The same thing keeps on happening, I think I've updated this but when I check, it's not there - it is the system or is it me - I suspect the later. It's finally getting chilly here, and after the storms yesterday, I won't need to water the garden for a while. Luckily a few weeks ago when we held our first Quiz night, on the patio at the Elea Resort, the weather was still lovely. It was a very successful event. The pictures and description of the excellent food and entertainment can be found HERE. [I remember uploading the pictures immediately, because it was such an excellent night I didn't want to risk forgetting, and that is probably why I completely forgot to update these blethers]. The quiz was so successful that we are going to do a similar event as a Xmas get together - numbers are strictly limited so see the flyer below and contact Irene ASAP if you are interested in coming.
Our regular dancing sessions are much missed, and we are not alone in that, but there is still activity within the group and amongst dancers world-wide and in many ways the Covid situation has been a catalyst for positive activity.
Some people may be aware of mini-crib - the original go-to depository of computerised dance instructions - I have just been contacted by one of the mini-crib managers regarding 'Cyprus Delight', a dance written several years ago by John, a regular holiday visitor, who dedicated it to us for the many years of welcome and fun he'd had at the class. It's exciting to know it's going 'mainstream'.
During this time of separation the internet has kept us all in contact and perhaps given us time to get round to contacting people. One lovely message received via the website has been from Noreen R who used to be very active within the society many years ago - before my time, but remembered by others.
Although nothing can replace actually dancing, the lock down has resulted in the Royal Scottish Country Dance Society (RSCDS) increasing their on-line content a thousand-fold, including Zoom classes every Wednesday and many, many YouTube teaching clips which just didn't exist this time last year. This is copied from their e-mail reminder in case anyone is interested in accessing the sessions :-
"The RSCDS Online Class takes place weekly on a Wednesday evening at 19:00 GMT.
Dance Scottish At Home, including the “At Home Podcast” will be issued on Friday 30th October and will continue to be issued fortnightly.
The Online Class recordings will continue to be sent out on a Friday, with a link to a previously distributed “At Home Podcast”.
In the RSCDS Online Classes, each week a different RSCDS Teacher is there to guide you through a mixture of basic movements, warm ups, technique, steps and dances, giving variety across the classes.
Live every Wednesday, the class will give you the chance to dance with RSCDS members around the world at the same time. Across the classes we are aiming to provide content for a range of abilities from beginners through to advanced dancers and will aim to have something everyone can join in with, in every class.
Hosted on Zoom, the classes deliver live video and instruction, with the opportunity to post written Q&As throughout the session, which are answered throughout each class. You can also post messages on the ‘Chat’ area of the Webinar to other dancers and we know how valuable many of you are finding this."
The classes are great fun, if inevitably varied in their technical set up although the blank screen can be a little disconcerting when you first link up there is always a musical introduction from top quality musicians which, by itself, makes joining in worth it. I personally find the Wednesday class a little late to access live, so I catch up on Fridays, when I remember. It's fascinating to see the messages from people all over the world, including many familiar from the International Branch visit to Cyprus and my trips to Winter School. It does make you realise we are part of a very active international community and although dancing might not be allowed until next year at the earliest, after surviving nearly 300 years a few months break isn't going to matter much and hopefully I will see some of you at least at the Elea in December, if not before.
It's as if we've slipped into a parallel universe; some parts of life seem to be carrying on almost as usual (or have just drifted into being just a different version of normal) while at the same time, other aspects seem to be completely out of control. Time is one of the 'out of control' bits. We are about to hold our second post lock-down event and I am still thinking our little picnic in the woods was a few days ago. Here are a couple of pictures from our very successful open air 'meet-up' at Peyia's Pikni Forest picnic site (try saying that in a hurry) so that we don't forget about it entirely ( a few more HERE)
It is very difficult to convey what a lovely atmosphere it was. The temperature on our car's gauge was 37'C as we came through Peyia and I was convinced that a) no-one would turn up b) if they did, they'd be fainting away because of the heat... instead we had an excellent turn out and beneath the trees it was truly lovely and possibly the most comfortable we'd been all that week. Everyone was delighted to see each other, gossip and food were shared equally and all agreed it was a super way to spend the afternoon. Tomorrow we are holding our Elea Quiz, though a complete contrast to the woods this is another venue where we will have plenty of room to be adequately spaced out. People can feel comfortable in these disease-ridden times and again we have a very respectable turn out expected so it promises to be an entertaining night. Hopefully I'll be reporting back as little more promptly to say how it went.
Well, I should really hang my head in shame... I logged on to update this blether and saw that the last time I updated the website was the end of April. That is really hard to believe, where on earth has the time gone? For me at least, this period of lock-down and gradual re-emergence has flown past and it was with slight reluctance that I suggested we all meet up for a 'bit of a picnic' to get re-acquainted with each other since it signals, hopefully, a gradual new beginning but a break from the immediate past.
I've definitely enjoyed the 'time-out' and I hope everyone has had a similarly calm but productive few months. We are very lucky to be here in Cyprus which(rather surprisingly) seems to be one of the safest places to be in Europe, at least so far.
Anyway, now the rules are relaxing, and while we haven't too many tourists to increase the risks again, it seems a good idea to grab the chance for a get together.
If you haven't received a formal invitation don't worry, just turn up, the Groups contact list is brand new and although we've tried hard to include everyone we've already discovered a few who have slipped through the net.
We are meeting from 3 pm on Thursday 30th July at the Pikni Forest picnic area above Peyia. If anyone isn't sure where Pikni Forest is, click HERE, for directions and a map.
The picnic area itself is large, well laid out and equipped with tables and benches etc. There are BBQ pits for public use, but in case we are not be permitted to use them (fire risk) it may be best to bring something like sandwiches rather than steak! This is a purely social get together, in the safety of the open air bring your own food and drink and lets enjoy the coolness of the forest with space for as much social distancing as we feel comfortable with. I look forward to seeing whoever turns up and hopefully it will get me back my into 'Scottish' gear again. I doubt if we'll be dancing soon but at least now we can enjoy a bit of each other's company. Keep cool. Jx
Happy Easter. Not an Easter egg in sight, but never mind, there's greater tragedies in this world at the moment, but hopefully not for you and yours. It's unbelievable that it's 2 weeks since I last had a blether. Days are slower but fuller - and seem to be flying past even quicker than normal. Freesia are in full bloom all over the garden. They smell lovely now I've got time to pick them. Home grown lettuce and rocket are now gracing my salads as well as my vegetable patch. Tomatoes are planted and beans and cucumbers are shooting up - lots going on, how did I ever have time for anything else?
On the 'dancing front' I'm including links to two more RSCDS 'Dance Scottish At Home' newsletters. The RSCDS are running on-line classes every Wednesday morning - see the link below for more information in their latest newsletter.
And the link below should take you to last weeks newsletter.
Finally I've included a button, below, to allow you to download the latest 'International Branch' newsletter - just in case you want to play 'spot the teacher'.
Keep safe and well. Jx
So far, so good. It's a surprise to realise that I've not been on the computer for over a week - I've just been so busy that time has flown by. It's definitely an 'ill wind' as they say and I feel a little guilty that wherever I look people are saying what a difficult time it is... but I have to confess to enjoying the 'down-time' because I'm basically a solitary person. That's not to say that I'm not missing the dancing, or seeing friend's or that we've not been having our own little crises - but at this time of year I'm always a bit frustrated by having to spend so much time inside when all I really want to do is get into the garden to drag out the weeds and plant a few seedlings so to actually get the chance to do that, and read a book, and do a jigsaw, and get out my cross-stitch (no time to do that yet but it's there) and not feel guilty that there's updates to do or events to prepare for, or attend, and no urgent need to learn new things or think ahead ... is bliss.
We are very lucky of course to be in such a nice place to be isolated ;-) and that everyone we are close to seems to be staying healthy and motivated. The dreaded lurgy will have changed quite a few things by the time we come out of all this but not all of them will be bad - and although the weather today has been bracing, over the last few days it's been lovely enough to get the swing seat out and eat our lunch outside, so spring is definitely here and if we can't walk in it at least we have time to sit and enjoy the sunshine when it's available. Exercise is of course important and not everyone has a garden to weed and bask in, so here's a link to the RSCDS's 'Dance Scottish at Home' newsletter which includes some good music and dancing and here is also a link to a newly created dance 'The Toilet Roll Reel' which was published on the RSCDS Facebook page and shows you don't need a partner to get a work out (I hope the link works). Keep well Jx
Hi everyone, we are thinking hard about the dreaded lurgy..... please look out for notices from us regarding next week's dancing Jx
Physical exercise is good for you, mental exercise is necessary too... last week demonstrated that Scottish country dancing is all you need to stay healthy (though perhaps not quite sane ;-)) - by the end of the session I wasn't the only one whose brain hurt! Well done to everyone who attempted Monica's Way, not by any means the most complicated dance in the SCD repertoire but still a considerable challenge - not least for the teacher! It contains several formations unfamiliar to most of the class, as well as being a 'non-stop' dance for everyone in the set. Despite my shaky instructions the dance was close to working by the end of a brief 'teach-in' - next week I'll get the ending sorted out and we can iron out the wrinkles and feel super pleased with ourselves++! Numbers are fairly low at the moment but we still managed 2 sets for most of the dances and, as usual, we had great fun with Staircase in Styria as well as getting slightly further on with Gang the Same Gate - it was pointed out that I'd designated this tricky dance as a 'green' level... my excuse is that since it is a Strathspey there is time for people to sort themselves out - or at least get it wrong more slowly - everyone managed that pretty well :-)- but still enjoyed the challenge. I am looking forward to seeing how well we can do next week, keep washing your hands to keep the bugs at bay and we'll see you soon. Jx
We will all be familiar with the strange feeling of being away for a short but intensely different break and then returning to a 'normal' life that feels anything but normal for the first few days. It's also strange that despite not adding to these blethers for nearly 3 weeks. (You poor deprived things ;-)) the Tuesday dance session 2 weeks ago was excellent enough to stick in my mind despite all that I've done since; we had great fun with 'The Staircase in Styria' and I got the chance to join in with 'Christmas at the Heath' as well as dancing 'The Dream Catcher'.
Last week, while I was away, I left Pete with a programme of easy or very familiar dances as it's always enjoyable (both for dancer and teacher) to have a relaxing night of familiar stuff from time to time.... but hee, hee, hee.... I'm back... and though I enjoy going back to the simple stuff too, if you don't stretch yourself occasionally you loose the ability to stretch at all! ( And I've just had a good stretch so I think you should too!).
Winter School was FAB -U-LUS!! Although I attended by myself this year I would really like to take a group to it next year, not because I need the company, but because it is such a great experience that would be wonderful to share. As far as the dance classes are concerned the teaching is so good and the pace non-demanding (compared to the sessions here) so that most of our regular dancers could cope easily with a little preparation. Pitlochry and The Atholl Palace Hotel itself are lovely places and an experience in themselves - the classes for all levels are based both in the town and at the hotel so over the week you get a chance to try both.
All the evening dances are based at the hotel (except for the final night Ball at Blair Castle) and the policy was to make them accessible to every level of dancer - during the week we danced Postie's Jig; Culla Bay; Cherrybank Gardens; Mairi's Wedding and Highland Rambler amongst many more that we are familiar with - even though I was amongst many other 'singles' no-one was ever without a partner, because being sociable is what this type of dancing is all about - I danced every dance my feet would allow! The pleasure to be had from dancing with, literally, 100 or more other people, to the music of amazing musicians is something that cannot be replicated here in Cyprus - as is the fascination of meeting people from all over the world with a common interest. It's very hard to convey the joy of it all roll on next year...
But then having said all that... it's good to be back!
I hope to see you tonight. Jx
It's already that time of year... while we are busy welcoming back more of our spring 'Swallows' we start to say more goodbyes to Winter visitors... In this instance 2 of our regulars are planning a more prolonged departure than usual, like all our regular dancers they will be very much missed but we are sure to see them again whenever they are visiting. The night started early with a little mini meet of the committee but it was constructive enough to over fairly quickly and it was followed by a really good night of dancing. The super 7 couple Christmas at the Heath wasn't attempted because the break was later than usual and numbers dropped quite quickly but we'll give it another try next week because it's well worth keeping in the repertoire but needs revision fairly often. Other dances that were particularly enjoyed were Dream Catcher and Trip to Bavaria - both of which were very well done, even by newcomers to the dances.
On a formal note we are to be rechristened as the P3A St Andrew Group. There will be a bit of revision of the website, including the domain name since it is conveniently due for renewal and of course logos etc will be slightly revised - this will of course happen gradually since it takes a bit of time to get everything sorted - especially since I am heading to Scotland at the end of next week for the RSCDS Winter School - but don't worry Tuesday sessions will continue (though the Monday class may have to be postponed for a couple of weeks). This week both Monday and Tuesday will be on as normal, hopefully the dreadful weather that is expected over the weekend will be over by then- I hope to see you there.
This is a very belated blether because the amount of work both the committee and I have had to do 'behind the scenes' during this last week has eaten up all my free time and more, however it culminated in an excellent 'AGM' despite unexpected changes in the agenda and the fact that strictly speaking it wasn't an AGM but just a meeting of friends with a common interest in things Scottish.
After the euphoria of a truly excellent Burns' Night the week started with a certain amount of confusion and concern because of new laws which impact the legal existence of the Society. Our chairman, amongst others, got very busy and thanks have to go to Ros (in this instance, from the P3A - but she wears many hats which makes her a very busy lady) who has been incredibly generous with her time and knowledge to bring everyone up to speed with the situation - which allowed informed decisions to be made. These decisions were conveyed to the attendees of the meeting last Saturday and were well received - which led to very little delay before we got to the excellent lunch provided by Debby and her team at the UKCA and provided free to every attendee.
There are still plenty of details to be ironed out but the essential thing is a legal way forward is achieved. More information will be e-mailed to members/interested parties as and when they are confirmed/available - there will be inevitable changes in the structure of the society however from the members point of view it should be 'business as usual' - just a little cheaper (we hope) - not at all bad!
Dancing definitely continues unchanged, so I hope to see everyone either on Monday or Tuesday as normal and congratulations to the new members of the 'committee' - exactly what your future titles will be is still to be decided but welcome anyway, it's great to have more hands on deck :-)
Originated in Manchester, England: Worked almost 20 yrs in the Emirates: Lives in Cyprus, Teaches Scottish Country Dancing (RSCDS qualified 2015) -just the average life. Also loves Photography & Photoshop, Gardening, Music, Sewing, Design, Reading, Sudoku, God, my husband & my cats (not necessarily in that order). Hates - cooking, housework, TV, politicians, cruelty and greed of any kind.
All Images on this site are copyright Janine Scott unless otherwise stated.