If you asked anyone in Cornwall to name a famous pub - apart from their local - they would probably name one of two, Jamaica Inn or the Pandora at Restronguet. Today came the shocking news that the Pandora has caught fire and may well be gone for good.
The fire only started this morning at around 11am and more than 35 fire crew are on the scene but the omens are not good. The building - dating from the 13th century - has a large thatched roof and access is via boat or a very narrow and winding track, making the work of our firefighters incredibly difficult.
I worked at the Pan for a summer during university in the days when the late Roger Hough was the landlord. It was a fantastic place to work with a great crew of staff and magical mix of locals (most of whom tended to arrive by boat) and visitors among the customers. I remember the entrepreneur Peter de Savary coming for lunch and mooring his (very large) boat out in the creek only to find that when he had finished eating he was left high and dry (it was a long lunch). He and his family had to wait around until the tide returned before they were able to get on.
The staff would often take turns to swim from the end of the pontoon to boats moored further and further out into the creek with a drink as a prize for the person who made it furthest within a given time.
I banged my head many, many times on the low slung beams and it seems that I won't have the chance to do so again, for which I am very sorry indeed. I do hope that our fire crews will be able to save as much as possible and hope that St Austell Brewery will consider rebuilding to be a viable option.
(with apologies to the two photographers whose photos I have nicked from local news sites. If you would like me to remove them, please get in touch)