Memories of Pastime By Margaret
I think I joined in Autumn 1999 as I have record of paying for the Christmas Party £5.00, which is normally included in the annual subscription. I then paid in February 2000 for the whole year.
I had first heard about Pastime from Kate (then Morrison, now Cleeland) I had met her at a classical singing class, and then at a tap dance class at the City Lit. I had been attending early dance classes at ISTD (Imperial Society of Teachers of Dancing) at their offices at Kings Cross. Kate leant me a large folder with all her Pastime notes etc (very trusting of her), and I decided to try it. The classes were in Kent but the journey for me by car was relatively easy. I think I remember phoning Alison to check if it was OK to come and she told me where to get off the M25.
I soon got used to the classes and decided to join. I remember being in several displays that first summer, wearing Alison’s peasant dress. We did one in the grounds of the church near Chelsfield Village Hall.
I used to be in most of the shows, but apart from a very few they were in the local area to Chelsfield, which I often had difficulty in finding. I do remember one where I was quite late and was told not to bother to change! The show started late, so I could have done it.
There was one that was nearer home – Valentine’s Park in Ilford, and it was quite near the tube station. It was an old house which had been restored and was reopening to the public. I think we did two performances where Alison explained the history of the dances and we danced them. It went down very well, but we have not been invited again. The house has expanded into a local attraction with various events, even a wedding venue. In the adjoining walled garden there is a teashop and beds of vegetables and fruit.
I find that I do not remember the dances very well, partly my own fault as I often have other chores to do on a Saturday morning and consequently do not get to Chelsfield at the beginning of the sessions. On a few occasions, when there has been trouble on the roads (mostly the Blackwall tunnel crossing) the journey has taken 3 hours. On one occasion I would not have got to the class until gone 5.00. so I went straight to my friend’s house in Petts Wood. I have a friend since our teen years who lives there, so we meet up after most dance sessions.
One performance I remember was when we did the Mummers play for the EDC annual festival. I did not have to dance! I played the Italian doctor who came to tend the injured knight. I have two Henry Vlll costumes, one the traditional red from the Holbein painting and the other black and silver. As the Doctor I worm the tunic from the Black one with Sharon’s black graduation gown plus a small black patterned hat of hers. I had a large covered folder which I used as my book of ‘cures’, which also contained my script!. It went very well at the festival and we performed it again at the Fairfield Halls, Croydon – this was a lunchtime show possibly for retired people. The first part was dances and then we did the play.
Here I must mention that at the Festival I was also in Barbara Segal’s presentation, which was a masked ball, with all sorts of different guests doing various historic dances. Here I was Henry Vlll, complete with mask. I was ‘taught’ a minuet by me ‘wife’ which I didn’t do it terribly well, and got a few laughs – brilliant. Later somebody asked Barbara who the new man was – I had changed by then!
I have not been to all the EDC festivals as I don’t like being away from home often – its OK if it’s local or a reasonable journey. I remember Canterbury, Orpington, Cambridge, and twice at Bath.