Once upon a time not many years ago there was a publican called Molie. He
and his wife Brenda kept a pub called the Trinity Foot on the A14 at
Swavesey. This they ran superbly for over 25 years. The beer was always tip
top and people would come from miles around to dine lavishly and drink his
fine range of wines and top of the range spirits. He even had a fish shop
open during the day, such was his reputation for fabulous food.
He had very
loyal and hard working staff who would always look after the customer
incredibly well and had the most wonderful characters. John Mole worked
incredibly hard, played just as hard but was loved by his staff and all the
He always considered his regulars as best friends and we all
A former Mrs Brown and I would often drive over for a meal only to
have to take a taxi home, such was the warmth of the welcome the Moles
bestowed on their clientele. They were generous to a fault and so welcoming.
One morning Molie woke up, picked up the mail from the mat and peered out
of the window. The rainbow outside appeared to have a pot of gold at the
end, but having opened the first envelope he realised his landlords were
offering him a new lease at £59,000 per annum. (This was about 8 years
ago) Now this cautious old fox looked through the haze to see there was a
trap door through which, if he fell, his hard earned crust that he had built up
over 25 years would evaporate and he could well see retirement out in
poverty. John Mole retired taking his hard earned dosh with him to Portugal
where, if there is a God, he will live happily ever after. The Pub Company had
made a fortune out of him over the years and it was time for them to continue
to make money out of this prime site on the busiest "A" road in the country.
After Molie left, at least two other couples took on the lease to try to make it
work. They did not have the "Molie Midas touch", or experience and these
poor souls floundered. There is no problem there, if you are a pub co, or even
a large regional brewer, as there will always be another mug willing to sink
their savings in to the pub. When there are no more mugs, then you just get
rid of the pub, no matter the cost to the community.
Will, mine host at the neighbouring White Horse in Swavesey, wrote the
following in a local magazine as an epilogue to the Foot.
Trinity Foot (R.I.P)
The Trinity Foot or New Inn as older members of the community may
remember it, has called time for the last time as a hostelry.
The word from the current freehold owners, Enterprise Inns plc, is that "It is to
be de-licensed and sold for a more profitable alternative use".
Which in every day language means that they have succeeded in ripping off a
sequence of recent licensees by way of exorbitant rent and tied product
purchase prices, to the point where the pub is no longer a viable commercial
proposition and they are now able to cash in their investment and reap their
rewards of this particular part of the property portfolio.
Another one bites the dust - and then there was one - use it or lose it.
I am grateful to Will for allowing me to use his work in this parable, and wish
him well in his wonderful pub.
The message to the Breweries and Pub co is TAKE HEED!
Recently Punch Taverns shares dropped dramatically and what with pubs
falling like ninepins it is time for the people with their hands on the sails to
allow slack to let our pubs thrive. How many times do you have to be warned!