Most of you will agree with me when I say that The Locks is a special place. We all have different reasons why we love it here, but the feeling is the same. I don’t think I will ever be able to tell you why it is so special, but I can certainly try.
It’s been just over a year since I first stood this side of the bar, but The Locks has been a part of my life for a lot longer than that. Like many of you, I have fond childhood memories of The Locks; I spent many a summers Sunday leaping from the bridge into the river with my brother, while my Dad could be found in the beer garden, pint in hand.
Since I began working here, I have been lucky enough to hear hundreds of people’s memories of The Locks; I’ve heard lots about Susan Ellis, a fiercely protective guardian of The Locks from years gone by, as well as more recent recollections of wild raves and unforgettable weddings, parties and events. It’s always an honour to hear your stories, and it makes me beam with pride to know that so many of you still return to make more memories.
While sharing these stories, I have made countless friends. It always brightens my day to see a familiar face, whether they are a regular from the village, or a returning holidaymaker. Although the summer can be a bit of a whirlwind I always seem to find time to have quick chats while I’m whizzing around the garden, while in the quieter winter months I have a little more time to spend nattering at the bar. There’s always a real sense of community, whether the bar is full of old friends, or complete strangers.
I noticed this most recently on a weekend where floodwater had rendered the track impassable by car. The pub was full to the brim with like-minded people who had waded thigh deep, kayaked, or ridden on horseback to reward themselves with a pint in one of the most magical places in the world.
I have also acquired a second family since working at The Locks, I am lucky enough to work with a team of hard working, determined and passionate people. This is true of the team at The Locks specifically, as well as the guys at Grain brewery, the other Grain pubs and the wider Grain circle.
Don’t get me wrong- working at The Locks isn’t always sunshine and rainbows; it comes with a very specific set of challenges. Not being connected to mains electricity means that I can now add “amateur generator engineer” to my list of skills, and regular flooding often complicates my commute!
For me, The Locks is about the people. Every popped tyre, blister and welly-boot full of water is worth it to work in such a magical place, surrounded by incredible people.