Friday, 6 November 2009

Fireworks at the Beacon

I spent an excellent evening last night, enjoying the fireworks display at the Beacon, in Rusthall - a village that adjoins Tunbridge Wells. Situated at the end of the quaintly named, Tea Garden Lane, the Beacon looks out across an area known as "Happy Valley". During the summer, one can sit out on the terrace and admire the spectacular views towards Ashdown Forest, whilst during the winter one can sit in the large, comfortable bar of this hotel-cum-restaurant-cum-excellent watering hole. Harveys Best, Larkins Traditional and Taylors Landlord are the beers on offer, in this regular CAMRA Good Beer Guide entry, as well as some excellent food, cooked wherever possible from locally sourced ingredients.

Last night the place was absolutely heaving, owing to the spectacular fireworks display the Beacon was putting on. A number of us from West Kent CAMRA had decided that an evening sampling the Beacon's beers whilst watching the fireworks, would be a good idea. I got a lift over from Tonbridge with a friend of a friend. Fortunately our driver had the presence of mind to park on the edge of the village, as it was impossible to get near the place by car. We walked down the unlit lane, none of us having remembered to bring a torch, and then joined the throngs at the bar. We just managed to get served before the display began, rushing out onto the terrace to watch a really excellent pyrotechnic display.

Once the display was over, there was a predictable rush for the bar. However, quite a few people did start to drift away; especially those who had brought young children with them. After standing outside for a while to allow the queues to subside, we managed to grab some chairs and a table, and settled down to enjoy the excellent Taylors Landlord. All in all it was an excellent evening. The outside temperature was mild for the time of year and, more importantly, it stayed dry - ideal for watching the fireworks. Despite the hordes we managed to get served, and after the display had finished we spent an enjoyable couple of hours chatting amongst friends. Nights at the pub don't get much better than this, so it really was a case of Remember, remember the 5th of November!

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