Category: Pubs

Watchet 1940s Weekend


The clocks go back at the weekend to the 1940s.

The bunting has been sewn, plans have been made, props have been built, dresses have been bought, menus selected and panic has taken over!

The 13th, 14th and 15th September will see Watchet invaded by large groups of re-enactors. As part of the West Somerset Railway ’40s Weekend, Watchet once again goes all out to re-create a 1940s town. Shops and businesses will have bomb taped windows, shop windows will be dressed, cafes and pubs will serve 40s fare.

The air raid sirens will sound and the trains will carry military hardware.


Friday sees the invasion of 140 evacuees! They will arrive by train and be taken to the Methodist hall where they will be allocated their families. Receive a lunch of spam sandwiches and cake and their allotted sweet ration.

In the Boat Museum, music from Betty Bluebird will be part of the evening celebration.


The arrival of the re-enactors from all over the country  will see Watchet’s population explode! Saturday has a full program of entertainment on the Esplanade, with Brass bands, community choir, stalls, 40s singing groups and individuals. Military vehicles and personnel moving around the town. Tea shops filled with cake and pubs with liver and onions!!!


Uniformed personnel will attend a church service on Sunday morning at the war memorial this will start the day rightly remembering those who gave their lives for our freedom. Then the music will begin once again on the esplanade, time for dancing and having fun. Drinking tea, eating cake and enjoying the afternoon sun (which has been booked!)until we can do no more.

By 5 o’clock we’ll all be full of cake, feet will ache, heads will be pounding and we’ll ll be totally exhausted!! Don’t forget……………….


Shanty Singing Virgin!


So, last night I went into Watchet to Pebbles Tavern. Where I had my very first experience of Watchet Shanty Singing. As a shanty virgin, I was horrified to discover that the singing wasn’t just a spectator event, but a participation one!

Ably led by David Milton, Watchet’s Common Crier and Bell Man the audience sang along to his opening number. Then the floor was open for those around to sing their favorite shanty with or without the participation of the swelling numbers in the Tavern.

And then the unthinkable…….my turn!

Now, I spend all my day in the Visitor Centre which is attached to the Boat Museum and If you’ve visited recently you will know that I listen to shanty singing all day long. But guess what, I couldn’t think of one single shanty that I could sing!!

But then it came to me the most irritating shanty ever….

I heard, I heard the old man say, hey
John kanaka kanaka tura yay,
Today is a holiday
John kanaka kanaka tura yay,
Tura yay, oh, tura yay,
John kanaka kanaka tura yay,
We’ll work tomorrow, but not today
John kanaka kanaka tura yay,
We’ll work tomorrow, but not today
John kanaka kanaka tura yay,
Tura yay, oh, tura yay,
We’re bout aaway from frisko bay


Why is it the most irritating I hear you say?

Because that’s the one the Boat Museum CD player gets stuck on!

If you’d like to experience a Watchet Shanty night the next one in Pebbles Tavern is 20th August. Or check out their web page