It was my first outdoor event with Ya Raqs, and I thought we would probably be the focus of a fair bit of staring as we arrived in Warrington on a gloomy Saturday morning with the forecast of heavy rain to come. With our striped ghawazee coats, matching red and gold hip scarves, dark eyeliner and thick hooded black wool cloaks, I expected that we would rather stand out.
|Naima, Phoenece, Yasna and Meroe|
Cloaks, however, turned out to be all the rage in Warrington. Black was popular, but there were also red, green and purple. There were headdresses and chain-mail, corsets and kilts. And our kohl-lined eyes only made us fit in better. The Vikings welcomed us with open arms, and I was surprised and put at ease by the warm and friendly greetings we received.
The rain arrived shortly after we did, and we were very grateful that Meroe had managed to arrange for us to use a waterproof gazebo. Our regular tent evidently isn’t particularly waterproof, and some of our things don’t do too well in the rain…
|Naima, Phoenece, Yasna and Meroe in our "new" home.|
After decorating our tent to suit us, we distracted the early-bird shoppers in town from the arrival of the rain with a few dances. Our neighbours – busy selling broadband to passers-by from underneath large umbrellas – certainly seemed to enjoy it, and even joined in from time to time. I’m not sure how much use the Vikings had for broadband – but then again it might have only been the weather which kept the crowds from inundating our neighbours, who turned out to be the ones who looked out of place with their unlined eyes and smart clothes. They were clearly intrigued by our dancing, and I think we might have managed to keep their thoughts off the weather.
|Our super Warrington audience braving the elements.|
Throughout the day there were three constants – the music, the ever-present rain, and the Ya Raqs girls’ anticipation of cake. We welcomed lots of people into our gazebo, where we made new friends and re-acquainted ourselves with old ones whilst they sheltered from the rain. Even the cave troll dropped by to say hello, fortunately for us deciding not to knock down our little shelter. And from time to time we slipped out to see what else was happening around the market… and to sample the local cake, of course! Kebi even helped out on one of the stalls. I was very grateful for my lovely black cloak, which kept the rain off me nicely whilst I bargained for trinkets at the jewellery stalls.
|Phoenece and the troll!|
We had some dancers join us during the day – special mention has to be made of four year old Eliza, who visited us in the afternoon, Helen and Chapman the bear (another first, apparently – Meroe said she’d never danced with a bear before!), and the amazing James, who took time from his stag do to join us for an energetic “Malfuf”, and did a very creditable job of it!
|Helen and Chapman with Yasna and Meroe.|
As the day – and the rain – wound down, we shared a plate of chocolate churros in our gazebo before wringing the water from our sodden blankets, wall-hangings… shoes… and heading home.
|Naima, Yasna and Kebi tucking in to well-earned churros!|
I can’t wait for the next event where I can dance with Ya Raqs, and look forward to meeting my new Viking friends again soon!
P.S. Don't tell Meroe but I managed to sneak in a slice of chocolate cake too!
|Sneaky chocolate cake!|