In recent times, personnel changed and things dipped. Last May, however, Neil Clemence and Michelle Hoyland (who had been at the pub during its "glory years") took on the tenancy with a consequent upward swing in the pub's fortunes. We wrote, in ALE 317, about the excellent job Neil and Michelle have done at The Queens Head Harston and they're staying there to keep up the good work. They've employed Peter Adams, formerly of The Rose Stapleford, to manage The Navigator and he started in November.

The new team has got big plans for this characterful village inn. Obviously they want to regain the pub's reputation for excellent food and will continue to concentrate on Thai cuisine - acknowledging that there is now a lot more competition in this arena. The menu is being relaunched and will include a range of offers, such as "Try Thai" on Monday evenings. For this, starters are only £2.50 and main meals £5.50, the idea being that people are likely to be more adventurous in their choices if they're not paying normal full price.

However, what is particular music to CAMRA ears is the team's determination that The Navigator will be a proper community local selling well-kept real ales. Whereas in the past food totally dominated, the "top half" of the pub will now be primarily for drinking and the social joys which go with it. At present Greene King IPA and a guest beer (Belhaven 80 Shilling on my visit) are on offer but this may increase if demand can guarantee quality.

Other plans include community-oriented events like barbecues and family days, a revamp of the garden including a heated patio and redesign of the bar-back area. There will be live jazz every 6 to 8 weeks.

The Navigator has an attractive, quirky interior with lots of nooks and crannies, a low beamed ceiling, panelled walls and exposed brickwork; it has the sort of cosiness that you only get in an old village pub.

Finally, congratulations to Neil and Michelle on their "special delivery" over Christmas.