Hal-an-Tow, jolly rumbelow
We were up long before the day-o
To welcome in the summer
To welcome in the May-o
The summer is coming in
And winter's gone away-o
We were, indeed, up long before the day.
This morning, May Day morning 2013, we went to Coldrum Stones in the North Downs of Kent at the crack of sparrowfart to welcome in the dawn in the company of the Hartley Morris Men. The celebrations began with Dave piping in the dawn on his bagpipes, and then at about 5:30am, as the sun rose behind a grey, cloudy sky, the Hartley Morris Men danced their first dance of the morning, which was Banks Of The Dee.
What would May Day morning be without fruit cake, impaled on a sword? Thank you, Phil, it was delicious.
The sun clearly had plans for the rest of the day, but it was keeping itself to itself during the dancing. They danced for about half an hour, finishing off in style with Bonny Green Garters.
To round off the celebrations at the stones we all went down to the foot of the hill, looking up towards the entrance to the burial chamber.
There we sang Hal-An-Tow to welcome in the May.
When all was done we went on to the Rose and Crown in Wrotham for a hearty breakfast, which was much needed, after our cold and early start.
The programme for the Hartley Morris summer can be found on their website.