In my village we have three pubs and a shop. We love our local services but times do change and things do sometimes need to move on. And for some, change is hard to handle.
But without change we would have no history and our village has some history too. The Church was built in the 12th Century and The Cock pub which stands opposite still has a tunnel to the crypt across the road. Here plague-ridden bodies were transported for storage on their journey to the aptly named Deadman’s Ash Lane where they were burned.
I like The Cock, but it’s ½ mile from my house. My local, what was “The Cricketers”, was a sticky floored country pub with average ale and cold outside toilets when I moved here. Every Wednesday, up to 1,000 impeccably behaved bikers would gather there in the summer for a Barby. Then it was refurbished to become “Blubeckers” and the bike meets stopped. Three dark years that lasted until a new owner ripped the whole thing apart, renamed it “The Cricketers” but made it a gastropub and put beer-battered cod and linguini on the menu. They sell more organic Sauvignon now than lager tops and it’s always full on a Bank Holiday and many of its older regulars think Linguini is a kind of back pain. Or is that Lumbago.
But the shop has now joined the timeline that is our village. Threatened with closure, the villagers have struck out and bought in. It’s now community-owned and undergoing its own metamorphosis. Shop 1.0 was a truly village affair. You could buy local organic farm eggs with straw on, and newspapers were delivered by hand and paid for on tick. But when the cash till was stolen for the third time and they tried to put up the price of Sherry things had to change.
Shop 2.0 is, after extensive consultation, emerging as something of a hybrid. I’m not sure how many villagers actually need Parmesan or Cayenne Pepper and putting out croissants is fine on day one but at three days old they do loose, well, a certain something. But it’s a brave thing that we do trying to cater for all tastes at The Shop and although I never bought any they have steadfastly retained the Lambrini on the stock list.
Change comes slowly and improvement usually slower and it often takes several attempts to get it right. Thus I take heart in the fact that I now run slower than I did this time two years ago. I’m just fine tuning.