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What a Difference a Day Makes! Episode 1

June 19th 2004 was just such a Difference-Making Day, might even call it D-Day for the Pans. It was Gala Day across town and it was ‘Open Day’ at The Prestoungrange Gothenburg. After three years of thinking, planning and working really rather hard, the doors were flung open at 10.45 am and Panners and visitors from far and wide [Clan from Canada and Fewell family from the Isle of Skye included] poured in. And not because it was raining a tad outside; that’s normal for Gala Day.

Panners came to see it all - to meet the senior staff team of Events Managers, Chefs, Brewers, Court Officers, Keepers, Montjoyes and Fiscals; to see the totally restored Fewell Bar, the spanking new Fowler’s microbrewery, the elegantly furnished James Park Bistro-Lounge, the Thomas Nelson Receptions and Events Suite and the Lord Mayor’s Bar looking straight across the Forth.

They walked, they talked, they said just how delighted they were, they recalled olden days, gazed at the framed old blown-up postcards from the Pans 80 years or more ago, stood in the bar where exactly their dad had stood, posed again where they had their wedding photographs taken, lingered in the Jug Bar where empties had been returned, made reservations for anniversaries yet to come, made silent auction bids for the 2003/ 2004 Art Workshops' paintings, bought souvenirs. Beheld it all and said: “It looks really very good. Better even than I remember. It’s somewhere really rather fine to come to in the Pans.” Some even said: “It’s a miracle”; and those who put in all the hard work to get things looking the way they did could readily agree with that! [They had had their own Thank You RoundUp and Briefing on June 17th in the Thomas Nelson Suite hosted by the Baron and Lady of Prestoungrange as snapped below.]

Click on all pictures to enlarge

Few if any noticed that no alcohol or food was being served because the final touches to the kitchens and lift are still awaited and accordingly the licence cannot be finalised. And those who did mused it must be the hand of the old temperance founders who had called the tune for the day. In fact the heir and grandson of one of the most important of them all was smartly on parade by 11.00, the first of not one, not two but three ‘celebs’ joining Panners for the big nosey around at ‘their’ Goth.

But the management lead by Anne Taylor, who has overseen the restoration and enhancement programme from start to finish, were determined not to be dubbed for life as the Pub with No Beer – at least not on Open Day. Their ingenuity knew no bounds. Fowler’s Head Brewer created a 750 bottle limited edition of the most excellent Gala Day real ale which was included in every one of 350 goodie bags, and was also a ubiquitous prize for everyone who purchased a £2 raffle ticket [neither avenue to acquisition being permitted to lead to consumption on the premises.] Wine tasting also proved popular as well as bring your own scones for afternoon tea and Co-op take out sandwiches and pies.

By the end of this Differenciating Day, when the tables were being tidied away with this and that being washed and dried, the staff had almost convinced themselves that not having a licence to sell alcohol or food was actually a great outcome. [The Montjoyes understand that feeling well, even have a psycho-sociological term for it, cognitive consonance.] The benefit had clearly been that all the Panners and visitors who came, and there were upwards of 600 all told, saw every aspect of what The Prestoungrange Gothenburg seeks to offer in the years ahead rather than perhaps thinking of it as simply a Pub.

Highly Commended by Gala Day Committee to Boot

It was particularly pleasing to receive a Highly Commended award from the Gala Day Committee for the efforts we had made to make the exterior of The Goth look great as the Gala Queen’s Procession passed by just after noon. Flower boxes are to be a regular spring/ autumn feature of the balcony balustrades at The Prestoungrange Gothenburg and they were already in place facing the Forth. And four flags now hang alongside the Fowler’s Besom representing the City of Gothenburg, Prestonpans and the two Baronies whose Arms also appear on each side of the new Gothenburg signboard on the High Street.

Across the road by the seawall the existing car parking area had also been resurfaced. This will soon be followed with a yet more extensive landscaped parking area.

Published Date: June 19th 2004

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