Good though a fortnight in France was, I’m sure you will agree I had earned the right to a night in Kent, and a Good Beer Guide tick. In Margate to be precise, which is now an exciting mix of delightful and distressed.
The GBG target was the Laughing Barrel, a walk along the cliff top to Cliftonville. It’s a more distinctive micro pub than many in these parts. It looks like someone’s house but in fact it’s half of a former pub called the Northdown that has been brought back to life after a period of closure. The other half is a pharmacy.
The origins of the expression appears to be this.
3 Kentish beers were on cask and others on keg in a friendly pubby atmosphere, created by the couple who own it.
Returning to Margate to collect Madame Luna and dog, we walked along the beach to Xylo. What a fine place this is. No food but can bring your own, with an excellent chippy round the corner, which we did.
The next hour or so were spent trying some of their fine beers and playing carrom with a bare-footed German. Well it is Margate.
It’s like a table top type of pool, played with fingers, our new friend demonstrating a drag that would have had him drummed out of the German Subbuteo Championships before his bare feet could touch the ground.
At Xylo we met two guys out celebrating a birthday who joined the carrom enthusiasts, and Vieve and Jess, two impressive young women who reappeared a little later in the Little Swift and joined us in the sort of free-ranging conversation that you only get in pubs. Little Swift is super crafty and is the only place we’ve seen Madame Luna’s favourite perry, Gregg’s Pitt, on draught.
They asked where we were staying and, when told the Walpole Bay Hotel, Vieve asked if we had been offered the tour. I didn’t know what she meant so she described a ballroom and exhibits on each floor that essentially made it a museum. The next morning we wandered the corridors, finding rooms and corridors full of artwork and miscellany such as a typewriter collection (google it, kids) and other curiosities.
The final word goes to Margate’s take on the current unedifying political crisis in the UK.