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Published: 11:30, 09 August 2019
| Updated: 14:46, 27 January 2020
Each group of locals in the White Horse has their own table and defends their territory with some vigour.
This roadside boozer in Headcorn may not get too many visitors from further afield, but Alice the barmaid was very welcoming and more than happy to let me sample all the bitters before making a decision.
Finding a seat in the bar among the assembled locals was a tougher challenge, so we made our way through to the red quarry-tiled dining room on the right hand side.
But, we weren’t alone for long as the outside, decked area is the favourite spot for all the pub’s smokers and, it quickly became apparent, smoking is the No.1 pastime here - the vast majority of the pub filed past to pollute their lungs during the next 15 minutes or so.
When Alice dutifully took her turn she did kindly offer to replenish my pint on the way back in.
There were three ales on offer but I passed on the Young’s and Courage and went for the 3.6 per cent offering from the Tonbridge Brewery instead. This had a very creamy head to start but it disappeared within the blink of an eye. However, it had a good flavour and, if you get the chance, is well worth trying.
There was a chunky darts trophy on the mantelpiece over the small open fire but no sign of a dartboard anywhere. It was only on closer examination I found the board carefully hidden behind a picture on the wall. The darts are only allowed out on a Wednesday.
There was also an old fashioned style serving hatch which allowed me to see through into the bar so when a couple of chairs became free on one table we were able to re-join the populated area of the pub.
Back in the more boisterous arena I noted many features you might expect to see in your standard village local – an incredibly bright and lively fruit machine, a screen to show sports (although it was on blue screen and set to play Absolute Radio’s Classic Rock Party), a board advertising sandwiches for £3 (which looked good value) and a couple of typical sayings written on a beam – ‘Education is important, beer is importanter’ on one side and, from Oscar Wilde, ‘Work is the curse of the drinking classes’ on the other.
But, the real entertainment was emanating from the assembled locals as their various discussions and mickey taking shifted ever closer to full on abuse and arguments. As things got louder there was a lot more ‘swearing on the lives of their kids’, shushing from even louder women and inventive insults.
Ray, in the flowery shirt, was reminded his 9pm cab had arrived no less than five times before he even got close to making a move – he was far too busy disagreeing with a fellow in a bright green shirt and shorts about what they should call themselves.
He was finally persuaded to depart and Alice confirmed this ritual takes place every Saturday night as regular as clockwork.
By now the incredibly colourful and bright fruit machine was being played by a James Corden lookalike wearing trendy mustard trainers and his mate, who bore more than a bit of a resemblance to Joey Essex. The ‘famous’ duo weren’t winners so I tried a few bob myself but it went the usual way.
One final thing is definitely worthy of mention, the tiled floor, both approaching and, inside the toilets is something to behold. It’s like one of those puzzles so eagerly shared on social media a few years ago. Be careful though, I think it was definitely playing with the minds of a few locals who visited the facilities later in the evening!
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