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Friday, 5 September 2014

We're going down to Margate .

The trip to visit T'other 'arf's spiritual home and birthplace,Kent, was on. We were staying with Jane's dad, in Margate, while we were here, and visiting relatives, so best behaviour expected. As if I know any other way of behaving.
The promised early departure failed to happen. The 06-00 start ended up 08-10 !!Never mind. At least the weather was set fine and we only had 250+ miles to journey. I usually travel via the A46/A1/ route, but, with time on our hands, we decided on the A16/A17 route down to Peterborough before joining the A1. Although we probably didn't save much time in reality, it did seem quicker somehow, and more pleasant. After a rather uneventful journey we approached the outskirts of Margate, the birthplace of Buster Bloodvessel (Douglas Trendle), Ballard Berkeley of “Fawlty Towers” fame (The Major) and actor Peter Barkworth, then, customarily, we got, well not lost, more misplaced!!We hove to 5 hours after leaving, which wasn't too bad if you are not suffering with Achilles Tendonosis. Ouch. Thank you painkillers.
What is it? Not seen at home in years!
After dropping off our bag and presenting “The Ol' Man” (Tony) with his trophy of Lincolnshire's finest Haslet, Pork Pie and Plum Bread ( all sadly lacking in our homestead,I might add. Even after regular protestations and much begging by the Author!!!!) we walked the 100 yards or so to “The Wheatsheaf” on Northdown Park Road. A Hungry Horse eatery, this was definitely a “locals” boozer which, sadly, was reflected in the service. Whilst we waited for our “Old Speckled Hen” and “Greene King IPA”, one of said locals just walked up, tapped his glass on the bar and was served his lager straight away. As I mentioned earlier, Douglas Trendle used to frequent the area. His band anyone??? The beer was no more than OK and although welcome, not outstanding in anyway, so we left and rallied the troops, in the form of Tony's stepson and wife, Darren and Wendy.We arranged to tour the seafront and Old Town area, a place I have wandered round before.
We arrived at the “Turner Contemporary” and first, ventured down the Harbour arm.At the bottom was the “Lighthouse Bar” a very nice establishment, but no real ale, just “posh” bottled beers. I had already espied the “Harbour Arms” micropub on our walk past, so we encamped back to there. Wow! What a boozer. All
Says it all,really.
 Margate's Harbour Arms
on the harbour arm at Margate
beers straight from the barrel. All £3 a pint. “Get in there, my son” I thought. This refurbished fishermens store is wonderful. Nothing flash. No toilets (public lavs next door) but the ale sold it.I started on Cumberland Breweries “Corby Noir” an Irish style Stout at 4.5%. I was joined in the round by halves of “Raspberry Twist” cider, 4% and “Gold Digger” from Northumberland also weighing in at 4%.Wendy, our “des”, was on soft drinks for the evening I finished off in here with a beer from Lancashire's Old School Brewery, “Textbook”, a pale bitter and only 3.8%. A repeat perscription, with an increased dosage on the cider,was the rest of the order.This is a must visit pub. I will be visiting again soon.
The Lifeboat micropub.
After these, we made our way to a favourite place of mine,The Lifeboat, in Market St. Another straight from the barrel micropub, serving good beer. We chose Wantsum's “Dynamo”, 4.6% and quite fruity tasting Golden Ale, Hook Norton's 5.3% "Flagship" Pale Ale and Gadd's 3.8% "FestivAle", another quite fruity pale beer.All enjoyed immensely and hats off to these little micropubs and their understanding of what "serious" drinkers want.
T'other 'arf and I stayed in town for one more, and headed for Margate's oldest pub, The Northern Belle. We were quite surprised at the lack of people in this once popular inn. A place that has a good range of Shepherd Neame beers on should attract a few more followers. Anyway, we opted for the "Brilliant Ale" a 4% beer that was a brilliant ale to look at and taste.We certainly enjoyed the atmosphere in all the pubs visited in the "tourist" area, and I am sure that this area has the potential to pull in ale drinkers from far and wide with the offerings we experienced. Well, now the walk back, kebab in hand. Nothing can go wrong. A word to the wise. Northdown Road and Northdown Park Road are different roads.They sort of go the same way but end in differing areas. Get them wrong and it's microwaved kebab time. "DING" Oh dear!!
Cheers and keep it "Real"