Dea Latis member, Joanna Dring, was recently asked to write the Guest Column in the brand new Bedfordshire newspaper, Bedford Midweek.
Here’s the column in full:
As if us Brits need an excuse to celebrate….Have you recovered from an over-exuberance of patriotic parties yet?
I’m quite sure that at some point over the weekend, the majority of you stepped foot in a pub. Perhaps you are a regular and knew the events the pub was laying on, or perhaps you haven’t been down your local for a few months but knew that at times of national celebration, there is no where quite like the pub.
Just like the Queen (WARNING – a tenuous link between pubs and Her Maj) pubs are always there for us. There is no other place that has quite the same atmosphere and is the focal point of the community. Pubs are a place where people come together to celebrate and I have seen over the last few months many pubs leading their community’s Jubilee celebrations. From beer festivals and street parties to live music and Queen quizzes – the Great British Pub has reigned supreme over this weekend, and got the nation partying.
I was in the White Horse on Newnham Avenue last week for their regular pub quiz and Nigel the landlord read out the list of Jubilee events they were holding. Events for the whole family and ones that would make the weekend extra special. This is no mean feat. This is utter dedication from a licensee who knows the importance his pub plays in the community and works tirelessly to create a welcoming, comfortable and relaxing environment, and a memorable weekend for all.
And Nigel’s not alone. It must have been two and a half months ago that I saw the Embankment pub was already advertising its Jubilee events – providing something special and different to their usual weekend activities.
The Horse And Jockey in Ravensden ensured a British-bonanza by theming their menus to all things British and hosting a BBQ for the community on the Tuesday.
I think it’s quite easy for people to forget the important role pubs play in their community – they can be taken for granted as always being there, a constant feature of your town or village. But the harsh reality is that pubs continue to close across the country – a sign of the continued pressure the challenging economic downturn is having on the nation.
This year is the perfect storm of patriotic events. We’ve had the Jubilee and now have the Olympics to look forward to. Add in EURO 2012 and Wimbledon, there is every excuse to get down the pub. And if sport’s not your thing, there are quizzes, live music, open mic nights, charity fundraisers, beer and food matching evenings….the list is endless.
So if you have neglected your local recently, why not find out what’s on and drop in?
They are a British institution – we need pubs and pubs need you.
On Monday evening I had ventured out of Bedford to visit a friend in Weston-Super-Mare where we saw the lighting of one of the 4,200 beacons for the Queen. Of course this was followed up by a pint of ale in the local as we watched the closing of the Jubilee concert. After Prince Charles had spoke there was a huge roar of cheers from the crowd and a round of applause. I heard one lady say: “They can’t hear us but I’m going to clap anyway – it feels like I’m there!”
Surrounded by people who were bursting with pride and joy, the atmosphere was electrifying.
And that for me sums up why pubs are so great – there’s no place like ’em.
This column first appeared in Bedford Midweek on Thursday 7 June 2012.