Last Saturday was RSCDS Belfast’s annual ball. Eight members of Dublin SCD Club, plus Mary’s sister and her friend who were visiting from California, travelled up to join about 90 other dancers for the event. John and I went via the Ulster Museum in order to see the poppies display Weeping Window by Paul Cummins and Tom Piper, which commemorates the lives lost during the First World War. Each poppy was individually hand-made and the overall effect is beautiful and quite moving.
A welcome, and delicious, cup of hot punch began the evening, which was held in St Nicholas’ Parish Hall. Members of the Branch had prepared a very tasty hot meal – I chose peppered beef and rice – which we ate on the ground floor. Desserts were set out on the tables and, after a brief bout of ‘You choose’ ‘No, you choose’, ‘No, after you’, I ended up with a slice of banoffee meringue. I couldn’t have chosen better (although Patrick had to help me finish it!) – it was scrummy. Unfortunately, the room was very cold and I was glad I had decided to wear a cardigan rather than draping a pashmina around my shoulders as I often do. However, we soon warmed up when the dancing began.
Echoing last year’s 70th anniversary events, the dancing began with a Grand March into square sets for The Barmkin, although the staircase from lower hall to upper was nowhere near as grand as at Titanic Belfast! There were 14 dances on the programme and time for one of the two extras (but, sadly, not Catch the Wind). I danced them all, but am still feeling slightly guilty that Elma and I completed a set for The Wardrobe only slightly ahead of John and his partner and they missed out – we could easily have danced it as a 5-couple set. This was one of four dances on the programme written by Branch members and published in the Platinum Anniversary book. Superb music was provided by David Oswald’s three-piece band and excellent recaps were given by Branch members. There was even tea, shortbread and After Eights halfway through the dancing part of the evening. I would like to thank John for, as so often since I wrote off my own car, being such a willing and good-natured chauffeur, and the event organisers for a most enjoyable evening. Roll on the Branch weekend in May!