Morris Weekend in Thaxted
I live in a village and the first weekend in June every year is Morris weekend! This is a big deal in Thaxted and all the locals go wild for a weekend of boozing and barbequing! The Morris dancers make their way all-round the village doing different dances and jigs. Everyone and their friends come out of the woodwork to join the festivities of Morris Weekend!
Since December 2016 I have been working behind the bar at The Star pub and kitchen in Thaxted and this year that meant I was on duty for Morris Weekend. I didn’t believe it until I got to experience working through Morris weekend, but nobody can explain the emotional roller coaster you go through working this one weekend a year!
My boss Bex and I had spent weeks talking over and planning Morris weekend but when it came down to it on the Saturday it was an all hands on deck jobbie! No amount of planning could have helped us.
It all started on Friday 01/06/2018
I woke up on Friday morning full of life and energy. I packed my bags for the weekend and headed to the pub to start getting ready for the madness! First our outside bar was delivered, and we were all feeling calm and collected, unfortunately this was a brief feeling that was soon twisted into a full-blown panic when we noticed one of our deliveries had not turned up and after a few frantic phone calls we discovered our delivery driver had broken down and they were planning on first not actually telling us and then ‘trying’ to deliver the following day. The following day would have been far too late.
Through all this last minute stress we had to run around picking up our hog roast and gas canisters for our BBQ while in between setting up the bars and preparing the pub for opening time.
By the evening we had all calmed down and everything was organised, I was running between the outside bar and inside bar and Andrea was on the inside bar. As it had been tipping it down for a while this worked perfectly as not many people were using the outside bar. At 9:00pm this all changed when the Morris dancers arrived in our car park to dance and a substantial amount of people arrived wanting constant service inside and out. Thankfully Maddie arrived just in time to rescue us and I got the chance to help Andrea on the inside bar. Everything ran smoothly after that and we had a good laugh behind the bar. Nobody was out too late Friday night as they were preparing for Saturdays antics, this was a godsend for us meaning we had a reasonably early night once we stopped chatting and actually got to bed.
(Saturday, the main event)
I must admit most of Saturday is a bit of a blur for me. As I was staying at the pub I got up with Bex and Mads to get ready for the day ahead and before we knew it the fire engine had arrived, and the boys were after tea and coffee (we also made them bacon sandwiches). The pub didn’t open until midday, this meant we had plenty of time to stock up and get prepared for the day and in between this we even got a quick bounce on the bouncy castle and to dress up as fire fighters and run around the car park!
Most of the day was steady and easily managed between four of us, it was a constant flow of customers and most of our regulars were down enjoying themselves. Around 4/5pm is when it all went horribly wrong, hours blurred into minutes, minutes blurred into seconds and there were cups, alcohol and money everywhere. Honestly time flew by and none of us had a chance to breath let alone stop. You couldn’t move inside the pub, in the garden or even in the carpark. It wasn’t until around 10/11 that it started to settle down and we each got a chance to have a breather before we were cleaning cups, bringing in barrels and trying to peel our flip flops from our feet.
Bex and I were still on a mission to keep serving even when they had drunk the bar dry about four times over we kept going. The gin had all gone we had no vodka we had no coke or lemonade, by the end people were doing shots of rum and archers or mixing it with pineapple juice as it was all we had left other than a few of our lagers and the Guinness.
It stared to slow down and we only had a few regulars in, as we finished packing away all we could manage I heard a clunk outside and as I dashed out without a second thought a couple of excitable blokes had broken into the outside bar and were pouring themselves a pint of Guinness each. One managed to dash off leaving the pint behind but the other stopped like a rabbit in the headlights spilling half the pint down himself and proceeded to apologise profusely before leaving the pint and walking away with his head hung in shame.
Bex and I kept working until we couldn’t keep our eyes open anymore and we finally kicked out, locked up and headed to bed.
Sunday consisted of two things, shopping to stock up our incredibly empty bar and cleaning the entire pub before we opened.
We were all shattered after working very long hours Thursday Friday and Saturday, so Sunday was a total struggle. We all mucked in to sweep, mop, put all the glasses back behind the bar, clean and tidy. We just about had everything ready to open at midday!
Thankfully Sunday was a ‘normal’ day and most people were still recovering from Saturday to be out on Sunday.
Morris weekend is a crazy weekend in our little village, we honestly had a blast and I can’t thank the people of Thaxted more. Bring on next year is all I have left to say.