doctor every day.
And me at home knit and knit, and welcome these poor Belgians and try in some way to help in all this nightmare of so terribly altered social conditions.
And all those boys out there - seeing Death like that - the Death that is not laid out...............
Perhaps this is a Dream and all the before was true - or was that the Dream. They cannot both be true - at least not in the same year ?

 

[Two photographs]

Alec was killed in the Ypres sector early in 1915. I had a little note, written in pencil on a leaf form a notebook. He said "We are just going into action. It is all so beastly that it must be for some good purpose."
It was his last remark. For he was killed that night. I sent the note to his mother.

The United Kingdom declared war on Germany 4th August 1914

First shot fired by Allied troops – German Steamer SS Pfalz surrenders after being fired on by Fort Nepean, south of Melbourne, Australia.

Credit Wikipedia and ABC Australia.

[Two Images]


Greta . Self ? K Spence. G Girdlestone

 

GG Self Joan Sharp

 

There was also a snap of a party with George Butterworth but one has probably sent it to some relative of his. He was killed. There was a party with Joan and self and Constant Billy but it seems to have gone

DCD-1-39

 

[3 Photographs of dancers]

 

Folk Dance Demonstrations in France 1917.

 

[Photograph of Daisy Daking and soldier]

 

Got stranded for ten days at St Pol with swords and music etc. Too heavy for lorry hopping YM man took me in as a Hut Lady till a car could be spared from Head Quarters.

 

[Newspaper clipping with photograph of Daisy Daking and text]

Daily Mirror

July 1918

Folk Dancing - Miss D C Dakin who has been introducing folk dancing for convalescents. Army gymnastic instructors are copying her method.

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[Photograph]


Conference at St Omer Jan. 1919.
YMCA base & up line secretaries and heads of departments to meet Sir Arthur Yapp and discuss reconstruction work in England
Sir Arthur Yap = X1

 

D.D. Kept a dairy for about eighteen months (six exercise books of it) It is now in the hands of Mr F. J. Chamberlain, National Sec YMCA in place of Sir Arthur.
Transferred to Library EFDS 1937.

1 The photograph has an X marked on a central figure, Sir Arthur Yapp.

DCD-1-41

 

This was one's last motor pass before going to the army of occupation. The pass was valid, always, for three weeks and had to be handed in before the next one was issued. Train travelling was impossible. Passenger trains were very difficult indeed as it was almost always impossible to get a pass. Troop trains were not allowed as one was a woman (though one managed to scrounge now and again)
The only thing possible was a motor pass and trusting to luck to pick up a lift

Pass inserted on next page DCD-1-42.

DCD-1-45

 

[BOOKLET]

 

YMCA
English Folk-Dancing
for Men, Women, Boys, Girls

 

This work lasted for two years & then had to be abandoned because lack of money meant the closing down of many Y.M.C.A. departments the music section included - but good work was done - the Lake District branch was started off - one travelled Oxfordshire, Lincolnshire Nottinghamshire, Cumberland & the Lakes - & made many contacts & handed over little groups of enthusiasts to the E.F.D.S. But except for the Lake District the work mainly fizzled out. There was at this time no county organisation E.F.D.S. & one couldn't, therefore, hand over1

 

1 Handwritten text in diary written under the attached booklet.

DCD-1-46

 

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

The English Folk-Dance Society was founded in 1911 by a band of enthusiasts with Mr. Cecil J. Sharp as Director, "to disseminate a knowledge of English Folk-dances, folk-music and singing games, and to encourage the practice of them in the their traditional forms." The movement spread rapidly and branches were formed in many of the large cities.
During 1917, the Y.M.C.A. in France engaged Folk-dance teachers to work in the camps and huts to teach the soldiers. The dances were so greatly appreciated that additional teachers were added to the staff; and Demonstrations and Country Dance parties became frequent. The work was continued to the end of the summer of 1919, and the great success attained convinced the Y.M.C.A. of the necessity of including Folk-Dancing in the programme of work in England, also of providing efficient teaching in Y.M.C.A.'s and Red Triangle Clubs.
The Y.M.C.A. wishes to do everything possible to encourage the art of Folk-Dancing and to help bring back to the country something of this great national heritage of dance and song, and with this end in view have formed a Y.M.C.A. branch of the English

 

1

DCD-1-48

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

Folk-Dance Society, with the benefit of the advice and direction of Mr. Cecil Sharp as a member of its committee. The Branch has secured the services of Miss D. C. Daking of the English Folk-Dance Society, to teach Folk-Dancing in the Red Traingle clubs throughout the country and to give help and advice to any Y.M.C.A. Secretary intesrested in the subject, also to put him in touch with any local E.F.D.S work in his area.

So much is already being undertaken that it is now necessary to secure the services of a second teacher in order to deal with demands for help which are reaching the office from many parts of the country.

We have in England three types of Folk-Dance; the Morris, Sword and Country Dances. A word concerning each type will be of interest

 

MORRIS DANCES. The Morris Dances have been found in some of the villages, notably in Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire and Derbyshire, and are still danced by men at festival times. They are essentially "show" dances being much more difficult than Country Dances, and require long and constant practice, with real team work. The members of the team have to be very fit with an ample reserve of strenght. Villagers say it takes two years to make a Morris dancer.

 

SWORD DANCES. Sword dances immediately suggest the kilt and sporran of Scotland, but there are English Sword Dances, infourtunately very little known. The have however a singular beauty and interest. They are danced in the North - Yorkshire, Northumberland and Durham, but are quite different form the Scottish dances, where the swords are crossed on the ground.

 

2

DCD-1-49

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

[Photograph of EFDS dance demonstration team]

 

COUNTRY DANCE

 

3

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English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

[Photograph of EFDS men's demonstration team doing a morris dance]

 

MORRIS DANCE

 

4

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English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

[Photograph of EFDS demonstration team doing a country dance]

 

COUNTRY DANCE

 

5

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English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

[Photograph of the EFDS men's demonstation team sword dancing, titled Northumberland Sword Dance]

 

 

English Sword Dances are for groups of five, six or eight men, who hold their swords in the air, hilt and point being linked in a ring. They are most complicated, the dancers turning, twisting, jumping and running continuouslt under the swords in turn, the ring never broken except in the final figure, when the "lock is tied" and a frame made and held for the audience to see. Though complicated they are not as difficult as the Morris, the step being simpler.

 

COUNTRY DANCES. The Country Dance is essentially the old social dance of England. The dances are for men and women, and charming in every way invaluable as a pastime, for they can be danced in-door or out, and are suitable for young and old alike.

There are many forms of the Country Dance - longways, rather like Sir Roger, but in great variety, and rounds and squares for four, six or eight. The step is simple and the dances fascinating to both the dancer and to the spectator. They have been taught in

6

DCD-1-52

English Folk Dancing : : : : For Men, Women, Boys, Girls

[Photograph of children longsword dancing]

 

the schools for some years and are becoming increasingly popular throughout the whole country.

 

The Y.M.C.A. hope every place with make an effort to arrange a class. The fees are exceedingly small and thte larger the class the smaller the payment made by each individual. Each section of the community will be considered, men, women, boys and girls, and nothing is so calculated to brighten and cheer life as the re-introduction of these old dances so essentially English and so much a part of our folk-lore.

 

Recently a great Folk-Dance Demonstration and Competition was arranged to take place in the Midlands. The Dances for the Demonstration were taught by Miss Daking on her visit to the various centres, and she will help to arrange such gatherings, which should prove a source of income to those promoting them. In some places expenses have also been met by arrangements with the Local Education Authority for additional Classes to be held for their School teachers.

 

C. J. Sharp as judge. Nottingham Branch E.F.D.S. and Y.M.C.A. village clubs

 

If you feel your town or village would like to receive a visit from a Folk-Dance teacher, and to experience what is one of the most delightful social events imaginable, will you


7

 

 

DCD-1-54

English Folk Dancing: : : :  For Men, Women, Boys, Girls.

 

discuss the question with your friends and write to the Y.M.C.A. No village is too small to receive most careful consideration, no town too large. The question of expenses is a very small item. Elaborate, highly polished dance floors are undesirable. The essential requirements are people really keen to learn, who will enter the course with enthusiasm and eagerness.

 

Any further inquiries will be gladly answered and all correspondence should be addressed to - Major J. T. Bavin, Y.M.C.A. Music Section, Malet Street, W.C.1.

[Photograph of children country dancing]

8

DCD-1-56


ENGLISH DANCE AND SONG

DECEMBER 1939


ON TEACHING SWORD
By PETER KENNEDY

 

Last term I had an experience somewhat different to that of the usual folk dance teacher. I am a commonplace public schoolboy and I put up an insignificant notice on the prominent notice-board of a notable public schoo l:
THE NORTH SKELTON TEAM WILL MEET ON THE SECOND GAMES FIELD AT ....
I had asked various "suitable looking" boys to join a team of "sword"; I was going to play on my nice new accordion and teach at the same time. The talk for the rest of the week was about this notice, which was assumed to refer to a new secret football club.

On the correct date at the appointed time, the "players" arrived. Hardly had we begun sword dancing, which is a wild dance with swords and detachable handles, when the team observed spies behind the trees; a charge with swords drawn resulted in disaster. 

Before the next meeting I got involved in "domestic troubles"; one of the team had turned traitor but I eventually succeeded in getting a substitute, a boy with spectacles which, incidentally, were magnetised by the swords and got mixed up in the lock. 

We never actually got any further than "over someone or other's sword," which we performed with precaution, as though each player was undergoing torture one after another. 

When we came back to the lock I told them how it was usual to place the lock over some fool's head; they seemed to think it was execution, so I offered my head knowing how they hated me. They still were stubborn so I suggested making a lock round a tree. We "locked" the tree as it continued to stand, they tried me next and although you may not believe me, I have still got my head. My players were delighted and having made the lock round every player in turn we searched for centripetal objects. 

The next day two players went down with measles, so we had to conclude the dance and send the swords with detachable handles back to some society. Now there is a notice on the school notice-board about a new school theatrical society.

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MARCH & APRIL 1940

 

44  ENGLISH DANCE AND SONG

A REPORT

by D. C.Daking

 

PETER KENNEDY'S most valuable letter has stirred me within some of my many memories and I think that it may come in useful if I write a report that sohuld have been made many years ago - only at that time nobody was interested nor was if possible to find a usefulness in what seemed then to be so very passed.

Early in 1917 the Base Secretary of the Y.M.C.A. in Harve lifted his head and questioned "Is there nothing we can give to the Troops but the end of a perfect day?" and Helen Tuckett of Bristol who happened to be his motor driver said "Yes folk dancing and send for so and so."

I had a sudden letter, went to London to be inspected by Lady Bessborough and when I had managed to convince her that I was never appeared in tights, she franked me as "suitable" and I was handed on to Lena Ashwell. The Military Authorities in France gave to the Y.M.C.A the bulk of the organising of social service and by early 1917 things were in full swing. The Lena Ashwell Concerts to the Front were handed over to the Y.M.C.A in France and for all living expenses, transport and all dates and places. whilst Lena's office in South Molton Street gave us each a squash hat, a top coat with warm check lining and £1 per week in wages. Only in the case of the English Folk Dance Society the "us" was me.

The usual Lena's were always in bunches of four or five put up in France by the Y.M.C.A in a concert party house. These concert parties would live in their Base for four months then return to England for short leave, to be reshuffled, and then return to France to some other city for another four months, Then there were the Nuts who would be sent for a fortnight's trip to give a couple of large public concerts in a city and on to another city and so on and back home by Boulogne. A solitary scrap of folk dancing had no place whatever, twenty three years ago.

At Headquarters in Harve the Y.M.C.A gathered round. They said "But what have you come for?" You said to folk dance. They said "But what is it and why?" You said Arthur Reade had invited you. They said he is crazy anyhow and we have no orders about your billets and why have you come and and will you show us a dance (I suppose that any waltz will do?)

It took four months to get up a show. You went around with the swords in your hand, the tunes in your head and your whistle in your pocket, not that you could play it very well. And you made friends at corners and you showed the locks. You found an old granary and bullied permission to rent it and you and your five soldier friends set to and scrubbed it. You made baldricks and bell pads. You collected a few Y.M.C.A. typist girls and made them learn some country dances and you had your five soldier friends to tea every Sunday and you bought some cotton stuff and indented for a sewing machine and made a set of demonstration frocks. You then persuaded a woman to leave her department and come to your department as a secretary and musician (having written to Lena for a grant of another £1 per week) and you stole a piano.

I found our subject a little difficult to fit in. In a Base like Harve there would be about twenty five Y.M.C.A. Huts each with a canteen and a concert hall and various small rooms. Demonstrations took up so much room on the floor that the hundreds of audience couldn't get in, also a full demonstration team couldn't get into the concert party small van. What we did most usefully would be a sort of blow-in class. You stood on a table in the canteen hut between the times of lecture and concert, blew your whistle and said there would be country dancing in the concert hall. They would follow you in (the shuffle of feet, the slight coughing , the smell of wet khaki) and they would sit down all passive and good. You would get them to help you clear the chairs form the middle and then you would persuade about 30 of them to stand up and would teach for about an hour and they and all those watching would enjoy themselves.

Always remember to dig out the Australians first as they are always ready for anything and are not shy: pair them off with any Scots as these are born dancers and cannot stay still in front of a tune, The quiet English will unobtrusively join in a little later on.

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And sometimes you would come across a hall-full, patiently waiting for their concert that somehow had lost itself. "Do go and amuse those boys in there."

I remember five hundred, once waiting like that. Five of them were cajoled on to the platform and never could you imagine so joyous a lesson on the Earsdon and when it began to spin how the 495 roared with excitement and how that five were like tops in a trance.

We had finally seventeen full time folk out there. We had three at Trouville at those huge convalescent camps ( Miss Holbrow in charge) and never will I forget one of her outdoor demonstrations when her five sets of Flamborough held up their locks.

We did special work at Etaples, and here directly with the medical authorities teaching the D.A.H. cases. These were slightly shell- shocked men and we got the grey look off their faces.

G. Girdleston, an Oxford dancer, transferred from the Red Cross in Boulogne, and spent all her days in the Convalescent Depot teaching and giving parties. She would have five hundred at her parties and she ran them on the plan of the (much later) Hyde Park Saturdays.

There was a Colonel who applied for a couple of Folk Dancers for one week as men rather wished to have a little meeting mutiny1.We sent Margaret Oakden with Doll Kirton to play for her and the camp went all joyful with a party and a demonstration at the end of the week, and the Padre doing an excellent Lumps of Plum Pudding, so I am told.

In February 1919 I had my orders to choose a few people and go to the Army of Occupation. Without actually looking up my notes I should say there were finally, twelve of us in one place and another.

We had centres at Harve, Trouville, Abbeville, Etaples, Treport: Etretat went in with Havre I think. Cologne, Euskirchen, Bonn, Duren and Opladen were our areas on the Rhine.

Here, after all these years, is another war . I read in the News this letter from young Peter Kennedy showing his lock getting laughed at, making (as he considered) a failure.

I bounce like a jack in the box from under my lid: I say "Well, what about it?" 

1 'mutiny' is a handwritten replacement for the printed 'meeting'.

DCD-1-62


13 Hayes Court
S.E.5
May Day, 1940

 

Dear Miss Daking,
Mary and I have had a delightful wander through your Log, It must be a most treasured possession and we return it - reluctantly - with many thanks. When you jotted down your notes amongst the buttercups and midges and earwigs - you made a happy captive of that for offsummer. It leaps so warmly from each page, with a comforting glimpse if an almost lost
countryside, gentle yet stimulating, fragrant, peaceful - a simple kindly England.
I remember how I loved "The Diary of a Country Parson", which transported me into the quiet life of Parson Woodeford and his niece Nancy and the curate (my namesake, I regret to say!) who got drunk and beat his wife with great regularity and the old 18th century villagers who would put away such loads of victuals and small beer.
Your log has the same magic. We take a peep at your matey caravan and forthwith join the gang, sunning ourselves with Ben the (? black) nag, Old Kimber, nice Mr Pallet of Kidlington and Rufty and Constant Billy - and Alec. I can't place Alec but I feel better for meeting him. He is rather like a clean tonic brook, sparkling through the quiet and colourful woodlands of your story

DCD-1-63
He said about your logs:"They will always be nice to read even when we are dying." You have given him such a happy memorial.
In those closing entries - What bitter sweet!
"Aug 1. A happy month to us all........
Aug 5. War was declared last evening."
But I notice: " Mr Sharp has decided to carry on the school" - and your summer ends with a smile: "D. came in late at night - and sat down on a basin of soup."
This is the way it is happening again and I wish you the best of luck in your efforts to fill the blank pages in a new war-log. I am sure that the marigolds of much friendship will line your path.


Yours sincerely,
R. W. Howes

DCD -1-64


May 2 1940


At Cecil Sharp House there turned up a WO officer with a grey haired [spruce] Staff Officer in Gym Badges. He asking for self. Req'd come to ask for folk dancing in the women's army. Woman said -"They are so poor their money doesn't give them a chance of amusements outside and we have to provide something. He said he is Captain Parker of Trouville
and Miss Daking had proved the value of Folk Dancing when he was there in 1917. Mr Nicholl has been tinkering with some classes somewhere and had taken Majorie Kahn (E.F.D.S Sec) to dinner at the women officers' mess. But Major Parker seems to be head of P.R.G over here and was asking Douglas Kennedy for a Demonstration. Said "I shall announce it in Orders-" Shall write to Cecily Asher and tell her about it.

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DCD/2 Daisy Daking's YMCA diaries  

 

Daisy Daking's YMCA diaries

Daisy Caroline Daking Manuscript Collection (DCD/2)
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Date: 1918-03-16/1919-06-26
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Notes: 5 diaries with entries dating between 16th March 1918 and 26th June 1919, recounting her experiences and activities working for the Young Me... n's Christian Association as a dance teacher in France and Germany. See more
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DCD/3 Presentation book

 

Presentation book

Daisy Caroline Daking Manuscript Collection (DCD/3)
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Date: [c. 1919]
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Notes: Handmade illustrated book with fabric ties, enclosed in a fabric purse. Presented to Daisy Daking in appreciation of her work in Havre. List... s the names of all those passing on their gratitude. See more
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