Beaver Moon Under Water
Sliding doors. It’s the Pimlico of Kent. Nobody boards. Nobody departs. Until we arrive. Martin Mill railway station. It’s a fast hour and a half’s walk along deserted rural laneways from Deal or Dover or somewhere east coast. So we don’t board at Martin Mill but later we will depart for London from said eerily silent platform.
In 1946 George Orwell famously stipulated 11 criteria for his perfect London pub in a 1946 edition of the Evening Standard. We’ve filled the lacuna, stepped into the breach, and come up with 11 of our own for the perfect country pub. The difference is we’ve found our ideal destination. The Lantern Inn. Marty rocks.
- The building should be around half a millennium in age.
- The pub should be in a tiny historic village set in rolling countryside with just a hint of sea salt in the air.
- There should be lit fires (“In winter there is generally a good fire burning”), low beamed ceilings, dark panelling, snugs, oil paintings of long forgotten gentry, and a piano (unlike the Moon Under Water).
- An apartment on the first floor for guests should be similarly furnished to the pub downstairs.
- The staff should be friendly and easy on the eye.
- Food should be great in a relaxed sort of way.
- Lunch can last all afternoon.
- A cat called Boris roams freely from bar stools to dining chairs.
- Like the Moon Under Water, there should be a “fairly large garden”.
- A smugglers’ tunnel runs under the feet of unsuspecting guests.
- It all oozes Orwellian “atmosphere”.
So what on earth happened to the dame who decided to up her game and wear a ship on her head to a party a century of two ago? There’s a print of her in the ground floor dining room of The Lantern Inn. No doubt she was thinking, well, let’s go all out patriotic and celebrate the latest naval victory in style. So she stepped out in her slightly over the top buffoned powdered and hopefully deloused and demoused wig? It turns out somebody has to wear something epoch ending. She ushered in the strict Puritanical Victorian no nonsense times quicker than you could chant “Yankee doodle went to town…”