Well, we’ll be the judge of that, won’t we ?
First stop in Sussex (West) is that intriguing breed, the community-owned pub.
Balcombe’s Half Moon could be one of those all-out gastros that guarantee gentkefolk a supply of £7.95 sandwiches, or one of the drinking clubs where middle-class pashmina wearers block the bar and the front door to keep strangers out on Sunday afternoon (somewhere near Cheltenham springs to mind).
Pleasingly, it covers both camps, showing the poshos to the restaurant at the door and keeping some sense of a boozer in the main bar.
Mind, it’s not Staines. Here boozing means those goldfish bowls, not pints. And you’ll know from the furniture you’ve left Bootle behind.
The Guvnor was welcoming and chatty, arguing about the pronunciation of Carabao.
An enjoyable Harvey’s (NBSS 3), albeit a bit sweet and chilled, and better than I find it in the many GBG gastropubs round the M23.
It soon warmed up as temperatures pushed towards 20 degrees outside, where all the action was. My table wobbled a bit, though not as badly as in the Scottish Stores.
Children ran around with giant twigs, Helly Hansen ladies compared house extensions, and the banter improved as a gigantic bee landed in the artisan gin, prompting a rush indoors.
If you think I hated it, you’d be wrong. It felt an entirely suitable pub for the residents of Balcombe, and a group of pretend walkers with their pre-creased OS maps in plastic pouches.
They’d come to admire the views to the Weald, and some half-timbered loveliness.
And to get their Ugg boots cleaned.