Our beautiful village pub is once again up for grabs.

October 22, 2014


It’s been a tricky couple of days. Yesterday’s winds prevented us from going out to the cinema to see the very appealing movie ‘What We Did On Our Holiday’, which I really wanted to see and last night was, well, the last night. Maybe it will come round again in a couple of months. We like to go to the delightful small independent cinema in Aldeburgh, on the coast about ten miles east of home. This gorgeous little place has the air of an intimate movie club where it appears that all the movies are selected for you alone. If you happen to be in the area the list of films being shown over the next two months or so can be seen here: http://bit.ly/1rurg3B

But as I said, the storm winds blowing on the east coast were pretty threatening and our route takes us along too many tiny country lanes lined with some mighty trees that I’m sure wouldn’t hesitate to fall on us if we ventured out. And how stupid would we feel if we ended up dead for a movie? You don’t really have to answer that.

The other matter that made yesterday less than perfect was the news that our beautiful village pub, The Crown, has been put up for sale. It closed in August while we were holidaying in America. Devastated doesn’t quite do justice to how I felt, I don’t mind telling you. But sadly, I have to admit it was kind of inevitable.

It was bought just over a year ago by a guy who promised to be our salvation, and before that it was owned by an imbecile. But at least the imbecile kept it open for five years or more, despite a list of scandals and cock-ups that would make you gasp.

The current owner made a wonderful job of refurbishing the interior, including a Suffolk pamment floor, opening new fireplaces and furnishing throughout with beautiful antique tables and chairs. That’s his trade actually, antique furniture restoration. But sadly not a publican. He’s a well meaning guy with boundless enthusiasm for country pubs and real ale, but not for giving the customers what they want.

You can get frequent glimpses of the place on a new BBC4 sitcom shown on Thursday evenings called ‘Detectorists’, as the pub was chosen as one of the interior locations when filming began in the summer. We were all very pleased at the time. But now it’s all a bit mournful seeing our pub on TV as it used to be, filled with jolly customers (well, maybe jolly is pushing it a bit in this case. They are detectorists after all).

Anyway, after opening the pub last summer we found that he had no enthusiasm for selling food, essential in a rural pub, and only sold beer that he liked, most of it hoppy yellow stuff that tasted of kumquats. He refused to sell Guinness or any well known brand of lager or cider, which alienates half his potential customers at a stroke. So slowly trade drifted away while the owner ploughed on regardless, refusing to see the folly of his ways. Eventually he was left with no customers and common sense prevailed when he closed the doors after just one year of trading. Daft, really.

So now he’s trying to sell it for the ridiculous sum of £550,000, having bought it for £350,000 a year ago, and that was probably too much. I think the poor guy might have to take a loss. Ho hum.

Still, tomorrow my good friend and I may well venture off to find a local pub that’s open and discuss the meaning of life over a pint or two of Earl Soham Victoria. Lovely beer.


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