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Review: The White Swan, St Mary Cray
Crikey, you couldn’t mistake the name - there are white swans just about everywhere in this St Mary Cray boozer.
Having taken in the full range of attractive porcelain fowl, my attention switched briefly to the array of photos adorning the walls, including the obligatory mooning shot of a less than delightful rear end.
I immediately concentrated my full attention on the bar for at least the next five minutes.
It was at least this long before someone even appeared behind the bar.
In fairness, a fur-ball of an animal appeared briefly, but the mutt made no effort to serve me at all.
Whilst waiting, and waiting, and waiting, I noticed a small plaque which read RIP Terence Michael Taylor October 1940 - September 2011 – I can only assume he died of thirst.
Still, having plucked up the courage to first enter this pub, and then wait, I persevered and rewarded myself with a pint of Courage for £3.
An excellent, smooth pint which slipped down was accompanied perfectly by a very tangy packet of salt and vinegar.
Taking a seat on the slightly damp feeling, and smelling, bench seat I faced yet another rear end – that of a painter and decorator who didn’t so much as glance away from the fruit machine for the entire 45 minutes I spent in the pub.
Apart from the aforementioned swans, a notice saying kids aren’t welcome after 7.30pm and two more arse photos, my attention was mainly taken by the three fellows playing cards.
This was because one of the trio was issuing deafeningly loud belches with the timing of a metronome - seriously you could have set your watch to his two minute bodily functions.
Fortunately for me a diminutive blonde forced herself upon the jukebox and the card player’s outburst suddenly had to compete with two Johnny Cash numbers, something by Usher and I Want You Back for Good by Take That.
Believe me I don’t want that card player back.
It was at this point the general belching, chiming fruity and Cash cacophony was broken when a fellow, even smaller than the blonde, entered the bar and tried to sell a wide selection of DVD/CDs for the bargain price of £2 each.
Of course, I’m sure they were all totally legit.
Strangely, I decided to stay for one more and this time I was served with a pint of Fosters almost immediately, despite the fact I’d requested Kronenbourg.
I want to say at this point the barmaid was absolutely charming – a real stand out feature in the otherwise dank, melodious and vaguely dark surroundings.
By now another blonde had walked in, this time a male, whose hair made him look like a cross between Greg Norman and John Farnham (‘who?’ I hear you cry – Google him, you’ll see).
I glanced out the back door and spied some sort of giant turtle in an overgrown children’s play area so quickly retreated back inside.
Goodness it seemed an age since I first spotted those swans and arses – but whatever I say, I have to admit somehow I’ve retained a strange and unexplainable, fondness for this Mary Cray pub.
I even liked the fact there are stacks of beer mats around, though this is only because otherwise anything you put on the table would be stuck there forever, longer even than the wait at the bar.
Address: The White Swan, Kent Road, St Mary Cray, BR5 4AD
Decor: * (ever so slightly damp)
Drink: **** (good choice)
Price: *** (reasonable)
Atmosphere: ** (bountiful belching)
Staff: *** (charming when she finally appeared)