We received an amazing accolade this weekend. Not only did The Times announce us as the 2nd best Summer UK Pub, they also named us.....No 1 UK Village Inn!
And in a year where we are celebrating 10 years at our Cotswold pub and 300 years of licensed trade.
We'll never forget how our first Summer started at The Ebrington Arms, back in 2007. It was on this very July day that our county was subjected to some of the worst flooding in recent UK history. Cars literally floated down Chipping Campden and Moreton in Marsh High Streets. It all happened very quickly and I remember our chef at the time getting a call for help from his wife and young kids, terrified, because the water was rising so quickly in their home.
In Ebrington, or Yubberton, the old village name our locals still use, we were incredibly lucky. As one of the highest Cotswold villages, the water ran down the road and the pub wasn't touched. Within a matter of hours we were inundated as all walks of life flocked into the pub, people stuck with no onward passable route. We received the most amazing bunch of people - holiday-makers with a caravan on their way up north, a young girl who had encountered so many dead ends she ended stuck in Ebrington on her own, worried as she had a place to catch to start a new life in Australia in two days time and suited businessmen who had lost all faith in their satnavs and found themselves in the safe 'Arms of Ebrington'.
The villagers gathered, they're buggers for getting together to discuss what's going on and its like some rite of passage for the tractor drivers to head out in the worst weather possible, so they can impart their local knowledge of road blockages over a pint afterwards. Locals love to say "all roads lead to Ebrington or Yubberton" and on that night it was certainly true.
Strangers shared our guest rooms, the girl on her own stayed in our little pub flat and many lovely locals gave up their spare rooms to anyone that needed one. Some of our older generation said "it was just like the blitz". Out of something so bad, where people had to leave their homes and lose belongings, the sense of community was stronger than ever and everyone had such a laugh in the pub that night. Everyone was fed and people started singing.
Bu some twist of fate, the floods went on all around us but The Ebrington Arms escaped it all.
We will also never forget this week, when we were crowned No 1 Village Inn in the whole of the UK by The Times newspaper. We're chuffed to bits to receive such an amazing accolade after a decade in the trade. So with memories literally flooding back (no pun intended) today I feel as strongly as ever that pubs remain the hub of our communities, places to celebrate and come together, bad or good. Cheers to that.