Thursday, 1 November 2012

If Country Pubs were run like Country Churches

Paul Pintes is the landlord of a number of pubs in West Barsetshire. Every time the pub chain threatens to close a pub, the villages are up in arms and, through fierce control of the planning laws, manage to keep them open.

On Monday lunchtimes, Paul runs the Wheatsheaf at Crabtree Parva. Of course, nobody ever comes in on Monday lunchtimes.

On Monday evenings, he runs the Red Lion at Plumstead Episcopi from 6 till 8. Then he rushes across to the "Little House" at Allington for half an hour, and then on to the Green Dragon at Crabtree Canonicorum. The "Dragon" has a great reputation for food. Or did, but nobody eats at 9 at night in Crabtree Canonicorum. And he can't leave the Red Lion till 9 because Big Len, the one and only local, has Tuesday as his long-alley skittles night.

Tuesdays, he has the day off. Which means he spends all day doing the accounts. But that's a lot less stress than normal.

But then Wednesday is murder. He runs the Black Dog at Ullathorne from 12 till 2, then gets across to the Half Moon at Ullathorne for the afternoon session. Then schleps all the way out to the Scatcherd Arms in Boxall, where the locals always demand a lock-in on Wednesday nights.

Which is bad news, because it's Thursday that the dray comes round. Paul spends all day following it around the villages, unloading the barrels (keg only - there's no way he can keep cask) and begging the driver to wait for him at each village. In the evening, he's in charge back at the Wheatsheaf, but he falls asleep behind the bar and hopes the locals are honest.

Fridays are busy days at all Paul's pubs. If he moves really quick he can get to about half of them. Thankfully he can get a barmaid to cover in one, and the old bloke who lives next to the Scatcherd Arms will cover for him.

Saturday he spends half his time at at the Sow and Pigs in Framley. He has to cook as well as serve, but it's his busiest time of the week. He has to chuck the customers out at 4, though. There's always a disco on at the Hog's Head in Hogglestock in the evening, and he's got to set up the decks and DJ. He does at least have a part-time barmaid to cover, though.

When he gets home on a Saturday night, he sits up till 3am on the Internet, writing the questions for the Sunday Night Quiz at the Scatcherd Arms. Of course, the evening at the Scatcherd isn't the first thing he does. First he has to cook the Sunday lunches at the Red Lion.

Of course, every village is very pleased to have its own pub. They just wish Paul could find some way to have it open a bit more often.


  1. To close to the truth to be funny…
    but it should be sent to the next commission writing the next report on the future of rural ministry

  2. This sounds like our Rural Benefice as it moves from 5 to 9 with one stipendiary minister. Good job he goes around with a broom attached to his rear to allow him to sweep up the waifs and strays as he goes.

  3. So why doesn't pay people to stand in for him?

    1. He doesn't get the custom. You seen the price of a pint in a pub lately?

    2. I haven't seen the price of a pint in a pub lately, but from your double post, you have a few times :)

    3. Well, you've got to do the Community Spirit thing. And you'd not believe the Internet connection I've had lately.

  4. I remember meeting a "flying vicar" 40 years ago who roared around in a minibus with a complete, fully robed parish choir, doing the rounds of a scattering of little country churches. A bit like the mobile library. ..


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