ALE Summer 2003 No. 311


Got something to say? Then say it here! Write to the editor. Contributions may be edited for publication.

Village pubs: who wants them? (continued)

Yes, I know I said no more about the Green Man, but I thought it only fair to let Mr Ward have a chance to reply to some of the criticism made of him in the last issue. But now this topic really is closed - Ed.
[ Original letter - Follow-up 1 - Follow-up 2 ]

Dear Steve,
Only two ripostes to my Thriplow diatribe! I was gutted my attack didn't elicit a better result. Ah well, such is village apathy. Two of the published letters gave the impression that the village supported the pub and that I frightened them off. Not so. Historically the village were poor supporters of The Green Man under Charles Wells's ownership, hence their decision to close it, the village's continued absence after I bought it was all too evident and since July 2001 in new owner's hands, guess what, no change!

Naturally I never expected floods of local people through the door when so few live here but I didn't dream of being in a position of having to re-finance during the first months and then having to take a full-time job at the end of the first year to level with the bank. Your two letters from Messrs Easthope and Millgate make references to other publican's success by various contributions to village life. I also quote Mr Easthope's phrase about my "declining to take part in village life". This is a complete mystery as in my eleven years here I have seen no evidence of life in this dormitory place whatsoever with the sole exception of the annual Daffodil Weekend, a charitable affair to which the pub made contributions for the first few years before refusing for reasons of poor attendance.

Having always been a beer lover I was understandably thrilled when Cambridge and District Branch of CAMRA awarded me Cambridgeshire Rural Pub of the Year 1998. For the first time in years I felt so proud that I'd actually achieved something with the pub besides financial ruin. Mr Millgate snipes about my refusal to dispense beer that wasn't correct and the consequent cessation of business with the supplier. I have never knowingly served anything that wasn't correct (hence the CAMRA recognition presumably Mr Millgate) and who, I wonder, would continue business with a supplier who badly let them down? Mr Millgate also alludes to my putting up notices insulting the village such as "Thriplow, you liars" which is entirely accurate (there were many others), but after seven years of running a village pub with virtually no local interest, well, who wouldn't? Irresistible when one was made so aware of the number of residents who allegedly signed a petition to save it!

The majority of pubs in rural areas are no longer vital amenities. This matter has been discussed by government ministers at length in the last few years and they are, by and large, in agreement with this statement. Closure of pubs is inevitable particularly in cash-poor areas and with the local shop here now gone I predict we'll see The Green Man under the spotlight before long. Then I would dearly like to see, as Mr Easthope states, "the village buying the pub to ensure its continuation". Even if they did come up with the dosh what exactly would Thriplow do with such a useless relic? Maybe an estate agency would suit.

Roger Ward

The Brown Stuff

[ The Brown Stuff: Biting the Hand That Feeds You! ]

Dear Sir,
I do not usually bother replying to articles, but after reading Jerry Brown's I felt I must put pen to paper and give a landlord's view.

He calls the licensing laws antiquated; true, but they are still the law and many police forces around the country are still keen to prosecute for late drinking. He has probably never heard of the 11 o'clock syndrome: this is when as soon as the time bell has rung people stop drinking and just sit and talk, the half-full glass is moved around and up to the lips but is not drunk. If he objects so strongly to being hurried then why does he not go to the pub early: then he will not have that problem. Please spare a thought for the landlord who has probably been working since 8 o'clock in the morning and just wants to go to bed.

How many times have we heard "the amount I spend in this pub I should be able to do as I like"? Wrong! There are rules the same as anywhere and it makes no difference if you spend 5 or 50, the rules still apply.

K Broughton
The Sun, Waterbeach

Cambridge Beer Festival

Dear Steve,
After many years of being just a customer at the Cambridge Beer Festival, this year I decided to put something back and volunteer to work. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed it, and I will definitely be back to help next year.

I was also amazed at how much unseen effort goes into setting up and running the event, and I have nothing but admiration for all those involved in organising it.

Mark Watch

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