When I stopped at our friends’ table with two children to say hello, all seven of us were rushed out of the pub so fast our feet didn’t even stick to the carpet. We’re possibly banned for life

The occasion of a house move having left us temporarily without any stuff or beds, I and two children have hightailed it to Ramsgate in Thanet, AKA the Kentish Riviera. I have been coming here for 40-odd years; the town is known for its glorious stretches of chilly autumn beach, and Van Gogh’s brief association with it, but most of all, it is known for its Spoons. Converted from a derelict yet majestic casino, the Royal Victoria Pavilion is the largest pub in Europe, a Ramsgater told me. In fact, that title probably belongs to the Drie Gezusters in Groningen, the Netherlands, and even that is self-awarded and regularly contested. This is just the largest Wetherspoon pub in the UK, and I smile at the sheer audacity of the exaggeration every time I walk in, which is every day that I’m here. I love this place. I still hate Tim Martin as much as I hate Brexit, but I love the Ramsgate Spoons. Everybody who has been in it – who is not boycotting or allergic to pub carpet – feels this way.

All that preamble was to underline that what is about to sound like a major coincidence was not quite the jaw-dropper it would be in, say, the Watford Moon Under Water. Even if you only know one other family in the whole of Thanet, and it is a Wednesday, and you walk into the Spoons and they are there, that is just the universe working in its regular way. So we walked in and I saw some friends, said hello, all normal. Then the kids, because they are also friends with the other kids and also because kids are stupid, sat down with them. Which, even though I was still standing up, made seven of us.

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