Andrew Smith, Victoria Frazer-Smith and Livvi Frazer-Smith at The Cock Inn

Victoria Frazer-Smith on the delights of running a village pub Three months in and we’ve settled into village life and loving the fact that the pub is very much at the heart of the community.

Having never run a pub before, I didn’t realise how much you witness the wide tapestry of life – sharing in the joys and challenges of so many.

It is a fascinating experience and as a journalist I never get tired of hearing the stories and anecdotes.

Now the summer is over the dynamic of the pub is changing.

Only the brave sit outside and the fire is blazing every day making for a cosy atmosphere.

The ale is flowing well and we are arranging events and special evenings to give people that extra incentive for walking in from the cold.

We have regular quiz nights and special evenings such as champagne night or a beer promotion.

Next week we will be having a special Halloween night with fancy dress and it should be atmospheric in this historic building which has more than a few tales to tell of its own.

That will be rapidly followed by perhaps (we are told) the biggest night of the year for The Cock – Bonfire Night.

Hundreds will descend on the village and the bar is set to be bursting at the seams while the kitchen serves up soup and sausages for the masses. It promises to be another challenge but a great opportunity to show locals that The Cock Inn is very much open for business.

Then it will be Christmas and we are putting the finishing touches to the menu.

The kitchen has been upgraded and its crowning glory came last week when it was given a five star hygiene award by West Oxfordshire District Council thanks to our bar and kitchen guru Benjamin Tomlin.

My husband Andrew (who is the business editor at the Oxford Mail) have been busy with a series of events from Christian men’s breakfasts to 40th birthday party dinners and the festive season will see us step up another gear.

We are really looking forward to welcoming everybody to our first Christmas. It all seems so early to be thinking about it but we have realised the importance of planning ahead and ensuring we are prepared.

Every day is different and it is long hours and hard work, but the rewards are there, the ideas and opportunities seemingly endless.

And at the end of the day we spend every night in the pub. How much better can it get?

TRY IT The Cock Inn is in Combe, Witney, OX29 8NTX. For bookings call 01993 898003