New landlady takes on her seventh Norfolk pub
PUBLISHED: 11:43 29 June 2018 | UPDATED: 08:39 30 June 2018
The new landlady at a Norfolk pub may not be taking regulars on a dream trip to Africa, but she has a wealth of experience to draw on.
Linda Johnson has taken over at the Crown pub in Smallburgh, near Stalham, which is now open every day.
The north Norfolk pub made the headlines when its previous landlady took a bus-load of regulars to the Ivory Coast.
Customers may remember Ms Johnson from her previous pubs, the Greyhound, Hethersett, the Buck, Morley, the White Lodge, Attleborough, King’s Arms, Martham, the Honingham Buck, and The Crown, Trunch, which she left two years ago.
She said: “I came out of the pub trade in 2016 with my partner. I’d had enough of pubs, but he was diagnosed with cancer and died.
“I was working at Surlingham Ferry, as I had a house there, and a friend sent me a cutting to say this was available.
“I have a knack of reinventing pubs. There was nothing wrong with the pub before - it was lovely and full of character. I’ve just tried to make it a bit more loved.”
Since she took over the pub has really taken off, she said, and her hard work is paying off.
She added: “We’ve taken up the carpet and re-carpeted, and it’s back to its original tile floor. We’re doing food and the restaurant has changed. We’ve done up the two guest bedrooms and the garden has been cleared and looks amazing.
“Everyone wants to see it a success. Too many pubs are just limping along. We’ve got live music monthly, five hand pumps and still cider.”
The previous landlady Eunice Kokrasset left when the lease came to an end and she wanted a change of career.
She travelled with 18 regulars on a dream trip to revisit her west African homeland last November.
She wanted to repay the hospitality shown her by the tight-knit village community when she arrived.
The group spent two weeks in the Ivory Coast and travelled in a double-decker bus, packed with educational books, scientific equipment, sports kits and clothing donated by sponsors and local people, which they delivered.