Dawn Chorus has international flavour

2 May
Dawn Chorus

Swindon Festival of Literature goes off with bang. Photo (C) Calyx Pictures

The rowdy drunks were disagreeing outside the club, one massaging her sore feet after in a night in heels, whilst birds were joyfully greeting International Dawn Chorus Day. Co-op workers were setting up store and I explained to a disbelieving Chronicler Milo that in years gone by, almost everything would have been shut on a bank holiday.

And so we walked to the launch event of the Swindon Festival of Literature in Lawn Woods, greeted by the rich smell of paraffin from the flaming batons as they bounced between jugglers, against a Swindon vista at a grey sunrise. The merry band of Jake’s jugglers had grown this year to include the Cat’s Pyjamas, and have recently returned from teaching circus skills to street kids in Nicaragua.

The penny whistle-playing warmed up as it went on but the recital tributes to Shakespeare less so and the Sun Arise Singers sang us they were Feeling Good. The gorgeous but frugal-round-the-shoulder dresses of the Spanish women dancers, twirling a traditional men’s dance, told us – or the weather – that it’s time for spring/summer, and maybe, just maybe the late-coming frost, snow and hail will go away again.

Milo remembered in time – mid-order of a hot bacon buttie from Our Farmhouse Kitchen showing promising commitment – that he’s now a vegetarian, and plumped for porridge instead.

Matt Holland, Festival organiser and Dawn Chorus compere, declared a visiting Nicaraguan doctor and poet, Jorge Calderon, to be mayor of Swindon twinned-town Ocotal. He confessed later it was a mistake, saying, ‘it isn’t true but it ought to be’. Jorge recited a short but lovely tribute to Swindon in both Spanish and English. The Spanish connection comes from 25 years of twinning as will be seen in a few SFL events.

Talking of poet-politicians, Tony ‘community poet’ Hillier come-independent candidate for Covingham and Dorcan ward and master of maypole ribbon-weaving, performed a Dawn Chorus-dedicated verse.

The event finished with a ‘volunteer from the audience’ bravely standing with eyes open (‘seamless and safe’) inside a circle of whirling batons, accompanied by exploding confetti, midges and maypole dancing. The midges were new.

And so begins 13 days of listening, enjoying, reading and thinking. Hopefully midge-free.

Words by Louisa Davison.

Louisa is also known as Agent Louisa of Secret Agent Marketing.

One Response to “Dawn Chorus has international flavour”

  1. Martin Hawes 3rd May 2016 at 4:27 pm #

    Definitely with you on the midges. The sooner Scotland gets its independence the better!

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