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Meet Hammond family at Ring O’Bells

The latest landlords to arrive at the Ring O’Bells have been ringing the changes ever since they took up residency of the Nailsea pub last November.

In a revolving door situation, they are the third landlords in less than a year.

But Ian, aged 34, and Nathan, 38, Hammond are determined to make Nailsea and the St Mary’s Grove pub their permanent home and are already endearing themselves to the community.

Within the first few weeks they have added lots of sparkling fairy lights across the high ceilings in the bar and restaurant area, overhauled the menu and got the blocked loos and leaking flat shingle roof fixed.

And there is more planned by the big-hearted same sex couple who share the upstairs living accommodation with a one-year-old lilac French bulldog called Bells, six cats and a chameleon named Eve.

Top cat George, aged 11, was involved in an RTA and went missing when they first arrived in Nailsea but with a slightly damaged jaw and right eye he is okay now and plays stepdad to the litter of four kittens, Tiny (who is not), Comet, Athena and Thora born to mum Freya during the past three years.

Ian explained that every time they took her to the vet to be neutered, they discovered she was pregnant again.

The big-hearted couple with even bigger personalities is embracing the community and already planning future events with their neighbours Nailsea Town Council and Holy Trinity church.

Nathan is signed up for the sponsored abseil on Monday, May 27, down the church tower and they will be providing a pop-up bar for the fundraising.

And they will be marking Pride Month in June with drag queen performances and more and have visions of building a Santa grotto in the garden in December.

With a wealth of management and manual experience from time served in retail, IT and hospitality the hard-working pair also bring practical DIY and chef skills to their chosen new career path.

They are refreshingly open about meeting on dating app Grindr which serves the LGBTQ community and are happy to share with others their good and bad experiences of being together which includes complex family situations and past ‘only gays in the village’ prejudices.

After years together they got married in June 2017.

The pub is already home to Nailsea International Bike Show, Apple Fest, Nailsea Folk Club, pub painting evenings, knitting group, televised Sky Sports games, live bands, meat raffle, card, bingo and quiz nights – think that’s the full list! although the broken pool table has gone, the carpet and bar in the function/skittle alley room is up next for attention and they are considering calling time on the electronic gaming machine.

The wassailing ceremony and Christmas fair shared with the Tithe Barn and church need to go in the diary but the pétanque area in the garden is to stay, a new bouncy castle for the playground is on order and barriers for the car park to stop the school run parents who aren’t customers blocking the spaces is going to be installed.

Ian and Nathan 2.JPEG

The meat raffle comes back in Veganuary, this pub feature gets published in dry January and its walk your dog month! 

Opening times are 5-11pm on Mondays, noon-11pm Tuesday to Thursday,  noon-midnight  Friday and Saturday and 11.30am-11pm Sundays with food served Wednesday to Saturday noon-2pm and  5-8pm with details of the Sunday carvery posted on the blackboard near the bar.

There are special offers on two for £18 small lunches but you should book for the Sunday carvery as it gets very busy and watch out for the introduction of a happy hour.

The couple are keen to learn more about the history of the pub - it is rumoured to have a resident ghost - and would like to put a collection of old photos and pieces of the famous Nailsea glass on display.

Ian said: "We have been looking for photos of how the pub used to look and we only have one."

There is scant mention of the Ring O'Bells in Margaret Thomas' Book of Nailsea but deeds for the adjoining cottage date back to 1810.

Ian and Nathan embrace The Baton a Devon-based welfare charity which supports injured military personal and their families and a wooden baton symbol of the charity is going on display soon.

The pub which has been leased from Stonegate by The Complete Pub Company has had an amazing ‘spring’ clean, its Facebook page and branding has been ‘refreshed’ and the bar is buzzing with chatter and laughter, go see for yourself, a very warm welcome awaits.

But before that Ian whose birthday is at the end of February faces a serious back operation this month and will be out-of-action for six weeks. The company is parachuting some help for Nathan during the recovery period.

Carol Deacon

PETS PHOTOS: Supplied, can you work out who's who?

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