Community Spirit – Episode 38

PLANS for the fête are going well. We’ll start setting up at nine and the stalls will open from twelve.” Pamela beamed at the Evensong crowd who had gathered for their weekly meeting on Nate’s progress to save the Mucklebury Arms.

“I’ve decided to go for a ‘Taste Of Britain’ theme,” Nate explained, “with a good range of local beers and some specialist bitters and pale ales from around the UK.”

“Can’t wait to try them,” the major put in. “Maybe a little preview evening might be in order?” Arthur suggested.

Nate smiled.

“I’m not sure they’ll arrive before Saturday, but if they do you’ll be the first to know.”

“And you’ll sure there will be no-one drinking too much?” Miss Grace asked.

“I’ll be there to make sure they don’t,” Nate assured her.

“I’m sure it will be more of an event for the beer enthusiast,” Pamela added.

“I’d better spend the week getting this place to shine,” Nate said, “if I’m to impress on everyone at the fête that the Mucklebury Arms is back in business.”

“You’ve already done so much,” Meredith Jarvis said.

“Don’t push yourself too hard,” her husband, Frank, added.

“Don’t worry, Reverend, I’m not afraid of hard work.”

True to his word, Nate was up early that Monday to repair the cracks in the outside render.

After the lunchtime rush, and once he had settled the chess club in for the afternoon, he checked the filler was dry before painting over his handiwork.

Standing on the green, he admired the smooth render. The only problem was the white paint showed up how badly the rest of the pub needed painted.

“Bother,” he said to himself.

“Trouble?” Arthur asked, appearing at his elbow.

“Not really,” Nate replied. “I was just thinking there’s no way I’ll have time or the equipment to paint the rest of the pub before the fête.”

“Is that in your remit?” Arthur asked. “I may be wrong, but I think you take on a bit too much, eh? Even if it’s a lost cause?”

“You think the Mucklebury Arms is a lost cause?”

Arthur shrugged.

“Not that I’d admit it to anyone else in the village, and you’ve done a sterling job trying to save it, but there doesn’t seem to be the will behind you. From the brewery, I mean. Where’s the investment? Where are the renovators? It’s too much for one man to do by himself.”

“Arthur, I’m fine.” Nate placed a hand on Arthur’s forearm. “This is my job and – dare I say it – this is what I’m good at.”

Arthur shook his head and turned away.

“It’s too much to ask,” he said sadly, moving off across the green.


Alison Cook