Last night was a bit surreal: I found myself sitting in a beautiful old stone-built almost underground building, surrounded by people dancing a kayleigh and a troupe of musicians at the front, next to the grand piano, knocking out Irish tunes on a violin, flute, and guitar, with a singer too.
We started the evening by going to my first Nablus restaurant, where we had a fantastic mezze: mutabal (aubergine and tahini puree), guacomole, hummus, tabouleh, salads, flat-breads and the pink pickled vegetables I'd spotted at the market. It was divine, I love the food here.
One of the International volunteers has taken up residence here, and being a musician, is getting a local scene going, and this was the music hall. As the volunteers comprised Scottish, Irish, German, Dutch, American and English, there was a lot of enthusiasm to try something new, and no embarassment about finding partners and swinging each other around, although some confusion about the steps, as most of us are at least a couple of generations away from people who knew how to dance.
It struck me as another Hardy-esque moment, as peasants of yesteryear might have gathered for similar occasions, after a hard-days work in the fields, and enjoyed themselves having a good old dance. What a pity we have let slip this innocent past-time.
I suspect that in deepest Dorset, however, there would have been more than a little of the apple-based local brew to smooth the night along and to get rid of inhibitions. Here, nothing of that kind, just a group of uninhibited teachers dancing away to the bemusement of some locals, gathered outside the door and peering in.