Adventures in Academia

Part Six: Stirchley Shenanigans Two: Morries Mayhem
The allure of a Morries breakfast draws me back into Stirchley.
04 March 2022
A picture of the breakfast table at Morries. I sit at the back spreading butter on my toast; an avocado and two tomatoes can be seen on my plate. In front of me is a strong cup of tea. In front of that is another plate with toast, sausages and beans on it.

Barely a week had passed since I had last ventured into Stirchley, and I had not seen a reason to go there again. There was still nobody around so we hadn't gone to sample to local bars, and more than one fish and chips in one week is something I'm not brave enough to do. This had the fortunate side effect of me actually doing some work for once, and I researched at least one thing. But this was all about to change...

Unlike me, Todd had been wasting his time on Twitter, a platform he occasionally uses to make tweets about Labour that nobody reads. However, what he found today was nothing to do with centre-left socialism. In fact, it was something drawn from the depths of capitalist manipulation: Morries were doing half price breakfasts. The reason? Nobody could tell, but it seemed like a deal too good to be true. But it had to be true, as the Advertising Standards Authority and, perhaps more crucially, the Twitter Terms of Service, gives them a legal incentive not to lie! There was no doubt about it: the breakfasts were real.

A quite blurry picture of a breakfast from Morries: the words HALF PRICE are printed at the top, as is '£4.25' with a strikethrough and a larger '£2.12' above the text 'Big Breakfast'

A similar deal I found on google images; it might not be the same one

And so, a deal was made:

A screenshot of a Tweet by Todd, reading: 'We must venture to Morries'

I pondered this deal for a few seconds, wondering if a Friday morning was really suitable for such an outlandish excursion. I then concluded that, yes, of course it was, and it would provide a good amount of protein to bolster my weak bones in addition to my recommended daily amount of calories in one meal. The strength I would possess would be unmatched in Stirchley, except perhaps for Todd who would probably have what I was having but with more sausages, a notorious source of protein!

The day rolled around and I woke early. Although I would normally have begun my day by consuming a bowl of quite expensive crunchy nut cornflakes, today this was not necessary, as I would soon be fuelled by supermarket grease. Instead, I mounted my bicycle and headed up the hill to Raddlebarn and then down the other side. Within moments I had arrived at Morries. But Todd was nowhere to be seen! Would I have to have a mildly tragic solo breakfast?

It was later revealed to me that upon waking, Todd had immediately disabled his alarm and returned to his slumber, a classic blunder! Luckily, unlike him, his subconscious had not forgotten his appointment and he reawoke some minutes later. Time was short, but he had recovered Noam's bike from his old house and could now use it to traverse the half a mile between his house and Morries. He arrived minutes after I did, and promptly retold the story to me. Suddenly he realised that in his haste he forgotten to put gloves on, and now his hands had become slightly chilly. I of course had not needed any gloves for my longer ride, as I'm a) not a wuss and b) descended from folk of far more northern origin than Congleton.

Before entering Morries, it was of course essential to lock our bicycles, as otherwise we might not possess them for very much longer. As Todd did his locking, I smugly told him that if he didn't put his D lock through his back wheel it would be stolen instantly, as 'the back one is the valuable one'. Todd ignored this helpful advice and put the D lock through the middle of his frame anyway.

We strode determinedly into Morries and immediately sought out the cafe, which was not far from the entrance. I stopped to examine the menu, making sure that the deal was actually on and we would not be charged an extortionate price. I also took a little while to decide whether I wanted a veggie breakfast or a reggie breakfast. Traditionally, I am a veggie breakfast man as it normally means you get more hash browns and you get to avoid the dubious 'meat' in the supermarket sausages. I saw no reason for today to be any different, and fortunately the veggie one was also in the half price deal!

Todd cared not for this bureaucracy and had already made for the counter post-haste. In his eagerness to chomp, he had gone ahead and ordered breakfasts for both of us! But he had made a fatal error: he didn't get me a veggie one! I lunged across the thoroughfare yelling NO at the top of my voice and got to the counter just before the lady tapped it into the machine. Once again my lightning fast reflexes had saved the day.

A picture of the Morries cafe: in the bottom right corner is a caption: 'PHOTO: EMMA STOKES'. Behind a row of glass panes in an assortment of tables: some with normal chairs and some with sofa benches.

The Morries cafe

The lady then asked where we were sitting. This caught us off guard, as traditionally in a Morries you get a little sign to put on your table so they can see where you are. But it appeared that we were actually operating in the opposite category of supermarkets, Co-op. But to obtain a table we would have to leave our hard-earned positions in the queue and scout out a good table, and hope nobody stole it when we went back to the queue to go and pay for our food! We then had a genius idea that Todd could go and sit at the table while I paid for my food, thus saving us a place in the queue and also managing to get us a table that I could sort of point at from the other side of the room. Such intellect and precision clearly demonstrates how we reached our positions as esteemed research students.

As always, I ordered a tea with my breakfast, expecting to receive a pleasant if somewhat chipped pot with a few teabags in it. But progress marches on, and the lady motioned at a big crate with a load of mugs in it. Apparently in today's labour-free society, the onus of brewing one's tea is now on the customer, using one of these new-fangled self-serve machines. Mildly bemused, I picked up a mug but the lady instantly snatched it out of my hands and told me it was dirty. I remarked as to how it was curious that it was in the 'clean mugs' crate but I never found out how it got there. Instead I had to reach in again and get another mug, which I still observed was a bit scuffed but I didn't care and either the lady didn't either or she really hated me now because I had joked about the cleanliness of her crockery.

With my cup in hand, I wanderered over to the machine. I would generally consider myself to be a fairly tech-savvy person, and I was sure that I would be able to figure this one out too. I put my mug in the spot where the water would come out, and then I looked for the teabags. But I couldn't find any, because there weren't any! I went back over to the lady to ask for some more and she went to get some. When she came over with the box she gave me one to put in my mug and I said thank you. Then she gave me another one saying I could make it a strong one. I didn't really want to have two teabags in my cup of tea as this would make it quite strong, more so than I wanted, but I didn't want to disappoint the lady so I smiled back and put it in my mug.

It was time to brew. I pressed the button labelled 'hot water', expecting a steady stream of water to fall into my mug. And indeed it did, for a second, before stopping abruptly. I looked into the mug in the hope that this might be enough for my tea, but it barely covered the bottom. I pushed the button again and nothing happened, but just as I removed my finger there was a fraction of a second where the water flowed again, but because I had removed my finger from the button it stopped again, actually performing its duties correctly in this scenario. So I then had to push the button again and the water flowed for a bit more. Repeating this process several more times, I eventually ended up with a full cup of tea. Success!

Grabbing some cutlery along the way, I went to the table that Todd had so expertly commandeered for us. It was now that I discovered that he had chosen one of the few tables along the windows in which one side of the table did not actually get a window view but a view of one of the pillars supporting the roof. I made a remark about this and Todd pretended to make a song and dance of going to find a new table but I stubbornly remained at the original table, intent on making Todd live through my rage. I would have the last laugh.

A google street view picture of the side of Morries, showing one of the windows to the cafe

The window at which we sat. Me not pictured, although I wouldn't be anyway since I didn't have a window seat.

In a short while, our brekkies arrived and we could now dig in. I then discovered that a great betrayal had occurred. Not only did I only have one hash brown, but my breakfast had also come equipped with half an avocado. How had Morries sunk to these depths? I realised that had I actually read the contents of the breakfasts when I had so dutifully studied the menu, I would have been prepared for this, but there was nothing that could be done now. I opted to be the bigger man and took a small bite out of the avocado. Predictably, it was disgusting, but somewhat less predictably, it was also ice cold, as if they had taken it out of the freezer and whacked it in the microwave for ten seconds, but the microwave also hadn't been plugged in and had been placed inside the same freezer that the avocado had been taken from in the first place. I left the avocado to the side of the plate and glared at it every now and again.

To help cleanse my palate, I took a swig of tea, and promptly gagged as the bitterest, most tannin-infused tea I have ever tasted washed down my throat. It turned out that the tuple of teabags had been an even more foolish idea than I had first anticipated, and as such my tea was near undrinkable. Of course, I made no sign of this and continued to drink the tea as normal, refusing to admit to Todd that my tea was slightly too strong.

The remainder of the meal passed without issue, and I even managed to spread my butter on the toast without it getting stuck. Clearly, there had been too many avocados crammed into the freezer so they hadn't been able to fit the butter in too. Todd's breakfast went without any problems, or at least if there were any he didn't tell me. Perhaps he was intending to keep them for his own copycat blog series: it probably won't be as good as this one.

With our meals (except my avocado) consumed, we stood and left Morries without further ado. Infuriatingly, Todd's back wheel was exactly where we'd left it.