If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Moving On

I wrote in February about a meal I had in a local restaurant, Keeston Kitchen. The owners, friends of Anna's and now of mine, are amazing people. They are around retirement age, and yet every year they go trekking in Nepal. They have made good friends among the people there and do a lot of fundraising for projects there. Clare, the chef de cuisine, also does a lot of long-distance walks and raises money for Breast Cancer. They are genuine, good-hearted people.

They are also interesting people. Every evening, once the guests have been seen to the tables and the drinks poured, Phil gets out his guitar and sings some old classics to accompany the food. The evening never ends without at least one rendition of Wichita Lineman and You've Got A Friend. It's a lovely, warm and intimate experience. I also know Phil through the local (and now defunct) IAM Bikers group, who used to meet there. Both Phil and Clare used to race Ducatis, and the walls of the bar are covered in action shots of them both on those lovely classic machines at tracks like Cadwell and Pembrey.

And now it's all over. They have been feeling the pressure of the grind of opening six days a week for a while, and have been trying to sell the restaurant as a going concern, but there have been no takers. So they have decided to close, and turn the restaurant and associated rooms into holiday accommodation. Friday evening was the last 'public night', and today they served Sunday lunch, 'on the house', for old friends and long-standing customers. We were very honoured to have been asked. Tonight they will start clearing everything down, and tomorrow the builders will start on the conversion.

It feels like the end of an era. We have been going there for birthdays and anniversaries, as well as the odd Sunday lunch and Quiz Night, for the last 20 years. When Anna and I got married in 1992, we had our reception there. The place has a lot of memories for us, and all good ones.

I wish them well. I was going to say 'in their retirement', but that should be 'in their new venture'. It is sad that Pembrokeshire has lost a unique asset, but times roll on. I can't help feeling a bit sad, though.

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