A busy year as usual as I sit here in November thinking back over these past few months or so. The summer was spent with our courses at La Jeuss in France which were as usual just wonderful but the time has come for us to sell and as I have outlined on the La Jeuss page we have Yvonne and John Hart taking over and they are ready to continue on with the courses in 2008 which we find most heartwarming.

A great time was had at the Sidmouth and Whitby Festivals and then followed a short tour in Germany.


In September I went down to sunny Cornwall with Dan, Iris Bishop and John Dipper, Gary Holder joined us with his bass,  to record a new CD at Mick Dolan’s studio in sunny Port Isac. A great setting and wonderful views out over the sea. We all stayed at Mike and Julie Silver’s and indeed Mike and Julie have joined us in some of the songs,as has Nancy in the French song,  it was a great session and the songs we have recorded include:

Olive and the Vine – written by Stan Graham

Corny Bill – Words Henry Lawson tune M. W-R.

The Fields Lie Silent – by Colin Gates

Sturdy Beggar – by Jane Coombs and late husband Chris

The Mower – Traditional.

J’ ai Laisse – French song learnt from Roger Bennett.

Josephines Waltz – Played by  Iris and John with Gary Holder

Old Whitby Harbour – by Stan Graham.

Cockleshells – Traditional.

Copper and May – by Eric Payne.

Jackeroo – by Mike Silver.

Sussex Drinking Song – Hilaire Beloc with Irish tune.

Reunion – by Cyril Tawney.


We are hoping that this will be out towards the end of January 2008. It will be called Jackaroo, after the fine song written by Mike Silver,  or Jackeroo as this word seems to be spelt both ways as far as I can find out. It is an Australian word for a young man who goes to work on a sheep or cattle station  to learn all the trades with the intention of eventualy becoming a manager in his own rite or an owner himself of a station. If you are a young girl and wish to do the same you will be known as a Jilleroo or a Jillaroo.


The other major project that has taken up much of our time is the ‘Maypoles to Mistletoe’ Book. We have been doing Maypoles to Mistletoe for close on to 36 years now with Jim Farr, Colin Gates, Sue Mills, Jim Ward and Denise Savage, The Broadwood Morris Men and The Magog Ladies With The Maypole Band led by the wonderful Iris Bishop. Over the years we have done Maypoles to Mistletoe as a workshop at both the Whitby Folk Week and also The Sidmouth Folk Festival. On each occassion it has been an exhilerating experience to work with people, that it occured to me we should produce a  text book of the show so that anyone anywhere could in actual fact put the show on themselves by using the directions, songs, narrations, poems, dances, tunes etc; and so this has come about with the invaluable help of our very good friends Chris and Helen Brown and of course my wonderful wife Dan with her brilliant illustrations. Iris Bishop has put together all the music and has, as usual, done a terrific job. We have a publisher for this and even as I write this it is being worked on and should be out at the end of April beginning of May. We are going to have a launch at Cecil Sharp House when it comes out so watch this space for more details.