Trips down to Kent and West Sussex do seem to involve a lot of halves of Harveys.  I’m not sure any regional beer is as ubiquitous in local Beer Guide pubs as Sussex Best.  I’m a fan, but it’s rarely stunning, except (as here) in Hailsham.


Twenty years ago Mrs RM and I stayed in Hartfield on some sort of “four tokens from the Telegraph” promotion, in the days when people got their news from pieces of paper. Mrs RM’s knowledge of the country pubs she’d visited from her Tunbridge Wells home was both impressive and a little bit scary; she could describe every pub en-route from the in-laws in BRAPA-like detail. Her memoirs will be stunning.

The premise for that stay in ’96, I guess, was that that you hunted people dressed as Winnie the Pooh in Five Hundred Acre Woods and celebrated with Australian students in the Anchor afterwards.  The only thing I actually remember (vaguely) from that trip is lashings of Tanglefoot, the Summer Lightning or Jaipur of its day. But it’s all Lewes’s finest now.


And a bit of Larkins, which seems to be the only change since the Gallipot Arms broke free.


I followed a group of gentle folk into the pub, at approximately 2.7 miles an hour, and stood patiently at the bar.


Everyone else was dining (apart from the bloke at the bar I’ve only just noticed). Look at their website and you’ll see a picture of Judi Dench. Dining.

As “England’s Least Patient Person 2014”, I’m not great at waiting at the bar, but I do at least stand quietly with toothless smile, correct money in hand.

No “Ahem, ahem“, “Why are we waiting ?”, tapping coins on the bar or waving tenners.

I waited a good four minutes while three staff made Gaggias gurgle, brought out menus and returned to check what was in the chicken and mushroom pie.

No eye contact.

My post was written in my mind*, on a theme explored by Tandleman and Pub Curmudgeon here.

But just then the young chap said “I’m really sorry to have kept you Sir. Be right with you“.  And as I paid, the Landlord added “I do apologise for keeping you“. And meant it. My whole view of the pub changed instantly.

I still drunk my Harveys outside rather than hog a table, mind.  It was excellent (NBSS 3.5), cool and chewy with a tight head of foam. A worthy GBG entry.

In the end though, it’s the people that make the pub.

*I don’t really go in pubs for blog material; I go because I love pubs.  But you know what I mean.


  1. There’s no higher praise for pub description than BRAPA-like detail. 🙂 I spent one night at The Bent Arms in Lindfield, West Sussex, a few years back. Sadly I had jet lag and couldn’t bring myself to have a pint, but I did enjoy an afternoon stroll and was very taken with the beauty of the town and the surrounding countryside.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. The ground floor lobby & dining area were small but had a nice feeling of history to them. My room was kind of terrible, it must be said! Happy memories of walking up and down the main street; kind of an idyllic little English village, it seemed to me. Made me want to return to West Sussex and spend more time.


  2. Re your regular ‘it’s how they keep the beer’ theme…one Christmas I ordered 2 polypins (rough) of Harvey’s Best. They we’re shaken and very stirred from Lewes to Harpenden via London. After settling and kept cool in my mate’s cellar and my garage they were in perfect condition until finished in early January. Of course I only had one beer on, served it from a jug, and my house was a proper pub.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. When you captured the people in children’s AA Milne book character outfits, what did you do to them?

    I could quite easily be wrong on this, but I imagine that the chicken and mushroom pie consisted of some chickens and some mushrooms, possibly encased in some form of pastry.

    I don’t bother with jugs for custard. Just pour it onto the crumble and have done with it.


    1. I believe they were released into the wild at Gatwick. Certainly none of them were brutally murdered, if that’s what you’re asking.

      In posh pubs like this, I rather doubt chicken and mushroom were the only ingredients, hence the question.

      Good man.


  4. I once had an encounter with a couple of armed coppers at Gatwick. It is a fun place to visit, I’m almost glad you didn’t murder them.

    I suppose there must also have been some gravy in the pie. I can’t think what else people would insert into it.


  5. Beautiful building. I was delayed at the bar there by a group of people debating which guns are best to kill which animals. The clientele made The Archers look solidly working class.

    Liked by 1 person

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