Thursday, September 12, 2013

That comment about the Castle Inn....

She is a bit naughty that Tonbridge reporter, Shams, on the Courier. She phones me up and asks me to comment about the closure of the Castle Inn on the bridge and I said that I didn't know it was to close. She then pushes me in her own special, innocent, quiet way to make some sort of comment and I think I said something, words to the effect, that it would make a nice bookshop cafĂ© being in such a great location. "There..." I said, "...that's my comment." We then went on to chat about it and, before I know, my motor mouth has made reference to me being put off every time I walk past by the karaoke and the pool table and the feeling of it being a bit of a regular's place, I may have said estate- type pub. I thought about it after our phone call and wondered whether that would be the comment she'd use and, sure enough, it was. Next thing I know I've got people jokingly shouting You snob! through my shop doorway at me. Very sneaky Shams, very sneaky indeed. Still it's only what I'd do in her job so good look to her....

3 comments:

Paul Bailey said...

One would have thought that with your Fleet Street background TB, you would have been more wary than most when talking to the press? Journalists are renowned not just for getting the facts wrong, but for "sexing up" a story to try and sensationalise it. What's that old saying about "Never let the truth get in the way of a good story"?

Seriously, there is no doubt that the Castle Inn has fallen on hard times. In recent years it has suffered from a series of disastrous "makeover", which are totally out of keeping with such an attractive old building, in a vain attempt to go after the "yoof" market. This sector is notoriously fickle at the best of times, and chasing after this market is counter productive in the medium to long term.

I wouldn't even call the pub a "regular's place", as every time I've walked past it's been practically empty. I could write at length about how debt-ridden pub companies, such as Enterprise, have totally ruined our once thriving pub industry, and how in a forlorn attempt to try and pay down some of their huge debts, they are screwing their hapless tenants for every last penny they can squeeze out of them. Now, having wilfully run down some of the nation's best pubs, they are resorting to selling them off, licensed or not, in a desparate last ditch attempt to raise some cash. Talk about selling off the family silver!

The Castle is crying out for salvation, in the form of a new and sympathetic owner, and Tonbridge desparately needs a decent town-centre pub. If, by some miracle, I was to win the lottery, I would put my money where my mouth is and restore this lovely old pub to its former glory!

Richard Monham said...

Agreed, I used to visit the Castle 15 - 20 years ago but recently it just seems uninviting. Shame becasuse its in a great position.

Dave said...

In the last 5 years duty on beer has risen by more than 40% including the VAT rise to 20%.
So a £3 pint includes £1.04 for the government resulting in beer sales dropping by 30% in the same time and 7000 pubs closing. If you have £495,000 available to buy the Castle and about another £50,000 to do it up as somewhere to eat you may stand a slim chance of having a viable business.