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Bakers Arms & The Morris Men, 12th August 2008

North Cotswold Branch of the Campaign for Real Ale


  A fun night was had by all North Cotswold CAMRA members who turned up at the Bakers Arms, Broad Campden, one of the Branch’s favourite pubs, to enjoy an evening with the Gloucestershire Morris Men. A few of us turned up early to sample some of landlady Sally’s good value home cooking and reserve a table in the corner. Goffs Tournament was a very suitable choice to go with our main course but just as our desserts were about to arrive the jingle of bells outside in the car park indicated that the Morris Dancing was about to start. Glos. Morris were joined by Chipping Campden Morris for the evening and they seemed to revel in each others company as the dancing became more passionate and the sticks crashed together more loudly as the squeeze boxes struggled to be heard above the noise and the ‘Black Horse’ circled them all.


   We noticed how young some of the dancers were, surely a good sign for the future of this traditional British past-time. It was time for a refill of Landlord Ray’s well kept ales and next to be tried were Purity Gold, Donnington BB and Wells Bombardier. By now the dancing was well underway. Were they ever going to stop ?  Even a spot of rain did not deter them. However by 9.15 it started to get a bit dark, the dancing stopped and there seemed to be a sudden rush for the bar and whatever seating was available.


  We were well established by now and to a man (and woman) had started on what we consider Ray’s star beer, the wonderful Stanney Bitter from Stanway Brewery. If we then thought we were in for a quiet evening we were wrong, for almost immediately the Morris Men set sail into one song after another. It was truly magical watching them perform their full range of traditional folk songs and monologues, turned out in their colourful red and white costumes and unusual headwear. ‘Rambling in the New Mown Hay’, ‘Jovial Crew’, ‘Side by Side’ (rude version), and ‘Lord of the Dance’ were just a few numbers from their apparently spontaneous repertoire. The musicianship was superb with some very expert accordion players, not to mention all the percussion accompaniment. As one member remarked – it was more entertaining than watching the telly !


  However all good things must come to an end and having said our thanks and goodbyes at a somewhat late hour, we left to go home with the sound of music still coming from the pub. Many thanks again to the Gloucestershire Morris Men and Chipping Campden Morris Men for providing us with such an entertaining evening, helped by the five real ales from Ray’s cellar.


Report by Peter White