We made our way to West Sussex today, to our usual stamping ground at Arundel Castle cricket club. The home side was playing i Zingari, one of the oldest teams in England. Formed in 1845, i Zingari is a wandering side, without a home ground; the club’s name name translates from Italian as “the gypsies”. As usual, though, they brought plenty of support. The weather has been poor for a few days, but it bucked up for the occasion. There was even some sunshine in the afternoon.
Our journey to Arundel, through Surrey and Sussex, takes in a number of small villages. One of these is Fittleworth. Despite its proximity to the market town of Petworth, this prosperous village boasts a shop and a post office. It even has an art gallery. This summer, it no longer has a pub. Sometime over the winter, during the long periods of lockdown, time was called on the Swan Inn. The doors are shut and a “to let” sign faces the road.
Will anyone take it on? Pubs have been closing at an alarming rate for years, but that rate has been accelerating during the last twelve months. Given that Public Health England and others are promising more lockdowns in the future, it would be a brave person who signs the lease and attempts to open the doors once more.