Next stop, lovely Kent*.
No arguments about the quality of this county, anyway ! And you never know quite what you’re going to get in the Beer Guide entries, which is something I like a lot.
East of Canterbury, the topography has a similar quality to the Somerset levels, though possibly less celebrated.
Mrs RM knows Littlebourne from the zoo at Howletts, which has outlasted the two pubs in the centre of town. Unless “Day Centre” is a tax-efficient name for a pub.
The new GBG pub in Ickham is a pleasant walk from the where the No.3 bus stops. You can see the route following the green dashes.
Past pleasant thatched houses,
and pleasant door knockers.
until the footpath runs out as you approach Ickham, and you have to jump in muddy ditches to avoid the 4x4s and horses. Ah, the joys of pedestrianism.
Hence I get a few stares when I tip up in mud-splattered jeans at the Duke William.
With etched windows and plain outside seating, I genuinely couldn’t guess if this was a boozer or a bistro with rooms.
As usual, you can be the judge.
Yes, you can tell a pub’s market by the presence of a “Mussels night“, fresh flowers, sheepskin rugs and Envoque hand-cleanser. That lotion contains Pseudocerasus fruit extract, you know.
I do like the big windows, mind. And people looked like they were stretched out for the afternoon with the Kent Mercury, which is great.
I also applaud a range of beers with one national (Landlord) and two good locals from Tonbridge and the ever reliable Old Dairy. The next chap at the bar went for Landlord, of course.
A half of Copper Top was served in a pleasant stem glass, a decently cooled, rich NBSS 3. And I was given a serviette (black) to use as a beer mat, as the great beer mat crisis of 2018 sweeps east into Thanet.
But here’s the thing. It was busy. At 4pm on Thursday in March in a village of 200 odd. With George Ezra’s “Budapest” the only “entertainment“. I can only applaud a pub that knows its market. There’s a touch of the Boot in public school Repton about it. Beer Mat will know what I mean.
In a village where the houses are called “Old Forge“, “Old Vicarage” and “Old Sweet Shop“, it’s something that this doesn’t haven’t a “Formerly the Duke William PH” sign on it. Kent seems particularly prone to houses proclaiming their non-pubbiness.
Some great ornithological art in the Gents, too.
*I’m playing it safe here.