The Life After Death edition

Life on the Costa del Kent…..

There is another new micro pub that has opened near here

The Tankerton Arms comes fully equipped with real ales,

a mobile phone ban and a merry crew…..

…..a place where like-minded folk go to make conversation

The Groover was travelling incognito and supping quietly…..

…..I would like to say in a corner…

…..but there are no corners…

…..and that’s the POINT

You engage, are engaged, one joins in the fun

As it happened a jolly lady turned up and parallel-

parked next to the G.-man

It turns out she was a lady-lawyer until she enjoyed

her own private epiphany and went native…..

…..a fine art degree later and J. emerged as a ‘naive’


…..besides the seaside in Kent

Change of location and a change of vocation !

…..and life just got better (check it out:

The G.-man soaked up all this interesting info about folk art

and ‘costa’ life …..


…She exclaimed….

“You’re very quiet, but what about you, what’s your story?”…

…”What do you do?”

I thought about this for a second and then coughed up…

…Honesty being the best policy

“I’m done with doing”

He wasn’t going to get away that easily

“I used to be a banker”

It was out…..

…..Like a splat of sick on the pavement

…..”No wonder you kept that quiet,’ she replied ! ! !”

You can take the boy out of the City…..

…..but it takes a lot to shake off the smell of unfettered greed

A spot of reinvention seems to be called for…

…just like the ex lady-lawyer


I don’t want to be born again as a Jewish bather…..

On the pebble beach in Herney yesterday…

…in the blistering heat I saw the frolicking families

All fully dressed…

…not an inch of exposed flesh

Look, if my religion dictated that I had to wear a pair of trunks

in the NORTH POLE ! …..

…..I would give the north pole a MISS

At least the men’s skull caps kept the ultra violet rays of their sun roofs

‘I’ll be back’ (The Terminator, 1984, Arnie S.)

As something

Just like J. the folk artist

Better smelling too !



The Life On The Farm edition

Faversham ho ! ! ! ! !

Well, not exactly on the farm…

…at least to it

…and that’s if you can find it

If you can it would be worth the effort

Seymour is the farmer’s name and he claims to know every

animal by name…..(porkers, bleaters and heifers)

…..he must have an incredible memory !

Luddenham Court, where it all happens is like a grown-up

version of Pop Larkin’s farm in ‘The Darling Buds of May’…

…H.E. Bates 1958 novel or the TV series from 1991-93

…and if you ever wondered what you would grow like / into

on a diet of only red meat from day one…..

…..Farmer Seymour will provide the answer


The real key is that the animals are ONLY fed on feed sourced

on the farm

Planet Organic / Farm Organic whatever you want to call it…

…it’s farming Enid Blyton-style…..established 1898

Next stop…

For everything else you need to go to Macknades Farm shop…

… the same family’s safe hands for 150 years

This is exactly like those wonderful American farm shops that

you often find…..err… the US

…..they have the longest cheese counter in England !

…..they have a range of Scandie crisp breads (The G.-man has

some Nordic form)

Look, they have pretty much anything you could

dream of…..

Guaranteed to get your taste buds dancing

There’s also a great Italian restaurant / cafe if overwhelmed

by a lust to eat you can’t wait till you get home

The real deal too (The Macknade’s have Cuomo blood bubbling

round their veins)

As part of the ‘farm complex’ there is also…..

‘Herman’s Plaice’ ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

The best fish shop in Kent !

Apparently Herman is Dutch and the name is actually an


…..he meant ‘Place’

Serendipity rules, OK ?

Plus an antique / bric-a-brac centre (check out Sister Act)

Plus an up-market wine merchant

Everything except fresh MEAT

But with old Seymour just down the road in the sticks

You’re done !

Now where’s Mariette Larkin ? (The TV version, Catherine Zeta Jones, please)

I could use a little help ! ! !



In Praise Of Small Things (and Women) edition


Not Herne Bay

Not even a village…

A hamlet…..technically small and insignificant


How many ‘not even a village’ can boast…..?

Their very own Vicar of Dibley

Well, Herne has its very own vicar-ette

The lucky Elaine Richardson presides over a largely 14th century

church (the main building campaign began in 1301)

…..but Herne is lucky to have her

It gets better…..

Herne also boasts its very own brewer-ette

Step up Karen Goody…..

Now there’s a very special girl…..

How many girls can claim to keep thousands of men satisfied ?

Karen can ! ! !

…..with her special brews from the Braggs Lane brewery

Let’s big up Goody’s Ales (

Not bad, two special ladies with the fast track to temporal 

and eternal pleasure

Just get them in the right order and you’ll be fine !

There’s more ! 

There can’t be ! !

Well there is

A funky windmill built in 1781 to grind corn

An Italianate mansion (now Strode Park) built in 1862

An Arts and Craft masterpiece built in 1905 (now Casa Groover)

…..and the smallest pub in Britain

The Butchers Arms

The first micropub in britain (

…..often imitated, never equalled

…..all 168 square feet of her…..

…..maximum of 32 revellers as long as you don’t mind

risking intimacy while you sup  ! ! !

A temple of kitsch

…..and proud of it

…..more rubber chickens than imbibers

…..a bastion of cliche

…..there really is a sign that says…..

‘Beer ! Helping ugly people have sex since 1762’

The more awful the better, I suppose

Nonetheless, this is the best small pub in the world

…..and it’s the Groover’s local…..

…..where he masquerades under the pub-given alias of…..


… in Nick Leeson

…..Well why not ?

…..The Groover played his part in destroying the world’s economy

as a small cog in a bank

So there it is

‘Small is Beautiful’ (E.F. Schumacher, 1973)





The Heaven On Earth edition

If you get to the real heaven when you finally shuffle

off the mortal coil…..

… can reasonably expect to find the Holy Trinity


Meanwhile back on planet earth…..

Planet Thanet to be precise…..

you can find another kind of Holy Grail

The perfect nightspot with…..

The earthly holy trinity of BEER, BOOKS and JAZZ

Welcome to the world of The Chapel, Broadstairs

A gothic-windowed affair that has long since been

deconsecrated as a holy liminal and rechristened as a

temple of temporal good things

Second hand books in bookcases that stretch up to the


Spread over two levels and set out as an atrium (church-style )

Coffee, home-made pies, lots of local cheeses AND

A full and proper and properly kept selection of REAL ALE

Drawn not pulled ! ! ! (technical beer talk but an important

point to any aficionado)

And beer with amusingly clever names……


No, it’s not a typo


It’s still beer coloured


This is also still a beer and not a Nancy Mitford character

The music was a revelation…….

no intros…..

no talk…..

no messin’…..

Just eased into a selection of well known songs but

delivered quietly…..

…..Look, if you could describe jazz adequately you wouldn’t

need to listen to it

‘Play Misty for me’ (Erroll Garner, 1954) was a real treat

The fresh-faced teenager with the funky bass was a star

slapping out ‘I Keep Forgettin’ (Michael McDonald, 1982)

In the midst of so many earthly delights the G.-man was in

seventh heaven

Even the little beer-puller-ette took a turn on the drums and

stroked the skins skilfully

Lulled and warmed by good company and the holy trio

It was eventually time for bed………..

Giulietta purred along the A299 homeward bound……



There was something lying across the fast lane


The Groover saw it too late to do anything  ! ! !

At motorway speed it wasn’t possible to take evasive action

But he knew exactly what to do to best straddle the red and white

object as if it were a sleeping policeman in London then…..

…..Closed his eyes and let Giulietta take over

(Moral: when it gets really tricky get a lady involved)



Safety restored

Heaven Can Wait (Warren Beatty, 1978)

If you ever get lost on the south-east coast on a Monday evening this

is the answer to all your prayers !



The Shooting edition

Britain is great again…

Great Britain !

Our conquering athletes are defeating all before them

The Froome Dog is just about to carry off of the Tour

Our cricketers are making the Aussies tremble in the Tests

The Lions humbled the Wallabies in the tour down-under

Mo Farah just broke a 28 year old 1500 metre British record

Andy Murray tamed Novak Djokovic at Wimbledon

Suddenly from being a 7th / 8th / 10th string country…..

…..we are now knocking at the door of the top table

GREAT again ! ! !

So basking in this reflected glory the Groover set off along the

river for the morning pant

Along the Albert Embankment he passed the clubbers that were

wending their way home from the legion of clubs under the

Vauxhall arches…..

…..they all talk really loudly

…..practically shouting

…..because for the past many hours that’s just what they had to

do to communicate over the excesses of the clubs

…..they also look like hell

…..staying up all night doing drugs and alcohol is not conducive to

a healthy glow…..

…..or any kind of glow at all

Next stop Lambeth Bridge

But, No !

It can’t be…..

…’s all cordoned off

……blue and white security tape and emergency vehicles everywhere

… and vans all over the bridge

This was BIG

I really like running over Lambeth Bridge…..

…..running the gauntlet of the massive york stone paving stones

It’s wasn’t happening today

I hove over

Went up to security and asked what’s happened

SHOOTING, came the reply

Without hesitating it came straight out…..

Good guy or bad guy ?, I enquired

There was a brief pause…..

A momentary panic set in…..

What if someone’s granny had just been gunned down ?

What if a teenage tourist had just been brutally slain ?


Then a grin spread out over the man’s face…..

‘You are a funny guy, mate’

‘They’re shooting a film, the bridge will reopen at 2pm’


So we can safely say, since no one actually died…..

‘He shoots, he scores’

If our footballers could do that in the World Cup in Brazil

We would be truly GREAT again

Don’t hold you breath ! ! !