Sunday, 22 November 2009

My Woods End manifesto: boots as well as boats

THE LEASE for the Woods End pub in Bramerton is up for sale - £55,000 makes it yours according to an article this weekend in the Evening News. It's a big old pub with a proud history. A hundred-odd years ago there were "pleasure gardens" behind the building which were "justly celebrated for their rustic elegance" according to one Victorian author.
It survives on its location. It's simply screams "swift pint" as you travel down river by boat. But I think good locations can make landlords lazy. Current leaseholder Martin Wormell told the paper that he relied on summer trade because "there are very few locals". Well up to a point. My request for the new owners is to think about boots as well as boats. Anyone setting off early to walk the Wherryman's Way from Norwich or Whitlingham gets to the Woods End at about 10am gasping for cup of tea. What they get at that time is a closed pub.
For me the successful boozers are the ones that go and search out their customers. Ask Sonia at the Surlingham Ferry House for example who opens up specially for walking groups. Or Simon at the White Horse in Chedgrave, who put on a great kiddy-friendly fireworks display the other week. Us customers are still out there you know. You just have to work a little harder to get us through the door.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Open Day at Hardley Mill

SOMETIMES God has a wicked sense of humour. After months of delays Hardley Mill is holding an open day tomorrow to demonstrate the sails on the windmill working properly again. You might recall from previous posts that the mill has been painstakingly restored over many years, with the sails returning during the summer. Those sails turned for the first time back on October 9th, but this open day was to be the first chance for the wider public to see everything go round. "Hopefully there will be some wind and the mill will be operating," wrote Hardley's website man Richard Rockley a few weeks ago. Well yes, this weekend's storms means there should be plenty of wind. Perhaps rather more than the old girl can handle. Shuttle buses run from Langley and Hardley Village Hall from midday.