On Sunday morning we headed off to the in-laws, after the traditional small English breakfast at Hitchin Spoons.
Truly, there is nothing sadder than a Spoons before John Smiths Smooth can be served.
The biggest obstacle to the 90 minute trip round the M25 and down the A21 to Southborough is remembering the top-up of the Dart Charge. Incidentally, I understand you lose your credit balance if you don’t use it, which seems a bit mean.
Just as we crossed the Thames the downpour started. What is it with the south ?
Anyway, we opted to park up at the top of the in-laws lane opposite the Imperial.
This should be a great little Shepherd Neame street corner boozer, but always seems to be between major change, verging between posh Italian gastropub and London overflow boozer with blokes at the bar.
The in-laws hardly ever visit, except when we’re there, so they were pleased to see what the latest owners were up to. All the best pubs in Kent have been run by octogenarians for at least 53 years, of course.
Last time they seemed to have half a dozen lagers and stale cask; now they were proudly displaying a CAMRA Most Improved Pub 2019 certificate and the two beers with lovely handpumps were well into GBG standard (reports my special correspondent).
And the Italian food, served in the bar rather than a closed-off restaurant area, was superb, as was the unfussy service.
Nice to see a Sheps local back on track, even if the locals were all drinking San Miguel.
NB It took HOURS to get home. What ARE they doing on the M1 at Luton ?