The Walpole Arms
The following day I was woken from a deep sleep by the sound of my ringing phone. It was John who told me he had decided to keep the two shops closed for a day or two while he sorted out what the insurance would cover. Putting down the phone I was unsure what to do, so I dressed slowly and then decided to go out in my car for the day.
It seemed like ages since I’d just driven around the countryside, and so that’s what I did. Along the coast, many places had been affected by the flood tide, and where there were no buildings the freshly washed sand, and clean spring air was exhilarating. Heading inland, I stopped at a couple of villages to stretch my legs, and then in the late afternoon I arrived at a country pub called The Walpole Arms. It looked like it had at one time been a brick-built farmhouse, whitewashed to the side of the road, and with hanging baskets along the front. There were a string of buildings heading off to the left of the principal house which appeared to be empty. A gravel area in front of the pub served as an area for cars to park, and a rustic wooden bench and manicured lawn just added to the picturesque charm.
I hadn’t had anything to eat all day, and I decided to see if they had food, while enjoying a relaxing pint. I was soon in conversation with Dani and Mary, the owners of the place. They were sisters and had taken over the pub only a year before. They had plans to open the rest of the building as guest rooms, and I talked to them about my experiences with the cottage down by the coast. Dani asked about the flooding, so I told her about the night before, and the other damage I’d seen in the coastal places I’d passed through.
The kitchen had already closed for the afternoon, but Mary offered to make me a sandwich if I wanted one, and I was soon hungrily eating my way through thick cut fresh bread and local cheese. More locals started to arrive for an early evening drink, and each one wanted to hear my stories. Soon it was late, and I’d had way too much to drink to drive home safely, so Mary suggested I stay in one of the guestrooms. I was feeling happy and content, as well as slightly drunk, so I agreed and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.