STOP me if you’ve heard this one before, but welcome to the new guys at The New Inn at Rockland St Mary. Yes, yes I know there have been a few, but Mick and Paula Walker are pukka leaseholders and so should bring this Wherryman’s Way pub some much needed stability after a stop-start year. It’s a point not lost on Mick who thrusts a leaflet into my hand which says “we want to build on the hard work of the temporary managers and continue to put The New Inn back at the heart of the neighbourhood”. And who would want to take over a seasonal pub at the end of the season? Well this couple certainly make a virtue of it, explaining that it will give them time to talk to the locals, before they start dealing with the very different needs of summer tourists. In fact their first priority is to ask local people for their suggestions. (So email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts.)
Former management consultant Mick and nurse Paula both look very much at home behind the bar, so it’s something of a surprise to learn that they are first-timers, although they did spend five years in Ireland running a backpackers hostel/guesthouse. They first opened these doors on Thursday and will start serving food on Tuesday – Head Chef Robert is an integral part of their plans. A proper espresso machine for decent coffee and that new necessity wi-fi, should follow very soon. And it will certainly be a pub-full because three children will live here plus Spike the Yorkie and Milo the cat.
I was sorry to see the Walkers’ predecessors Alix and John go, and you can understand a certain amount of “here-we-go-again” cynicism from the average Rockland drinker, but Mick and Paula certainly talk a very good – and friendly - game. If we can help them through their first winter, they might just hang around for an awful lot longer. And that has to be good for the village, the tourists and those Wherryman’s Way walkers.
See Mick and Paula’s website here: