Land Girls, Beer and Sunshine

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

One of the things I did over my holiday that warrants a little more attention is a trip to a pub.

Pub visits are not normally a note worthy event for me. I am a CAMRA member and I love trying different real ales, so pubs and beer festivals are common haunts for me (and don’t think I don’t get funny looks teaming a vintage frock with a pint of ale). This, however, was a special pub. The Red Lion, Snargate on Romney Marsh.

My Dad found out about the pub, which is on CAMRA’s National Inventory of unspoilt Heritage Pubs, and decided to take us all along for an afternoon drink while we were visiting.

The pub has been in the same family since 1911 and has remained virtually unchanged since WWII. They don’t sell lager and all the real ales are poured straight from the cask, food consists of crisps and pickled eggs, and the toilets are outside. It’s also one of the few pubs to still open at 11am and close again for the afternoon at 3pm. Which is perhaps lucky as I could easily have spent all day sitting in the sunny beer garden.

The pub is currently owned by Doris Jemison, now in her 80s. She was serving behind the bar when we arrived and is going slightly deaf, which made ordering a challenge. She spent some time looking for biscuits after I asked if I could take pictures before we managed to clear up what the hell I was going on about.

Doris is an ex Land Girl, I had a quick chat with her and it seems she used to make pyjamas and shirts in Penge, before joining the Land Army and being posted to the farms at Snargate when she was 18. She never left, and the pub she now runs belonged to her husband, and before that to his Father, meaning it’s been in the family for over 100 years now. She told me that when her husband died 26 years ago she just decided to keep the pub “how the men had it”, and it’s never been modernised at all.

The pub consists of 3 small rooms. A central bar, a games room and a back room with a piano, all of which are decorated with WWII memorabilia and other bits and bobs, some of it original decor, and other bits new additions. I spent a thoroughly enjoyable 20 minutes clomping round the rooms in stupid platform shoes (I didn’t know where we were going, it was a surprise, not that, that would have stopped me) taking photographs and reading posters, much to amusement of 2 local men who wouldn’t let me take their photos as they were supposed to be at work, not drinking pint pots of beer in the pub.

There’s no TV, music, fruit machines or other flashing games, and the rooms are lit only by one electric light each, and in the evening a few candles.

There are also traditional pub games like bar skittles, which I am very bad at.

After failing badly at pub games the sun actually made an appearance and we took a second pint out to the gorgeous secluded pub garden where we spent a happy hour watching a Pea Hen running round calling for it’s mate. The pub is really out of the way, so a bit of an adventure to get to, but it’s an amazing little time capsule of history, and it also sells jolly nice beer.

I loved the chance to meet a real life Land Girl as well. Doris, it seems, is a bit of a local legend and was very proud to tell us that she’d been interviewed recently by the BBC for a program on Land Girls, so keep your eyes peeled for Doris on the TV!

12 Responses
  • Penny Dreadful Vintage
    May 23, 2012

    How wonderful, I really want to go there. Just my kind of pub. And isn’t Doris a treasure.

  • Vintage Virgin
    May 23, 2012

    Oh how ace! .. I love these types of pubs, they are just so much more intersting than the usual chains and fancy gastro pubs that seem to be everywhere. I too love real ale and love to go to Beer festivals when I can. But I usully drink gin as I relaised just how many calories are in just one pint!

    • Gemma
      May 23, 2012

      Ha ha! Yes, that is a problem! Worth it though!

  • LandGirl1980
    May 23, 2012

    WOW. Breathless with jealousy! A PROPER pub? A beer garden? A LAAAAND GIRL!
    *swoon-THUMP*

    • Gemma
      May 23, 2012

      I thought of you while I was there!

  • Fi Phillips
    May 23, 2012

    What a wonderful find. I wouldn’t mind trying ‘double vision cider’.

  • Louise
    May 23, 2012

    It sounded like a fab place when you tweeted it, but seeing it, I really want to go.

  • Reginald Spleen
    May 23, 2012

    In case anyone was worried the peahens partner showed up just before we left.

  • MISSY VINTAGE
    May 23, 2012

    I’ve been looking forward to this post, since you tweeted. Your dad obviously rocks. My dad just wonders what it is I actually ‘do’ sigh. Must watch the Land Girl programme, must look out for that one!

  • VintaeAgent
    May 24, 2012

    Great post, super pictures too. Bet your face lit up when you rocked up :)
    Best wishes, Howard.

  • Marie
    May 24, 2012

    Oh my- I have always wanted to visit a real pub- and an American bar is nothing like one! What a great post!

  • Angie
    May 24, 2012

    Cool pub but what I want to know is where are the shoes and pencil skirt from?! *clothesoverbeer* !! Xx