Greetings from a campervan parked up in the suburbs of Dereham.

I’ve just visited 4 more pubs in Dereham (does a curry house count?), taking me to 40 since pubs returned on the 4th.

Here’s that list of the first 36.

Yesterday I failed to go to a pub, and have voluntarily referred myself to “Teetotalers Anonymous”.

Yes, it’s my fault pubs are dying.

Because, although pubs are as good as they’ve ever been, spotless and with reduced beer range, they’re too quiet.

Premium on that Landlord

36 pub visits. Barely a duffer. Friendly staff. Only one where I felt even mildly uncomfortable.

Pubs are, unexpectedly, as good as they’ve ever been.

Sure, the gentlefolk diners are terrified to leave their house, even as average daily deaths drop below the numbers killed in road accidents. Their choice.

I’ve never felt as safe, or as welcomed, in pubs as I have in July.

Only a quarter of those 36 have been new GBG ticks, too.

Of course, life is different. Pub Curmudgeon sums up the new normal on his latest post.

I miss the old folk. They make pubs. Perhaps half price fish snd chips in August will bring them back.

But a month ago I didn’t know whether I’d ever see pubs again.

But they’re back, you know.


22 thoughts on “THE DAY I LET PUBS DIE

  1. Great post Martin, and encouraging news all round. That’s an impressive total that puts my measly four pubs visited to shame. In my defence, it’s difficult to fit pub visits around a busy and very demanding job, although even if I wasn’t still working, I don’t think I’d have the stamina to undertake even half your rather frantic schedule!

    One small gripe, I find the term “new normal” equally as irritating as “social distancing.” Both sound as if they’ve been conjured up by politicians and both are, in effect oxymorons.


    1. I agree on “new normal”. If honest, I’m quite enjoying the new cleaner pubs with less standing. I don’t like close contact anyway.

      Don’t feel bad about your pub visits, Paul, at least you’ve felt confident enough to go back straight away.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks, Martin. I’m interested to know which pubs you visited in Dereham, as I’ve been in a few of them myself over the years.

        That number doesn’t include the Cherry Tree, which I believe is on one of CAMRA’s Heritage Pub lists. I’ve walked past it a few times though, when taking advantage of that massive free carpark in the town centre.


      2. The Cock (was Spanish restaurant) which is a future GBG cert, the Spoons and the Red Lion (craft union).

        The Royal Standard was closed, Bull too foody and Charles scared me off the Cherry Tree!

        Good beer and enough trade, though down on last year (particularly the enhanced Spoons). The retirees haven’t returned.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Must be a bittersweet feeling, having the pubs back open but then finding them partially deprived of the people, the customers, the very lifeblood that makes pubs what they are. Here’s hoping the older regulars will gradually return, given that it’s safe for them to do so.

    But as you said, there was a moment there when we feared that very nearly all pubs would have to close their doors as a result of all this. So I suppose it’s something to be grateful for, to whatever degree this pandemic hasn’t proven the complete end of pub culture in the UK. It is a shame though, to think of all the pubs that were struggling but not yet beaten, for whom this crisis has proven the last straw.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There aren’t many closures yet – and in Stafford it’s only the one without urinals – but the next several months might see many already borderline pubs lost, not only from many customers staying away but also from debts accrued since March.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I think we need to start worrying about the pubs that haven’t reopened by the end of July. The Nursery is reopening tomorrow.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. I feel more confident by the day, Mark.

      Our deaths are now down to below pre Lockdown levels and even without a vaccine (which I wish we wouldn’t talk up prematurely) I think will encourage the older diners back.

      I don’t want packed pubs anyway yet.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. I’ve only managed 8 different pubs( a couple with multiple visits) since the reopening, yes great they’re back , but it’s not the same yet, dare I say almost boring and lacking the atmosphere that makes a pub to me. I am also struggling with about 75% of the cask beer I’ve had, not necessarily in poor condition , but bland, even beers I know shouldn’t be, I guess I’ve destroyed my taste buds further over the last few months with weird and wonderful
    9.0% hop bombs in tins ?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think you’re drinking too many pale beers, Citra. Can’t you get Doom Bar in Hook?

      I know what you mean about boring, but I find the human aspects of pubgoing interesting and in Craft Union pubs its hard to see the change!

      Pop in the Wheatsheaf in Basingstoke for us and see what it feels like. Last time I went it was a dozen blokes my age standing at the bar.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And all the money I’ve saved since mid March I’ve set aside for sponsoring Martin walking the Donnington Way next year !

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve never been a fan of the Dereham Spoons (Romany Rye), but I’m pleased to know I’m not the only person who’s baulked over setting foot inside the Cherry Tree! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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