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.

Traffic scarred dead pubs
Pub = Day Centre ?

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.

OS overkill today

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.

Into Ickham

Hence I get a few stares when I tip up in mud-splattered jeans at the Duke William.

Duke William – hard to guess

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.

Mussel night
Sheepskin rugs
Posh toiletries

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.

Thin glass

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.



  1. “served in a pleasant stem glass” –And here I was thinking you had a strict “straight pint glass only” policy. (I’m a fan of the nonics, I must say)

    This beer mat crisis may eventually require government intervention; will we see you resorting to Simon’s “emergency beer mat” approach?

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I like the tits. FYI on show there are Blue, Great, Coal, Long-tailed and Crested. They missed a trick not showing Bearded, but you can’t grumble really. Is this pub anywhere near a nature reserve ?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I worry about the amount of Farrow & Ball paint you’ve had to observe in the last few months.

    I thought Bearded Tits had been thrown out of the tit classification following endless debate amongst the BTO…something about quality.

    All the above told to me by a friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m afraid I don’t keep up to date with the BTO – I’m much more of an old skool RSPB kinda guy. Much like preferring BBBs to craft….😄

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I don’t know…..

    ……the presence of a “Mussels night“, fresh flowers, sheepskin rugs and Envoque hand-cleanser. With lotion contains Pseudocerasus fruit extract….

    You could almost have been in Surrey!

    Big fan of Landlord, even here in the soppy south.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me too. Really needs an interested Landlord to keep Landlord, though, not one who says “Ooh, I’ve heard of that. That’ll make me seem upmarket and keep the Doom Bar drinkers away”.


  5. “You can see the route following the green dashes.”

    Which one? There’s so bloody many.


    Um…. (nope). 🙂

    “Thin glass”

    Is that a bunch of pens between the thin glass and the black napkins?

    “Some great ornithological art in the Gents, too.”

    Sheesh. And I took the high road with the Knockers. 🙂

    “I can only applaud a pub that knows its market.”

    Agreed. It looks not too bad from your photos and the beer range was decent. Obviously it works for the locals.



  6. I know exactly what you mean! Very good beer in a place you think you shouldn’t like but actually quite do and so do plenty of others…at the risk of sounding like a one policy party (UKIP / SNP) why don’t all bars provide beermats? Even if on the bar the least most places should provide is a mat with the price of a pint!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve no idea. I guess they used to be standard when most pubs were owned by their breweries who promoted brands, but odd that doesn’t happen now. Beer mats seem ideal advertising media.


      1. It varied by region. In the early 1970s nearly all Midlands and Northern pubs had beer mats but I very very rarely saw them in London.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. Part of it is that ticker mentality – if a pub only gets 1-2 firkins from any one brewery, they’re not going to get the same amount of support from that brewery than in old times when even if they weren’t tied, they still might buy £10k of beer from one brewery. Same with branded glasses and other stuff. Beermats seem to be one of those things that have significant fixed costs so it’s expensive to do short runs, but cheap to do big runs, which again doesn’t help the new world of micros. CAMRA beer festivals seem quite organised about using them as advertising, I guess they can justify the volume.

      Also a lot of people don’t actually like beermats (it’s true) – would you choose to have some cardboard soaked in yesterday’s beer on your table at home? And a lot of people can’t be trusted with them, they tear them up etc and make mess with them, so they’re not that popular with staff either. I think it’s a reasonable compromise to have them available on the bar for them what want them, but not to have them left out, particularly in the sort of place which is more restauranty.

      That network of ditches in the top right of the map is the remains of the Wantsum Channel, which was a navigable arm of the North Sea in Roman times. The hamlets of West & East Stourmouth mark the point where the Stour used to empty into the sea. It silted up in the Middle Ages, enabling the invasion of the mainland by the Micropublicanii tribe, who had hitherto been banished to the Isle of Thanet.

      Liked by 3 people

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