I’ve had a complaint about my blog from regular correspondent Mr(s) Spam.

Coral Juicy, Kieran Bad would make a great film

Chastised for not updating my blog often enough, you can expect a flood of froth now.

Starting with a trip to Proper Pub central; the hard-to-define area between the Dartford Tunnel and the posh Kent/London border towns of Sevenoaks and Bromley.


There’s been some top Guide boozers in the Darenth Valley over the years, including some Courage Best strongholds.

The Chequers may have had Courage Best on, but the taps were hidden behind the sea of newly-washed glasses at 11.30am (and I wasn’t first in).

Dark Star now officially Fullers

Quite a bustle, with delivery men, Old Boys and cheery staff already fielding enquiries about a Sunday lunch session that was six days away.  What is it with Sunday lunch ?  About 20% of all trade on some pubs, I guess.  Anyway, they’d finished doing chicken for the year, mysteriously. It must be Christmas.

What a peaceful pub it is. One bar, multiple drinking areas, beer mats, bench seats.

Up the hill to Swanley, where life begins

Elton John (’83 vintage) on the stereo, of course, so the Dark Star feels like the most modern thing in the pub apart from the barmaid.  Cool, rich, NBSS 3+, but I regretted not having the Otter.

Darts and oddly-spaced awards from the 1980s
Classic Kent pub carpet

If I’d had more time (but you’re retired, retiredmartin !), I’d have no doubt sat down with an Otter and Susan Sallis’s  “Time of Arrival” ( This book is a wonderful trip back in time to the romantic age of the steam railway – Mrs L Hover).

But I can buy it on Kindle for 99p if I get desperate. That’s progress.

Informal library

And finally. For fans of southern toilet humour.


Welcome to the Beer Guide, Chequers.  I hope you don’t get overrun by tickers.



  1. Good post for a proper boozer. It may have been peaceful when you were in but I was in the day before and it was doing a roaring trade, hence presumably all the glasses. It was so busy I couldn’t warn them about your impending visit so that they could arrange an unscheduled closure. Never thought of Sevenoaks and Bromley in the same breath but maybe you are right.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel like these pubs deserve something about them on the web (though I may have been stretching it to create a full tourist guide to “Swanley In The Rain”. They are a certain sub-category of pubs, aren’t they ?

      Mrs RM used to travel from Tunbridge Wells to Bromley in the ’80s when it was a big shopping draw; think it may have lost that appeal now.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You are almost single handedly creating a digital memory of such pubs, which surely merits some kind of formal recognition. I will give further thought as to what form this should take (though it will almost certainly involve you drinking a yard of ale – GK of course – in an otherwise compromising situation).


      2. I have spent a fair part of several Augusts, holed up at the Bromley Court hotel for work reasons, and apart from the Partridge, I also didn’t find much in Bromley to detain me, TBH.

        There are some pleasant enough residential areas around the place, but that’s not really what we’re about here, is it?

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, well you should pop into the Queen’s, at Downe then, Paul.

      People have been known to do that, when Nigel’s having his Sunday lunch, to brighten his day. A bunch of LD-voting geography teachers and their kids, in clown outfits, with party squeakers, on one occasion, I think it was.

      “Terrorists”, your then favourite paper called them, I seem to recall.


  2. “Chastised for not updating my blog often enough, you can expect a flood of froth now.”

    LOL! I expect you’ll be considering putting in Captcha or some such now. 🙂

    “There’s been some top Guide boozers in the Darenth Valley over the years”

    Hextable? Either they’ve misspelled the family name from that sitcom Bill Cosby did years ago or that’s where Harry Potter learned his spells. 🙂

    “Up the hill to Swanley, where life begins”

    And a lovely view of the Indian takeaway across the way. 🙂

    “But I can buy it on Kindle for 99p if I get desperate.”

    Good lord. It’s $8.99 (Cdn) over here. Must be due to the shipping costs. 😉

    “Informal library”

    Now, now. Don’t knock it. My saintly mother (88) has been lamenting the fact she doesn’t get out as much as she used to and is having to re-read books.

    So I’ve sent her the first five books of Bernard Cornwall’s ‘The Last Kingdom’. 🙂
    (two years ago I sent her the first dozen books in the Poldark series)

    “I hope you don’t get overrun by tickers.”

    I’m guessing you don’t mean people with big hearts.*
    (* – tickers – get it?)


    Liked by 1 person

  3. Seeing the glasses being washed by hand is always the sign of a good pub.
    Some pubs over here take very little care of their glasses and just put them through a quick automatic rinse in filthy water full of rinse aid.
    My local rinses them in water by hand before putting them in the glass washer which only has water in and changes all glasses for new ones every year.
    The end result is the best pint in a town of pubs all selling exactly the same beer,served in the same way through lines that are all professionally cleaned by the breweries themselves.
    The only thing that can alter the state of the pint is the one thing only the pub has control over.
    I’m amazed more bar owners over here don’t get it.
    A manky glass means a manky pint.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. P P-T,
      Yes, indeed, glasses being washed by hand is always the sign of a good pub.
      Using a glass washing gadget, like using a microwave, is an indication of laziness, not caring about quality, and putting profits before customers.
      In some pubs the glasses might be no cleaner than that touch screen thing at a MuckDonalds venue.


    2. Ayup.

      At home I was my beer glasses by hand, hot or cold water depending. And I have a scrubby brush from the dollar store that is used only for the beer glasses; it’s not allowed to be used for any other glassware, dishes, pots, cutlery etc. 🙂


  4. The Chequers is my nearest pub and is technically my local. Sadly I don’t get there as often as I would like to. The current owners have done a great job in turning round a formerly lacklustre pub. Bromley is still a reasonable shopping centre but Tunbridge Wells has it’s own shopping centre now as well as The Pantiles. The big draw in the area is Bluewater.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for comments, Charlie. My in-laws live on the edge of T’Wells and it’s certainly upped its game on shopping but you’re right, Bluewater is the draw. Bromley was still very busy last Saturday, bit like the Kingston of the east.


      1. Fullers have won the Champion Beer Of Britain award a record five times, with three different beers, so moving Dark Star production to Chiswick might not be a bad thing, but they might not have capacity there so it might never happen.


      2. I’ve been told by an impeccably reliable source that the Dark Star Hophead that has suddenly started appearing in ‘Spoons branches is brewed at Chiswick. The ‘Spoons version tastes better to me, although the price-tag is an influencing factor !


      3. They can brew it under licence in Wolverhampton or Wroclaw for all I care. Provenance and heritage has always been bottom of my list of wants in a pub & pint ! Drives many CAMRA folk to despair though.


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