With a number of absences known in advance (including your usual scribe) it was a small but select band that assembled to remember Ray Croll at the first Dragon session since his death. It included Lesley making an unexpected appearance due to being relieved of drunk-shepherding duties in Newport, Robin who, still recovering from his shoulder operation, managed the first half, and a welcome return by Alan who has been absent for a while.
Of course the emphasis was on Ray. This included songs from his repertoire (Rambling Boy, Rosie Anderson, Lakes of the Ponchartrain), songs from his native Liverpool (Liverpool Judies, Johnny Todd) and songs he particularly enjoyed hearing (Fishing in Clonakilty, Dalesman's Litany, The Brown Dog). This last tearjerker was sung by Keith to the great mental discomfort of Gertie whom Maggie had brought straight from a (fortunately benign) visit to the vet.
But the two most poignant moments came from Mike who opened with Health to the Company which he learnt from Ray:
“For we may and might never all meet here again.”and finished with The Farewell Shanty:
“When my time is over, haul away for Heaven.Next week's session at the Bridge will be a fusion of the club's two (usually separate) autumnal themes - Halloween and Campfire Songs, leading to the somewhat unlikely combination of Things That Go Bump Round The Campfire!
Haul away for Heaven. God be at my side.
It is time to go now. Haul away your anchor.
Haul away your anchor, 'tis our sailing time.”
Here's a selection of these songs plus some others sung during the session.