Shameless Swanley. Ever seen a mindless thug push a bespectacled, grey-haired, 25-stone man to the floor before kicking him ferociously in the head until he was senseless? Try an early evening in the Lullingstone Castle.
Perhaps such barbaric acts are normal for 6.45 on a Tuesday evening in this particular Swanley boozer.
Certainly no-one in the pub seemed concerned, even at the height of the attack, the pool balls were still being potted, mindless conversations continued and the kids didn’t even look up from their homework.
Maybe it’s just me, but the idea that so many children were in the bar to witness such gratuitous violence at first hand left me feeling distinctly uneasy.
But no-one else seemed to bat an eyelid. The Chelsea shirt-clad thug got another pint in, pulled up his Chelsea tracksuit bottoms, had a fag break and continued to joke along with his pals. In fairness, these pals did finally step in during the worst part of the attack to protect the victim from worse punishment.
Remembering the hostility I encountered almost a year ago during my previous visit to this appalling hellhole of an establishment I found it difficult remembering why I’d chosen to give it a second chance.
The ale on offer certainly hasn’t improved, although signs stating “Cheers George, 1p off a pint of beer” are clearly visible.
The other thing clearly visible are the CCTV cameras adorning the bar. Mind you, given what I’d just witnessed, perhaps I shouldn’t have been surprised there are seven cameras on bar alone – yes, go in and count them if you dare, seven.
So, had anything improved since my last visit? The atmosphere may be more jovial, following the assault anyway, but you’re still going to attract the vacant gazes of the resident Neanderthals.
If I’m not much mistaken, the toilets have had a makeover – I’d have hated to write a whole article without finding something positive to say.
As the ancient songs from the vintage TV blared out, covering most of the obscenities and violence, I couldn’t help but overhear one conversation behind me.
He (the instantly likeable chap) said: “Well, should I come round yours or not? If I’m on for some then I’ll come, if not I’ll stay and get pissed.”
She (the one with dyed red hair) said: “I’ve got to make tea and put the kids to bed. I was thinking of watching a DVD.”
He said: “Look, am I on or not, cos I can always stay and drink.”
She said: “You really don’t know me yet, do you?”
And off they went into the night with her two kids, though the same door which the man beaten senseless had finally managed to drag himself through some minutes earlier.
Ah, the Lullingstone Castle, Swanley – how lovely.
PS. Even if the barmaid’s poisonous explanation for the attack is true, it’s still no excuse for such a sickening attack.
Lullingstone Castle, High Street, Swanley.
Decor: ** (toilets better than the rest of the place)
Drink: ** (still no decent ale, but other basics are present)
Price: **** (not bad at all, £3.53 for a pint of San Miguel)
Staff: *** (kept smiling)
Update - Redhead responds
A fight, the offer of sex and a packet of Monster Munch.
I thought I’d seen it all at the Lullingstone Castle, and then my editor says: “Have you seen this complaint? I think we need to publish it.”
Well, whatever she might say, I can assure you I reported the conversation accurately. I can’t for certain say what happened later – I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Here’s what she said:
“Hi i am the red head woman mentioned in this report i am simply fumming because the conversation what happened between my friend and i was not as it was written there was no conversation of him (my friend ) saying if i am in for a promise then i will come back to your place and if not i will stay here and get drunk (these comments were not even said ).
“There wasnt any kids doing home work they were just playing with friends.
“I think the lully is a friendly pub there just happened to be a disagreement on that day with a few people,i will keep this as my local. Bar staff are friendly and welcoming i would appriciate a written appolagy”. (sic)