This is week, we talk to Adam Tutt, owner of Blue Boar pub and Chang Thai restaurant. This is an edited extract of the interview which you can watch here.
What do you do?
I have a couple of bars in Ludlow, one is a Thai Restaurant and Bar and the other is more of a traditional Ludlowesque premises, 'oldy-worldy' as it were.
What brought you here?
My parents moved up here when I was 11. We moved to Gladestry, Kington so I went to school in Presteigne and I fled for the city when I was 17 having grown up in a small village. I ended up moving back here 14 years ago. Although I’m not actually from Ludlow, I grew up around here.
So what is the most significant change you have seen since you’ve returned to Ludlow?
Things change slowly round here. When I go back to the village I used to live in which I do at times because it’s always nice to revisit, I find there are extra houses that have appeared so where there was a field, there are a couple more houses. The spread and the growth of the area is evident in the village I grew up in but it’s slow and it’s steady. So I couldn’t say there are any major changes that I’ve noticed. It’s not a fast paced city life where change is happening every ten minutes and that’s the appeal of the place, I think, its stability and its constance.
What brought you back?
I spent a lot of time living in Bristol mostly before here, living abroad, wandering around as you do. I always knew I would move back to the area in some way. I thought maybe I would be a bit older than I was. It’s always had a place in my heart and it’s always been home but when you are young and you are 17 and you are growing up, you want London or the city life. You want more stimulation, I think, and I do feel it’s not a great place to grow up but it’s a great place to have grown up!
I get the distinction! Tell us then, what are people unlikely to know about running a pub/restaurant in a market town?
It’s terrible, don’t do it! Don’t touch it with a barge pole! Running a pub, a bar, a restaurant, it’s a lifestyle so it’s not 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. As much that appeals sometimes, that’s not how it is. Living in a small town, it’s even more so the lifestyle because you’re always at work, you’re always seeing people on the streets. The boundary doesn’t end at your walls.
It’s every day, when you are shopping, using the local businesses when you can and when you do, bumping into customers on the street. You are never off duty which is lovely, it’s part of the community but sometimes it’s nice to go and be anonymous somewhere else.
"Running a pub, a bar, a restaurant, it's a lifestyle"
Tell us about a favourite spot/haunt a short distance away from Ludlow and why?
I’ve actually been recently...going to places that I’ve never been to before. I went to see the poppies at Hereford Cathedral. I went to see the Cathedral and the Mappa Mundi which I had never done before. That was a very beautiful day.
I think a favourite one I’ve done recently is the Stiperstones which I went up to the other week. There was still snow up there, the views from the top were just stunning. I love that feeling of space, being in the wind and it was cold but it felt wild and exciting. It’s a liberating feeling to have that much space around you, the views are dramatic so I would suggest to anybody to go to the Stiperstones and have a look.
There’s another place I went to which is Flounders’ Folly, near Craven Arms. It’s a tower that was built on a hill by a rich businessman who had trade in Bristol and Liverpool and it’s only open once a month. There was a group that restored it because it was falling down. Julie Christie owned it at one point. You walk up to the top of the hill and it’s only 80 feet high but the views from there are also very nice.
So that’s my three things I can’t believe I’ve never done!
"divergent, schizophrenic, ideal"
Ludlow in three adjectives…
I am going to choose, with some explanation, divergent, schizophrenic and ideal.
I’ll start with schizophrenic: it’s a very divided, split town in many ways. There’s a lot of people who have moved in from the outside who have one idea of how Ludlow should be and there’s a lot of people who have lived here all their lives who have a different idea of how the town should be. And that can cause conflict because for some people it’s more of a retreat and for others it’s a functional, everyday life. It’s a good thing in some ways because it keeps the town alive, it doesn’t become a museum.
I say divergent because compared to a lot of rural towns and a lot of small towns, there’s quite a broad mix of people here who come from different places. I’m particularly talking in terms of the arts and that sort of thing. There’s a diverse mental attitude which I think is a good thing.
And ideal because like I referred to earlier, people come here for their ideal. It’s a beautiful market town, it’s that chocolate box look. It is the ideal but different people have different ideas of what ideal is.