Two weeks on the good SSCV Thialf followed by an illuminating 5 days on the SSMAV Regalia is quite enough time on the blue wavy stuff for this particular individual without a glass or two of local ale. Mick P, incapacitated following a operation on his bent right arm needed some medicine too and Chris said he’d join us to make sure we took it.
£5.64 at the station bought a return ticket to Minster in Thanet and yours truly hopped onto the HS1 at 1253 lmt (HS a bit of a misnomer until the train gets to Ashford and joins the fast line but say what you like, with its bullet like nose and stylish striping, it does look the part) and trundled sedately along the coastal line to Ramsgate, changed choochoos and boarded the 1122 to Charing Cross via Canterbury. Said chuffing-billy then carted allatsea, dressed in his finest quaffing garb (bib, big pockets for hankies, emergency fare home sewn into lapel etc etc) majestically westwards to Minster in Thanet, a fine abbey village with more pubs in it than is good for folks wott are (temporarily at least) well wedged and thirsty.
There’s been an explosion in recent times, of the phenomena known as the micro-pub, certainly in East Kent. Dozens of these places are springing up and, mostly, being very successful. A common theme…… they are small, the do not sell draft lagers, they specialise in ‘real’ ales and ciders, but do sell wines and sometimes, though rarely, spirits. They do NOT have juke boxes or fruit machines, they do not serve food other than simple pies and cheeses, they are fuckwit free and devoid of oiks, they encourage conversation and friendliness and they are pleasant places to be in.
Allatsea pictured yesterday, a grand day out indeed.
At £3 a pint they’re reasonably priced too. The ‘Hair of the Dog’ at Minster has been ‘open for around 18 months’ explained the very charming barmaid, and ‘things are going well’. Indeed they were , a very very very fine afternoon was spent drinking Westons Gold, Bexleys Pale and chatting to some colourful and entertaining locals before it was time to get a bit nearer to home and back into ‘can be collected by missus in car’ range. So it was then that at 4pm we flopped onto the train back to Ramsgate, meandered down the hill to Harbour Street and slid into the Horse and Groom for a couple of pints of Shep’s rather too easy to drink ‘Spitfire’. Gorgeous swag it be mmmmmm.
Anyway by then allatsea’s stamina was starting to slip a bit and the Horse and Groom, despite its central and easily found location, is a bit awkward to get to by jamjar so prudence dictated that we wobble a bit nearer to the harbour and have the last one or two in yet another micropub, the Hovering Boat. More golden pale loveliness brewed locally was poured down the old throat and then the time came to call in a few favours from her indoors. Reluctant at first but game none the less mem-sahib allatsea turned up in the faithful Toyota and whisked us back to Birchington, Acol and Margate.
With Chris and Mick delivered safely to their respective manors it was time to jump straight into the gawjiss vedgy curry that memsahib had conjured up earlier. It doesn’t get much better than that in allatsea’s world, he’s very lucky and he knows it. Simple dimple it may be, but it suits well.