Blog #1: COVID-19 Pandemic from the Landlords of a Cotswolds Village Pub.

Updated: Mar 28, 2020

The photo on the left is Warren & Norman (I'm Norman, the more handsome one on the left, breathing in). This picture was taken on New Years Eve, when we provided a free buffet, quiz, karaoke and party to all the local villagers for so lovingly accepting us into Upper Oddington. The turnout was amazing.

We took over this historic and beautiful pub on the 29th March, 2019. Never did we ever think that our 1 year anniversary would be in circumstances like this, with our doors closed and live ale in the cellar slowly going off. Both Warren and I are avid drinkers of the local brew, where we try to support local breweries like Goffs in Winchcombe. I am writing this blog to document the extreme kindness and selfless acts that we are witnessing on a daily basis. It'll also provide some light relief as we here stories from all our staff and volunteers alike. I'm no writer, being an IT nerd at heart, and scrapping a GCSE C pass in English that even my teachers were surprised with. I once quoted with gusto during a client meeting: 'Just because we can do it, doesn't mean we should', saying its from a line by Geff Goldblum in Jurassic Park when in fact it's really from.... answers on a postcard please!

Here goes:

Wednesday, March 18th

Warren arriving in Kingham station on the late 6pm service from London Paddington (and still no talking bear may I add), I've picked him up and we go straight to the pub for a pint. Warren having already done a day's work advising London on the COVID-19 Pandemic and me working from home sorting out my other job, we arrive with the smiling faces of our staff and regulars enjoying a drink. We quickly pour ourselves a pint of Butty Bach and Cheltenham Gold (going through the books of course) and settle in with locals who are in the snug area. The pub is quiet as we take stock with national events and ponder our next move.

Thursday, March 19th

The pub is starting to look different. We have moved all the tables to be 2 metres apart and Warren printed a rather wordy notice advising all customers of the new social distancing rules. Having some limited graphic design capability, I self agreed to create a more illustrative notice knowing full well the public does't read past the first sentence of any notice.

A few regulars joined us and we all joked that this could be the last night in the pub, which made everyone buy another round. We had a good time, we laughed and joked till closing time.

Friday, March 20th

Woke up after a night's drinking and feel rather inspired to create a visual notice for our customers on Social distancing. Spent ages selecting icons, formatting them on Adobe Illustrator and finally creating a printable PDF for the tables. Finished our social media posts and updated the website. See what I mean:

I was putting the finishing touches to my masterpiece which I'm sure you'll all agree. I flicked on the news to see the daily brief from Boris at 5pm, and at around 5:25pm he says:

"The closure of all bars, pubs, cafes, restaurants, gyms and cinemas effective immediately".

Part of me knew this would happen, it was just a matter of time, but now I knew it was getting very serious indeed. Then I thought.... For the past 4 hours, I've been slaving in front of my computer, creating this document, updating the website, announcing it on all our social channels and printing a shed load for each table and signs around the pub, for nothing! A little heads-up from Boris would have been helpful before I started, I say selfishly.

Then I thought, I seriously hope we never ever need to use this in the pub in the coming weeks, months and years. In a way, I'd be very happy if my masterpiece never sees the light of day.

#coronavirus #covid19 #stowonthewold #upperoddington #horseandgroomoddington #stayathome #takeaway #nhs

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