As Johnson said, a man who is bored of Norfolk has every right to be.

But I press on with Curry Charles, to a pub on the edge of dashing Dereham recently acquired by “the community”.

Here’s the legal paperwork…

Like micros, I’m rarely as impressed by community pubs as CAMRA. They often seem to be an investment by wealthy villagers looking for a return when their absence from the pub means it really has no future. Or villagers who want a nice restaurant rather than a nasty boozer.

But I can’t say that about the Ploughshare in Beeston, getting good and varied use on a Thursday evening.

A group of ladies drinking coffee and knitting, some old boys wandering around with pints, two blokes dithering over their beer choice when we were always going for the local Worth the Wait.

“You alright boys ?” asked the cheesiest of the old boys, looking for news of a murder in Great Fransham or UFO sighting in Swanton Morley.

We took the table by the rabbit, resisting the call of the living room designed explicitly to annoy old Codgers,

and silently admired the breadth of custom at a time most pubs would be shut.

“Living Next Door To Alice” came on, the clean one, and we thought it wouldn’t be TOO bad to live next door to the Ploughshare.

Though the lack of a Chinese takeaway would be a dealbreaker, I sense.


    1. Almost certainly not !

      I’d love to know if any beer has has a boost from a rebrand. Now, if they can get BRAPA to drink Abbot in the Skinners Arms as his last beer of the night, rather than ESB in the Parcel Yard….

      Liked by 1 person

      1. He can make it from the Parcel Yard to the correct platform. If his last pint was in the Skinners Arms he’d head into St. Pancras and wake up in Lille. And the UK has enough international incidents with the French already these days.

        Liked by 2 people

  1. Maybe my favorite of any opening sentence I’ve read on your blog! It certainly made me laugh.

    Interesting to see your thoughts on community pubs and what your predominant experience of them has been. Makes me wonder if there are cases where the group of people who banded together to save a pub ended up having different visions of what the new establishment was going to be. Easy to imagine a scenario where the pub purists among them could find themselves at odds with those who actually wanted something more like a restaurant.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There’ll be some people who think I’m referring to Boris Johnson, no doubt.

      Your second point is very good. The motivation for saving a village pub from conversion into housing will vary between wanting to limit the size of the village, wanting to replace a Proper Pub with a restaurant, and a genuine attempt to preserve a social facility. The Hare & Hounds in Harlton near Cambridge definitely is the latter, a few I’ve seen in posh Cotswolds villages more the second !

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Provided you can still walk in and just get a pint, I’d much rather have a gastro than the pub closing and being turned into housing. Keeping it as a Proper Pub would obviously be better, but a gastro pub is better than nothing.


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