“If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Readers, I ask you - is there anything better on a hot summer's day than a cool, refreshing beverage? Especially when it is of the alcoholic variety? Further still, when it is served in a pint glass or a 500ml bottle? Debate all you will, but I say that a fine pint of ale or cider goes down a treat any time. Take for example the lovely pint of Larkin's ale you see before you.

Does that not make your mouth water?
Sis and I made a small excursion to Brabourne Lees yesterday to pick up a mower. Long story. But on the way back we decided not to take the route recommended to us by the kind sat-nav lady, but to go off the beaten path somewhat, through the villages of Aldington, Bilsington, Hamstreet and so forth. We made a further detour out to the village of Stone-in-Oxney, where we first tried The Ferry Inn for some noms. On entering the Ferry (a beautiful pub, by the way - no disrespect) we perused the Menu board and promptly changed our minds. The food there may be excellent, it may even be exquisite, but sorry, £9.95 for Ham, Egg and Chips? You're having a gee-raffe. That was the cheapest thing on the menu and it was hidden under Snacks.  £9.95 for a snack-sized portion of Ham, Egg and Chips. You can go whistle, mate.

So we ventured further into Stone and found that The Crown, which had been closed for something like three years, was under new ownership and was open for lunch. So in we went. We were not hopeful, based on what we had seen at The Ferry, but after looking at the menu we were pleasantly surprised. There were Main dishes as low as £5.50. Vegetarian options, too. So we settled in for a nice lunch.

The place has been refurbished, and looks quite posh.

Here's the menu. Not sure what you can make out, but click on the pic to make it larger.

My sis ordered the Cheese & Ham Omelette and chips, which was not the cheapest thing on the menu at £7.45, but was quite substantial, and as a nice touch, the chips came in a paper cone a la  seaside fish'n'chips.

Mine was the £5.50 Stuffed Courgettes, a Middle Eastern dish with rice, tomatoes, broad beans, cumin, onions, garlic, coriander and sweet paprika, served with a decent sized salad.

All in all a good place for lunch, and not too hideously priced. Unlike The Ferry. Sorry, Ferry Inn fans (or owners) if you're reading, but if the average price of an entree on your menu is £13, you aren't gonna get many takers, at least not in this day and age, unless you have managed to find yourself a niche market of local Range-Rover-driving-landed gentry gentleman farmers with more money than sense.

Anyway, back to what I was saying about cooling beverages on a hot summer day. My mother and stepdad came back from their vacation in Somerset a couple days ago and brought me back a prezzie, which was a lovely bottle of cider made by Sheppy's, based in Bradford-on-Tone, about halfway between Taunton and Wellington. This cider was different though - a bottle of cider blended with blackberry juice. I put it in the fridge when I got home and there it stayed until this afternoon when I broke it out and sat with Laura in the back garden in the bright sunshine. Now I'm not normally big on ciders but this one is lovely. And just look at that colour.

I wholeheartedly recommend that you rush out and buy a case or two.

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