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RSCDS London Branch eUpdate
25 November 2020

Dear fellow dancers
We may still be in Autumn, there were still some leaves on the trees this week, but many of us living through the 2nd English lockdown are looking forward eagerly to early December, when we may, perhaps, again meet and mingle more freely. From there it is only a few weeks until Christmas is upon us. Although we cannot meet as planned at our, now cancelled, Christmas Dance on 19 December, we do hope that you will join us at our Virtual Christmas Party from 5pm on Saturday 19th December - more details in London Branch Chair, Jim Cook's note below.

Earlier this month the RSCDS AGM brought news of Scottish Country Dancing from around the world, via 12 Coates Crescent and Zoom. Outgoing Chairman Andrew Kellet welcomed Lorna Ogilvie as the new RSCDS Chairman, with William Williamson as Chairman Elect. If you were unable to join in on the day you can still see the recording via this link. Later that day, members were able to enjoy a feast of music, dance, reminiscences and more as the Autumn Gathering Ball was transformed into “Dance Scottish – An Autumn Evening”.  The video of this much enjoyed evening is promised in time for St Andrew's day - check here for the up to date link.

Before we leave Autumn behind, it seems as good a time as any to share another favourite dance. This version of Autumn in Appin, features some familiar London Branch faces from 1997.

London Branch Christmas Party
17.00 Saturday 19 December
For obvious reasons, 2020 is not the special 90th Anniversary Year which the London Branch anticipated! But this is the time of the year when one's thoughts turn towards Christmas. Our bumper Christmas Dance on Saturday 19th December is, of course, a casualty of Covid 19 but members of the Committee have been putting their heads together to plan a Zoom Christmas extravaganza for you that afternoon instead. So do keep the afternoon of Saturday 19th December free from 17.00 onwards so that we can celebrate the festive season together as best as we can! 
If you have not had a reason to try Zoom yet, and have doubts, then please do not worry; even I have managed to use it...sometimes successfully! Rest assured that such a Zoom party will require no social distancing and will be totally virus free, especially if your computer's viral protection is enabled.
Music and Dance items will be interspersed with Quizzes and Games. 
To add to the occasion, do please wear your Christmassy attire. In particular, if you can, do wear a Christmas hat to add colour... but, thinking of the limitations of computer cameras, I guess it is not too important what is worn below the waist. However, having said that, gentlemen, why not wear your kilt to recall pre virus days and to see if it still fits!
Enjoy party food and drink galore! From champagne to caviar! The feast is only limited by what you provide for yourselves.
So do put this party date in your diary. If the state of your diary is anything like mine then, thanks to the virus, there will be plenty of blank space to write it down. I look forward to seeing you then. It will be a "Cracker" of an afternoon.
Let us thank Joanne, Mel and Simon who are plotting the occasion as I write. Meanwhile, do keep safe.
To join the party click on this link from 5pm onwards on Saturday 19 December 2020.

We'll have the chat function open to allow you to catch up with friends and look forward to your company for a convivial evening.

Share Christmas Memories?

Do you have good memories of Christmas past to share?  Maybe a particular dance or Christmas celebrations  in another town, another country, another time...
We'd like to compile a few of these as part of our Christmas party.
If you have a story you could share, please contact
London Branch Christmas Competitions

We have 2 challenges for you to indulge your creative instincts,and maybe add a Scottish Dance related twist, ahead of our Christmas party! The first calls out to everyone in mourning at the end of GBBO 2020 whilst the second is our Christmas decoration competition.

Read on for more details!
London Branch Baking competition

The Great British Bake Off may have finished this week but here is still time to show off your patisserie skills and impress the judges.  Maybe not quite Prue, Paul and co but we can offer a winner's certificate and a mystery prize - plus you get to eat the finished item as we only ask that you send a photograph to enter the competition.  
Simply make the Christmassy treat of your choice, take a photo and send it in to enter.

London Branch Christmas Decoration Competition

Why spend a fortune on expensive Christmas decorations, when you can make your own? 

Take part in our Christmas Decoration competition and 
celebrate your inner creativity!
We thought it might be fun to include a competition to design a Christmas decoration as part of our London Branch Christmas celebrations.  It could be a tasteful bauble for your tree, a lavish centrepiece for the Christmas table or any form of gaudy, gorgeous celebration of colour and creativity that takes your fancy.  

Inspired by memories of Blue Peter creations from the 1960s onwards we're sure that, like Val Singleton and Christopher Trace, 'all' you need are a couple of wire coat hangers, some plastic bottles, a little tinsel to let creativity reign.  For a walk down memory lane click on these links to see Christopher Trace make the iconic Blue Peter Advent Crown and Val Singleton's attractive Christmas Tree Decorations

How to enter

Whether you bake a delicious Christmas treat,  make a handmade Advent Crown, a Christmas Tree decoration or something else entirely, here's how to enter the competitions.
  1. Enjoy making the Christmas bake or decoration of your choice
  2. Take a photograph of it
  3. Send it, with your name and contact details, to arrive by 12 December,
  4. Photos may be
    • emailed to,
    • WhatsApped to 07747617953 or
    • hard copy posted to 72 Hallowell Road, Northwood, HA61DS.
We will show all the photographs at our Christmas Social event on 19th December.  The winning entries will each receive a certificate and a mystery prize!
The Branch Jigsaw: Blue Peter Christmas Decoration
See what can be achieved with several coat hangers, some tinsel and a complete disregard for 21st Century fire regulations! If you think you think you can do better, then why not take part in our Christmas Decoration Competition? For competition details see above.
Click on the image to begin the jigsaw.

For the answers to the Scottish Country Dance Wordsearch click here. 

New Scottish Dance Devising Competition Update

Since the previous update given on p4 Reel 313, Stephen Webb, co-ordinator of the Competition, has now contacted each entrant thanking them for entering and advising them whether they have been shortlisted to the last twelve dances (in the event of an anniversary book of dances being published). Some entrants made modifications as recommended by the judges to improve them. No trialing can, though, be carried out on any dances until we are all properly dancing again. Clearly this will not be at best until later next year, well past the date of the Branch's postponed 90th Anniversary Ball when the winner should have been announced!

Cutting a long story short, this dance competition cannot go ahead as planned.  Future flexibility is needed to allow the remaining aspects of the judging to be managed, and the winner announced, at whatever opportunity presents itself to Stephen who remains the point of contact. Let us hope for some semblance of normality which will facilitate completion sooner rather than later!

I thank Stephen for all his hard work to date and for his flexibility in the future.


Any queries relating to the dance competition should be directed to

RSCDS Dance Scottish at Home.
Since the last eUpdate we have 2 more newsletters and 3 more class to bring you.
The newsletters may be viewed here:
6 November 2020
13 November 2020

The 4th November class was taken by Joana Stausberg from Bonn in Germany. Joana had pre-recorded the class at a friend’s home, to allow her to have space to dance – she also joined live to guide everyone through the evening and to answer questions in the chat. Class video here.

On 11 November we enjoyed a second online class from society Chairman Elect, William Williamson. This time William was accompanied by George Meikle, exiled to a tent in the garden to respect social distancing requirements.View the class here

Emma Allsop from Den Haag in the Netherlands accompanied by fiance Stuart took the 18 November class. You can catch up on the lesson here

We will bring the link to this week's class, on Wednesday 25 November, to you in our next eUpdate.

The Wednesday 2 December class will again be at 19:00 BST via this link.  Please remember that, as Zoom has changed its security advice, there is now a Passcode for the class. Passcode: 249430.

Grateful thanks to all teachers, musicians, technicians and organisers involved in the delivery of these classes.
To revisit any of the classes so far simply click on the relevant name below.
Angela Young, Mervyn Short, Dave Hall, Diane Hastie,William Williamson, Ron Wallace, Graham Donald, Atsuko Clement, Fiona Mackie, David Queen, Debbie RoxburghRebecca Blackhall-Peters, Sue Porter, Trish NichollsSamuele GrazianiRobert McOwen, Andrew Timmins, Alice Stainer, Andrew Nolan, Fred DeMarse, Margie Stevenson, Yoshiki Oyama, Jamie Berg, John&Ruby Wilkinson, Ellie BriscoeGábor Turi , Deb Lee, Fiona Miller, Katharine HoskynJoana Stausberg, William Williamson, Emma Allsop
We will continue to include links from Dance Scottish at Home but, if you'd like your own personal copy simply visit, scroll to the bottom of the homepage and complete your details in the ‘Sign up for the RSCDS eNewsletter’ section. It’s quick and easy! There is also a DSAH webpage where you can access previous issues of the Dance Scottish At Home eNewsletter and view all of the Zoom online classes to date – visit

NHS advice on keeping yourself well:

Government advice here:
RSCDS Blog here:

We look forward to dancing with you soon.
Copyright © 2020 RSCDS London Branch, All rights reserved.

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