Makers Social

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Maker Socials are social evenings hosted on the last Thursday of each month, and are an opportunity to meet other people without worrying so much about getting in the way of their hacking. The Social evening is focused on a buffet hosted in Cakespace. Although some food is provided at Makespace's expense, makers are welcome to bring in their own contributions if they see fit.


There's normally some discussion of the social on the google group. If you want to run the buffet you are best advised to

  • Keep an eye out for competing activities, such as a beer fest
  • Read this guide, all of it, first.
  • Post to the group offering to run the buffet
  • ... preferably a couple of days in advance to see if anyone objects.
  • Arrange to see Mark Wainwright to discuss spending limits.

If after all this you're still running the buffet, Hurrah!


Aiming to feed about a dozen people to the level of a small meal normally does the job quite nicely. Please remember that there will most likely be vegetarians in attendance.

Never be afraid to pass off special offers as divine inspiration (Unless it's Corona.)

The typical menu for the last few months has been:

  • A selection of fruit juices. Supermarkets tend to have at least one (own?)brand on a three-for-two or similar offer: Be inspired
  • Circular savoury things with farinaceous bases
    • A vegetarian quiche or similar
    • A meat-eaters quiche or similar
    • A couple of vegetarian pizzas
    • A couple of meat-eaters pizzas
  • Some packs of party nibbles (Savoury Eggs, Mini Sausage Rolls, etc.), half of which should be veggie.
  • Dips
    • Coleslaw (Supermarket own brand)
    • Potato Salad (See above)
    • Tomatoish Tortilla chip dip.
  • One or two BIG bags of Tortilla chips.
  • Vegetables chopped up into finger food.
    • Cherry Tomatoes (300g punnet does well enough.)
    • Cucumber (One's enough)
    • Bag of carrot batons
    • Grapes
  • A few cook-at-home baguettes (perhaps including garlic bread)
  • A selection of cheeses, (three or four.)
  • Three or four varieties of biscuit/cracker to go with the cheese
  • Butter
  • Some sort of cake (this is commonly also brought by attendees).

This is simply experience from running the social for a few months, experiments and refinements are welcome!


Makespace is normally a dry zone, explicit permission must be sought from the directors before alcohol is consumed; start working on this a few days before the social. The rules require that

  • Tools or tagged equipment MUST NOT be used by people who have been drinking.
  • Only alcohol provided by the organiser can be consumed
  • It must be made clear that alcohol is only allowed on rare occasions.
  • At the end of the evening, any unused alcohol must be gathered and either
    • Taken off site,
    • Stored securely
    • Explicitly marked "For Social Nights Only." (In practice most people have finished by 23:00, so making this a formal end time is reasonable.)

Before buying any alcohol check with Mark to see if there is any stored in the office from the previous social. Following a period of consultation and experimentation, it is recommended that a white wine and selection of reasonable Real Ales is offered. If you need guidance ask Mat Cook, and a certain supermarket is currently offering a "Four for six quid" deal, which keeps the cost down and Every Little Helps (Hint Hint) The same consultation period also concluded that there are certain beers that are not acceptable even if they are on special offer.


You should be able to find enough for a reasonable spread at any major supermarket, expect to spend an hour or so dragging trolley around.


I've got away with setting up at about 19:30 without anyone grumbling, infact most people don't turn up until 20:15 ish. Advantages to setting up from 19:30 is that parking is easier, and you don't have to leave work early in order to get involved. If you're running the Buffet you should expect to be there till about mid-night.


The buffet is normally set up on the table in Cakespace; it could be set up on the counter overlooking the main space, but the table gives people something to cluster around. (Perhaps someone wants to run a "Show And Tell" where people set up projects on the table sometime?) Moving it to the Classroom to give room for more people, particularly if combined with a show-and-tell, has also been suggested.

Have the drinks at the Fridge end of the table. Cake quite nicely goes next top that if there is any. There are a couple of "Doughnut Shaped" serving dishes with different compartments which are good for the veg, and crackers. They can go on next. After this it should just flow.

Clear Away

Opened perishables (Cheese, Fruit juice etc) goes into a fridge in the fond hope that it will find sympathetic disposal. (We have starving artists for that kind of thing.) It's worth checking to see if there's anything going mouldy after a previous social, and deal with it. (On one occasion a potato salad started working on its own project.) Surplus Alcohol must be kept under control, this includes "perishable" wine. Best options for wine are either pour it down the drain or take it home for your own use, and haggle the bottle cost when filing the expenses receipt.