1) STARSTRUCK VILLAGE
The village has been intrigued by the activities of a film crew, here to make a movie based around the area, with the working title of "Arthur's Dyke". This is about a group, who as students had walked Offa's Dyke, and had vowed to do it again twenty years later. It stars Pauline Quirke along with such names as Dennis Waterman and Brian Conley.
A great deal of the action has been filmed in the village, much of it revolving around the Wye Valley Inn, converted to the Traveller's Rest for the movie.
The crew were a great bunch of people who supplied me with the daily jokes in addition to the printed running order. Their sense of humour remain undiminished by the dreadful weather which ruined many of their locations and played havoc with their schedule.
We look forward to seeing the finished project.
By the way, the "Minder" star, Dennis Waterman entertained the regulars at the Rose &Crown, joining "Steamhouse" on the stage.
Stan and Sylvia's blackboard has recently been used to register their thanks to contributors who have raised £240 for St Anne's Hospice through using the blackboard. What a splendid fun way to raise money, even if Stan does have to censor the odd message left by the more mischievious of us!
Claire and Howard Shiels from the Beaufort Hotel recently raised in excess of £300 for Great Ormond Street Hospital with a coffee morning and fayre held at the hotel. This was part of a nationwide fundraiser by the Olde English Pub Company, of which the Beaufort is a part.
3) THE TEAM'S NEW SPONSORS
The village football team has new sponsors. Stan and Sylvia Smith of Tintern Stores have presented the team with a new playing kit. It's very modern, continental and predominantly British Racing Green with a Tintern Stores logo.
Stan has also had local photographer David Hurn take the team photo. David is one of the country's top photographers with an international reputation. There can be few teams that have had their photograph taken by someone whose work has been published all over the world.
4) CHRISTMAS AND THE NEW YEAR
One of the ways I traditionally enjoy Christmas is by presenting a Christmas Night Quiz at the Beaufort. This is for the residents enjoying the holiday package that the hotel offers.
I have been doing this for four years and the fact that the guests return year after year speaks volumes for Howard and Claire's hospitality. First prize is a free weekend at any of the Olde English Pub Companiy's hotels. Inevitably the winners chose to return to the Beaufort making it a real success story.
You could have been forgiven for a mild state of confusion on visiting the Rose & Crown on New Year's Eve. Walking in from the blizzard you were confronted by men in loud Hawaiian shirts, shorts and sandals and ladies with flowers in their hair and sporting grass skirts.
Unseasonable it may have been but celebrating the coming of 2001 with a beach party was hugely successful.
Landlord Dave Stafford set the standard with first prize going to a be-garlanded and be-jewelled May Townsend. Lesley Ryan provided some great music. A free buffet and oodles of bonhomie set the seal on a first class night.
5) THE FOUNTAIN INN
The Fountain Inn has changed hands. The familiar face (and laugh) of Chris Rabbitts and his wife Judith will be sorely missed. Judith's health is not of the best so they have called it a day, leaving us with wonderful memories of their hospitality.
Their successors are Jeff & Vivian Maachi for whom this is their first pub. We wish them well.
Recently there was an awful postscript to the winter's bad weather when the continued wind and rain caused an enormous landslip from the cliffs behind the Rose & Crown.
"I thought I had survived the worst of the weather unscathed," said landlord Dave Stafford "but I obviously thought too soon". It has resulted in him having to close the pub for an unspecified period as it is now regarded to be unsafe with more of the cliff and trees threatening to come down.
The popular licensee has spent the last twenty-one months building up trade for both locals and tourists. His weekly music nights have featured regularly in thiscolumn and he had a large regular trade both for his food and overnight accommodation.
It's a bitter pill for David to swallow and scant reward for all the hard work he has put in. He has always said how much he enjoys it here and has been quite moved by a stream of messages offering support and help, particularly from some of the other licensees in the village.
Like them we all hope things will turn out well and that he will soon be back in action at this popular venue.
edited somewhat from Grantley James Diary. Thank you Grantley