I had a near miss this weekend. My day job (i.e. the one that tends to keep most of the bills at bay) is at the rather splendid Quarryman pub, just outside Wadebridge in the People’s Republic of North Cornwall. I normally do the daytime shift on a Saturday, and would have been cheerfully welcoming the first serious visitor rush of the season for the Bank Holiday weekend, but a previous engagement dragged me away for the morning. Fortuitously, as it happens.
For this was the day the morris dancers came. I should state at the outset that the particular group of morris dancers who come to our pub a couple of times a year are an especially polite, friendly bunch who do their business swiftly, enjoy a quick pint and then amble off to their next destination without leaving too much mess behind. In short, they are absolutely no trouble to anyone. Except me.
I have an irrational fear of morris dancers. It must in some way be related to coulrophobia, the fear of clowns, but I haven’t found the correct term for it yet. I can’t exactly put my finger on what the problem is (apart from the obvious grand scale lunacy of the whole thing, of course) but there is definitely something about the stick-wielding, bladder-swinging, foliage-adorned extravaganza that causes the nightmares and the cold sweats. It may be the bells, it may be the beards – either way, I’m nowhere near my comfort zone.
Is it worse than my persistent Gideophobia? (Probably not, but put George Osborne into a morris dancing troupe and I may end up with a whole bunch of issues previously unknown to medical science.) Perhaps I should embrace my fears, sign up to the local morris dancing group and dive in headlong, pewter ale pot attached to my waist like a holster. Then again, perhaps not.
I don’t know what’s the matter with me really. I just thought I’d share all that nonsense with you…