The bright sunshine and looser lockdown has brought people back into the great outdoors – and into the great British beer garden.
Last week I spent a very enjoyable few hours in the beautiful village of Moreton in the company of local councillor Ian Hadley, visiting Moreton Primary School, campaigning for the local elections, walking round the grounds of the wonderful church of St Mary the Virgin, and popping into the White Hart Inn for an excellent sandwich and cup of tea. The White Hart has transformed part of its car park into a cracking outdoor dining area, and it was magnificent to see it busy and buzzing with conversation.
Across the road from the White Hart Inn, building work is going on at the former Nag’s Head which, after much local concern it was going to be sold by former owners Greene King for housing, has been bought by a local chef. He is transforming this 500-year-old pub into a family restaurant and free house and has renamed it “The Dog and Pickle” (www.dogandpickle.com). The pub opens on 19 May. This is wonderful news for everyone in the local area – not least parents of Moreton Primary School who have been given permission to use the car park for school drop off and pick up.
I pop into the school to meet the nearly new head teacher, Nikki Batt, who arrived in post in September 2019, just in time to get to know the children before the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The children seem to have survived the strange-ness of the last year, and it was a pleasure to meet Eden, one of the runners up in my 2020 Christmas card competition with her superb drawing of the school mascot, Kevin the Pheasant.
It was fantastic to see Moreton emerging from the lockdown with such aplomb - I would thoroughly recommend a visit.