What skills or lessons have you learned recently?” asks Word Press this morning, as an unwanted prompt for a blogger with writer’s block. The only lesson you need ever learn is “Don’t take the A57 in the snow“.

We gave up yesterday afternoon, made a 15 point turn, and took the lengthy M62 trip back to Sheffield we should have taken first time.

The other lesson is, of course, NEVER believe a micropub’s opening times.

The Hidden Treasure in Dymchurch isn’t very far from our Rye caravan, the journey takes you though Romney Marsh (always a joy), and I did get to see the star in the east which heralds the arrival of your favourite pub ticker now that Duncan is distracted by Turkish Delight(s).

St Mary’s Bay runs into Dymchurch, a place I can only recall whizzing chuntering through on the little toy railway that exposes you to the biting cold when the boys had to be taken to see Thomas the Tank Engine every weekend.

Quiet little place, bar the sound of fruit machines and falling pennies in the amusement arcade which was piping out “Tom Hark“.

Noel Coward stayed here” proclaimed one of the older buildings, but I’d just missed him, and none of the pubs seemed to be opening till later,

and the new GBG micro, not at all, despite the open door. “Sorry, open tomorrow” the message from the back room.

I’ll be back, as Maltmeister would say.

Having travelled all of 20 minutes out east, I thought I’d revisit the Star in St Mary in the Marsh, the sort of place you imagine reading “Great Expectations” and which I rated highly 20 years ago.

Crucially, returning unnecessarily two decades later means I can’t actually remember it, and I guess it’s had a couple of changes of landlady in the mean time.

Doesn’t look much changed, though I see they’ve added that award winning craft ale from Padstow the hipsters love.

If there’s a better combo that Doom Bar in a GBG pub and the Charlie Daniels Band I’ve yet to find it.

Yee Ha !!!! as Joan “US” Southworth would no doubt say.

In truth, the Star’s merits are in the welcome and conviviality rather than the building itself (giant fireplace apart).

How are you ? This sun makes all the difference doesn’t it ?” asks the landlady.

Hi-Vis and padded jacket at the bar, James Bay on the stereo, NBSS 3.5 pint of Doom in hand.

It’s lovely, and I get to slag off Reigate by adding my two penn’orth to a conversation about the merits of Redhill, whose Spoons we agree is a gem.

Lovely place, though these return visits make it less likely I’ll complete the GBG a second successive year, but at least I get to bring you cute signs on the Gents,

and the lone word “DAVE” (in capitals) scratched on the wall. Probably in 1871.

And some of you may view that as time well spent.


  1. Good to see the Star at St Mary in the Marsh is still open. The youngest of my two sisters lived nearby, in a rather brutal, and not very well executed, conversion of an old school house.
    That was in a previous existence, and she lives just outside Nottingham now.

    You don’t need to know that of course, apart from saying that was probably the last time I visited the Star (quarter of a century ago?)

    As a town, I much prefer Reigate, although Redhill probably has a few better pubs. I spent enough time, changing trains at both towns, over the summer, when I was completing the sections of the NDW between Merstham and Guildford.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s just that level of personal detail I always enjoy in your own writing, Paul.

      Reigate undoubted has the prettier buildings, but the A25 ruins the town and the pubs are not a patch on those in Redhill, for all sorts of reasons !


  2. We missed our chance to visit the Star on our drive from Deal to Hastings. We passed close by but it may have been too early in the day for it to be open. I am sure it was on Dave’s list of possibilities.

    Liked by 1 person

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