Since my first entry on 21 April, the response to my diary has been quite something. I’ve been asked to continue it so here is the next entry….

9.30pm, newsletter done, laptop shut for the night. Just another regular email newsletter to our mailing list of around 15,000 people. Included in the newsletter was news about the launch of our shop selling mainly wine. Well, when the laptop was revived the following morning, I couldn’t believe the number of emails that had come in. Orders of wine. Voucher purchases. People being so kind, appreciated the contact and the update about the pub. Two previous guests who live in the USA bought £200 vouchers without any real intention of using them. A lady from Germany who’d visited while backpacking a number of years ago, the same, for £25. A very thoughtful and generous psychotherapeutic counsellor from Colchester offered her time to me and my team. It was truly humbling and not at all what I expected.

The newsletter was just intended as an update because I’d be asked a lot how things were and where the business was at. And the diary format just seemed the right way to convey how dreadful those days in March were, between the 16th and 20th. I certainly don’t feel the same now and am as positive as I can be about our future.

So my time has been filled by reorganising, decluttering and deep cleaning. Gardening and decorating in between making wine deliveries as far and wide as Dorset and London and as close, but just as long, to Clacton, Wivenhoe and Hadleigh. Big thanks to all of you who’ve purchased, some very treasured, wine.

The pub’s been readied for a virtual VE Day celebration. It was caught on camera by the BBC who were doing a story on a local resident, 99 year old Marjorie West. As of 12th May Marjorie, a Wren in WWII, had raised £35,000 for the NHS. We hope to add to this by auctioning off a Magnum of Billecart-Salmon Champagne (details to follow).

Very happy to say all our suppliers have been paid to date. For once, our bank performed quickly and efficiently and delivered the loot in record speed. It gives great satisfaction to be able to pay them all as their patience was incredible and humbling. We very much hope the support we have been getting flows to them too. Without them, it makes are jobs much more difficult.

The battle with our landlords continues and no doubt the battle will go on for some time. It’s a game of cat and mouse between them, us and the government. Thankfully the Furlough scheme delivered and all our staff remain fully employed and will do so while this support remains in place.

Have a great VE Day and Bank Holiday Weekend – as far as it is possible. Wishing you the very best.