It didn't seem long ago that I was reading about all the pubs closing in the UK . I seem to recall 16 closures a week being bandied around .Business rates, higher alcohol duties, minimum wage increases and a poor economy all played their part in the demise.
But now we hear the opposite and 6 a week are reopening or being created. The increase is primarily in England and the change of fortune can mostly be attributed to pub companies like Wetherspoons rather that individuals trying to make a living. Some country pubs have been rescued by their villages who have created a community pub and a few individuals have taken the brave decision to take on a challenge - possibly not always being aware of the skills involved to make it a successful proposition.
More and more pubs are offering accommodation as well as better food and weekday events such as quizzes and curry nights. All pubs are having to be more versatile and think outside the box in order to remain an attractive proposition for all the family. So good news all round.
It was only recently that we entertained a group of 12 Americans who simply fell in love with the the quaint and quirky local pubs around the Oxford area. We need to recognise that, in the UK, we have created this unique environment which we should all support wherever possible.
I cannot believe that Vera Lynn, the forces sweetheart, is 102. Despite her age she seems to have lost nothing of her fighting spirit having successfully fought off an attempt by a Gin producer to use her name on the gin without her permission. Although Vera Lynn is rhyming slang for Gin she opposed the application on the grounds of "passing off and bad faith". Well done Vera - you need never meet them again !!