Published: 11:30, 02 August 2019
| Updated: 14:13, 03 August 2020
Had a busy day, think you deserve a drink for your efforts? Then spare a thought for Richard at the Queen Charlotte.
You know how police officers look young these days or is it teachers – well, believe me, drinkers are looking even younger.
The first thing I noticed stepping into this Rochester High Street boozer, apart from the wall of heat, was a babe-in-arms surrounded by adoring, cooing regulars. There can’t be many better celebrations than wetting a baby’s head and this one was in full swing.
But, it was only when landlord Richard started wandering about filling in a health and safety form that I got a chance to check on the age of his newest customer.
He said casually: “I delivered her at 6.20 this morning, it’s been quite a day”.
Being a bloke I simply accepted the explanation and approached the blonde barmaid, with her hair piled up on her head, to order some drinks.
I told her it was incredibly warm in the pub but she reckoned, even with hair up, it was hotter her side of the bar.
I asked what her best beer was and she said Kronenbourg. I said: “No, not lager, real ale”, and she said: “In that case honey it’s Stella”.
Returning to Mrs SD with my pint of Open Gate Golden Ale and a large glass of rose I was sent back, not for anything as important as drinks, but instead the stuff women have to know – Annabelle Elizabeth was six pounds exactly.
I only had eyes for my pint, for those interested, its stats were 4% at a cost £3.20, and it was also a real little beauty, a truly lovely pint.
By now the heat was getting to Mrs SD and her glasses were actually steaming up – that hasn’t happened for a while - so we headed out to the garden, although it’s really a raised deck area, through a bit of a scruffy corridor. In any event, it meant we avoided watching the England women cricketers getting pasted by the Aussies yet again as this was showing on three of the four screens.
You might hear the squeak of the brakes from the nearby trains outside, but it’s certainly a lot fresher and the twee bunting and geckos pinned to the walls weren’t too offensive.
This is a Craft Union pub and does everything it can to keep as many punters coming in as possible – loads of offers, cheap drinks and a whole variety of special evenings. Free pool Thursday, there’s even a Sunday meat raffle and who doesn’t like a meat raffle?
It’s basically a sports bar so you get all the standard stuff – a stack of screens, darts, pool, a couple of fruities.
One regular, Stephen, who headed south 22 years ago and reckons he doesn’t even own a coat, told me it was the previous landlord who put this one back on the straight and narrow.
The current landlady and new mother has only had it six months or so and the latest refurb must have been only a few years ago, so perhaps most of the hard work was done for them. Either way, the furnishings and decoration are still in great nick.
Another poor fellow, who was dressed like an American football referee, was obviously on a first date. There can’t be many blokes out there with less dress sense than me so the locals quite rightly gave him a good ribbing.
Of course, this being Rochester and a Saturday night, there were two bouncers on the door and the female one was by far the most intimidating but it didn’t look like kicking off, perhaps the positive influence of the new arrival, so hopefully they enjoyed a quiet night.
I hope Annabelle Elizabeth enjoyed a peaceful first night too.
* For the record: Richard was woken at 5.20am when his wife’s waters broke. He called for an ambulance, but before it arrived he had delivered baby Annabelle, cleaned her and popped her onto her mum’s chest before starting his shift in the pub. What a team.