To Kirkby Overblow, near Harrogate to witness the updating and refurbishment of the Shoulder of Mutton and a warm speech by a longstanding village resident, and Leeds United veteran from their glory days, Eddie Gray. He cut the ribbon and toasted David and Kate Deacon’s eight year tenure at the Shoulder of Mutton and their enterprise in also opening a village shop in a disused building in the pub car park.
The pub looked considerably cooler and smarter since my last visit, but it was the shop that caught my eye. Just a stroll across the car park the Shoulder Shop is packed with fresh meat, pies, quiches, fresh veg, bread, wine, tins, jams, biscuits, food gifts and the daily papers as well as hot drinks and sandwiches for passing walkers.
The Deacon’s were advised in setting it up by the not-for-profit organisation the Pub is the Hub, which helps pubs diversify and support rural services at the same time. They’ve advised on some terrific projects, though the best are outside Yorkshire. One pub runs a book club, another a cinema, the George and Dragon at Hudswell, near Richmond runs a library and the Sun Inn at Colton near York has a shop similar to the Shoulder Shop, all with advice from the Pub is the Hub
Their chief executive, is the amiable John Longden, who was on hand last night to cheer on the Shoulder of Mutton and a remind the rest of us to keep on visiting our local pub or it would disappear. Cheers to that and thanks to the Shoulder.
The Shoulder of Mutton, Kirkby Overblow, Harrogate HG3 1HD T: 01423 871205 www.shoulderofmuttonharrogate.co.uk