Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Arking Back

The recent troubled history of Millbrook's own Ark of Fiendship is, of course, well known to just about everyone who reads this nonsense. But for the benefit of foreigners and anyone from overseas, a brief synopsis.

Way back in the mists of time The Mark of Friendship was a favourite haunt of mine. And Mrs The Millbrooker's, and just about everyone who could conceivably (or inconceivably) number themselves amongst the Millbrook glitterati.For Mrs The Millbrooker and me, things went wrong on the first day of the smoking ban (01st July 2007) and we moved our loyalties and our tankards a few hundred yards to the D&C.

Since then the Ark (the old sign kept having letters nicked so the pub became known as The Ark of Fiendship) has been through troubled times; Jenny and Arkwright have been forced to close up, a fate that no one would wish them. Here's Arkwright in happier days:After a short total closure The Ark has endured the stewardship of a "manager" widely viewed (and I quote) as a "Swilley Wide Boy". Mrs The Millbrooker and I simply stayed away; it was a noisy and seemingly testosterone fuelled pub for a few months.

But now...

...the dear old place has been taken on by Dick and Megan of Millbrook-wide fame and is once again a welcoming place for a decent pint (of Doom Bar, I might add - yummy).

As I'm working stupid o'clock shifts this week, we decided to sample the gloriously un-revamped watering hole yesterday afternoon, after first rapping on Dong's door and greeting him with a "we're going to the pub - fancy a drink?" The arm twisting to tear him from his labours as the self proclaimed World's Best Salesman wasn't arduous "Give me ten minutes to switch off the computer..." was the response.

And so we found ourselves in very short order sitting back in the old seats:

The Gnome, who was perched in the best seat in house, looked up with his one good eye as we entered and said "aah...welcome home". Before long, though, he vacated his post. Yes, I will jump in his grave that quickly.The cheeky pint that we had intended, of course, turned into a very cheeky five (in my case, three for Mrs The Millbrooker); we chatted and argued with the assembled drinkers like good 'uns across the bar; in fact we had a fine old time.We're by no means abandoning the wonderful D&C - Russell and Mark do far too good a job for that (and we love them for it), but it's great to have another welcoming, friendly local pub. Millbrook needs and should have all three pubs running well; they are a vital part of the very fabric of our village. I, for one, wish Dick and Megan the very best in their venture, we'll enjoy another pint or two with them soon.

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