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Carole Owens, landlady of The Fat Ox pub in Tenterden, hits back at anonymous letter writer

By Rachael Woods

A pub landlady who has been the target of a malicious letter-writing campaign has hit back with a message of her own.

Carole Owens of The Fat Ox in St Michael’s, Tenterden, receives a “couple of letters a year” penned by an anonymous writer that are full of insults about the characterful rural inn.

The latest letter branded areas of her Ashford Road hostelry as “shabby” and “disgraceful” and Carole, 56, has had enough.

Landlady Carole Owens has been receiving anonymous letters
Landlady Carole Owens has been receiving anonymous letters

Using her pub’s chalk board she wrote a note to her critic: “Dear Anon, As you are not prepared to reveal your identity you are currently ‘nobody’. As a ‘nobody’ your opinions, petty actions and letters mean ‘nothing’”.

Her message in chalk went on to say that unless the person became a ‘somebody’ their letters would be treated with the contempt they deserve.

“The letters started a few years back with complaints about cigarette butts being left outside the pub and litter in the road,” said Carole

“I sweep up outside my pub regularly but some litter will always come back as it blown over the road from the shops and is dropped by kids.

This is how Carole Owens responded
This is how Carole Owens responded

“The letters also say my garden furniture is not up to scratch and complain about my handwritten signs and that the building needs redecorating.”

The weatherboarded Fat Ox dates back to the late 18th century and has an inglenook fireplace, with Carole taking pride in the exterior, which she has decorated with bunting and hanging baskets and flower-filled containers.

But the letter writer has blasted Carole for her upkeep of the premises. “They said that my pub is at the entrance to the Jewel of the Weald (Tenterden) and is not giving the right impression,” said Carole.

The pub is owned by Shepherd Neame, which is responsible for painting the building’s exterior but Carole says that there have been no other complaints about it being sub-standard.

One of the anonymous letters
One of the anonymous letters

Carole says the notes are usually handwritten but this latest one was typed on a computer and written in capital letters.

She said: “I can tell it’s from the same person as the same envelope made of recycled paper has been used and it is always just addressed to the ‘Fat Ox Pub, Tenterden’”.

She added: “The person writing the letters hasn’t even got the courage to put their name on them.”

The latest letter said “I am writing to bring your attention to the very poor appearance of your premises. The car park, the seating area and the shabby state of the pub are disgraceful especially as it’s on the approach to our pleasant town known as the ‘Jewel of the Weald’.

“Most of St Michael’s village has a pleasing appearance and it would be appreciated if something could be done to clean and tidy up the Fat Ox.”

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