Community Spirit – Episode 48

TIME was running out for the pub and Nate suspected the news wouldn’t be good.

He’d been at the helm for five weeks now and sales were way up on where they had been, but he was convinced a food offer would give the pub the final boost it needed.

The daily community activities, and the revival of the darts and quiz teams, weren’t enough to ensure its survival.

Nate did his final checks as Pamela’s voice crackled over the Tannoy to open the fête officially. A cheer went up and the music resumed. The sun was shining as a light breeze blew and Nate felt utterly content.


Nate turned and smiled at Cally. She was followed by a tall man with a camera around his neck and a bag over his shoulder.

“This is Simon Blevins from the paper.”

“Hi, Simon from the ‘Echo’.” The man grinned, offering Nate a giant paw to shake. He had a Welsh accent and his voice had the sing-song lilt of a man with a powerful tenor.

“Nate Hopkins – we spoke on the phone,” Nate introduced himself, losing his hand inside the other man’s for a few seconds.

“We did indeed.” Simon grinned again. “Thank you for inviting me.”

“I didn’t know if you’d be here anyway to cover the fête,” Nate explained, “but I thought you might be interested in what’s been happening at the Mucklebury Arms.”

“This way I get to cover both, which is always a bonus. And take some snaps, too, if that’s OK?”

“You take the photos as well?” Nate asked.

“Cuts,” Simon replied sadly.

“They’re everywhere,” Nate sympathised. “Let me show you the stall, then I’ll get someone to cover for a while and I’ll show you around the pub.”

For the next half an hour Nate talked Simon through his aims for the Mucklebury Arms and showed him around the pub. For his part, the reporter took notes and snapped pictures with enthusiasm and really seemed to understand Nate’s point of view.

“I see you have some stiff competition, though,” Simon remarked as they came back to the stall, where Arthur and Frank had been standing in for Nate. He nodded towards Fergus.

“I seem to recall the paper doing a number of features on them over the last few months. They’re very active in terms of self-promotion.”

Nate saw Arthur and Frank look at each other, but neither commented.

“Many villages have supported two pubs or more for centuries. There’s room for us both in Much Mucklebury,” Nate said evenly.

Simon looked from Nate to Frank, then Arthur.

“Come on, there must be a certain amount of rivalry between the two of you? Who’s got the biggest beer garden? Who has the widest range of beers? Who does the best Sunday roast?”

Alison Cook