Having been shut since 25th December, the Horse Guards Inn in Tillington is set to re-open on Wednesday 19th May. This is massively exciting news, both for the village and its visitors, who have been missing their beloved pub, and for the owners, who said they are going to “dance a jig” when they can finally re-open and welcome us all in.

They have chosen the May date to re-open in order to minimise risk for the business, by waiting until after the government will likely have allowed indoor hospitality, which is currently set to be “not before 17 May”, according to the government website. Outside dining brings risks of the weather turning once the pub has already invested in stock and staff for that period. Although villagers will be sad to hear they won’t be able to get back into the pub until a month after outdoor dining and drinking becomes legal in April, this is a small price to pay to ensure the pub’s continued success, given the heavy toll that lockdown has taken on hospitality businesses.

In the meantime, the owners assure me they have been keeping incredibly busy gardening and lambing ready for the re-open. So there’s something we can all look forward to: as the weather improves and the days lengthen in readiness for the summer, we will also be getting our pub back, complete with cold pints and delicious meals. I know where you’ll find me on the 19th of May. And the 20th. And the 21st…

Alex M-G