It was never going to work. The plan was to attend the Friday Milonga and then decide if we would do any workshops.
The rule was that if you want to attend any workshops with Tangk you must first do beginners. Having done tango for almost fifteen years and due to work commitments it is unlikely I would ever get back, I could see no point in doing a basic class. We felt sure that as we knew the organisers and some of the teachers that there would be no problem getting into an advance class, but first we had to get there.
This was our problem, I was working until six on Friday morning, and then I had to hitch up the caravan drive three hundred miles. After this I had to set up base and then go out dancing. I was up early enough, but the drive took it out of me. We arrived and set up camp by about seven-thirty, but I was spent by now and so we had an early night.
In the morning we had an early call from the guy who collects the money. As we paid him he said “can I see your membership card” so I showed him my card and he said “this is a Caravan Club card” I looked puzzled “we are The Camping and Caravan Club” he said. Have a look at the flags, both red triangles with something in the centre.
Ignore the background, that does not appear on signs
As Viv said “you never hear anyone mixing up The AA and The RAC” Still the guy was ok and let us stay.
So we never got to any workshops but we did get to a couple of Milongas. We were only in the New Forest for five days so two nights tango was a good ratio. Saturday night was the best for me, all traditional, arranged in Tandas and very social.
We had other things to do during the days and on the following nights, catching up with our daughter was the primary concern, so all in all we left happy.
From here we set off across the Severn to Cardiff. It was a shorter journey, I had a good night’s sleep, so arrived much less stressed. Also we knew this site from our camper van days, we could just relax. Things were not altogether smooth though; recent rain had left the site muddy, so we were forced to go in search of a groundsheet for the awning. Viv was not at first happy with our situation, but she soon settled in.
We managed some tango here, as well. There is a regular Tea Dance at Morgans Town. We have never made this one before and we had some confusion about times. When we had been there no more than an hour they called “tea” I decided that we would just make the most of the time and keep dancing. When I did check it out there was an awesome amount of food. I did partake of a little, but I had promised Viv a meal out.
I think the organisers were a bit taken aback when we left just after seven, but we had decided to eat out and were surprised it was still going on. We had expected it to finish at six (it finished at eight apparently). Next time we will have a better idea of what is happening and will stay to the end, but for now we were hungry.
A little geography is in order here; The Halfway is about a hundred yards from our campsite, walking. In the car it can take about ten minutes. The menu in the window said that they did Fish and Chips, what had got this into Viv’s head I don’t know, but I was easy with it. I dropped her at the door said “order the drinks and food and I will park the car” I was not about to be denied a pint or two.
I arrived back at the pub, where Viv said “you will have to pay for the drinks” she had come out without money; on top of this they stopped serving food at eight.
Now I did not fancy walking back for the car and I already had one pint in front of me, so inappropriately dressed and with dancing shoes on we set off in search of food. It looked like rain and we had to walk to Canton before we found a Weatherspoons. Now we hear mixed reports, but you know, when you want food they are always there. No fish and chips but we had my favourite “All day Breakfast” delicious.
When we came out it had indeed rained, but we must be very righteous because the sun shone upon us as we walked back, well fed and merry.
Monday saw us return again to Barocco bar for Tango Edge. Again we were welcomed as old friends and I had the chance to kiss the bride as Xenia had married Graeme this year. Wonderful music and a real atmosphere, it is just a shame that like so many places we know that I can get there so rarely. We stayed right to the end and had a mini adventure walking back along the river in the dark.
Our final destination was Iron Bridge; we were not expecting any dancing, but five days of exploring all the fabulous museums. I was not disappointed in the passport it was worth every penny and we filled five days actually failing to see the last museum (The clay pipe museum). Viv got her fish and chips finally in the Victorian village, cooked in real lard.
A small town in the middle of the Iron Bridge heritage site, Maidley is almost completely new. Almost everything has been wiped out, cleared and replaced with modern buildings. I say almost but in the middle is The Anstice Memorial Workmens Club & Institute, a piece of tradition in the midst of modernity. And apparently the oldest working mens club in existence. http://www.madeleylocalhistory.org/buildings/anstice.html
We came out of Tescos loaded with shopping, and I just wondered. Two guys were outside the door having a smoke and generally abusing each other as good friends often do. I walked over and asked “do they have any dancing here?” they answered me in the affirmative “ay they do Foxtrot and that on a Saturday night, I call it Zimmer frame dancing”
We did some checking and found that indeed there was a dance that Saturday. So we turned up not knowing quite what to expect, but ready to accept whatever we got.
What a revelation, the crowd were indeed old but not aged. The first dance was a Waltz Catrine, the first sequence we ever learned (rarely danced now in these parts); great start. There were, of course, one or two we did not know, but this far from home, not as many as we would have expected. They stuck strictly to the fifty percent, half ballroom half sequence, and do you know? These Zimmer frame dancers had me sweating even though we were doing less than they were.
They played a ballroom tango (yes I know I’m a hypocrite) but there were not many on the floor and it was La Cumparsita. Afterwards people were coming to us all the time “We loved your Tango”. We tend to worry that people expect Strictly, but I suppose social dancers the world over realise that there is a difference.
In the second half they played another tango and nobody got on the floor, I guess it was Show time. I suppose it must have been that because we left the floor to much applause.
The people here were lovely even the steward of the club came to welcome us and beg us to come back. If you are ever in the area I can heartily recommend the place; live music, beautiful building, friendly people and welcoming staff, what more could you want?
All too soon and it was time to return home. I had a pile of email and I needed to tell people about our practica.
Two regulars cried off for family reasons and with little notice I expected a poor turnout. Just shows, you never can tell. A private class one other and that looked like my limit, then the bell started ringing, people just kept arriving.
We ended up with record numbers and I just could not bear to send them home at eleven (even though I had to be up at five in the morning).
When they finally all left Viv said “that was a bloody good night” I agree.