A dash to Blackie's, to dry out and enjoy a quick drink, provided a welcome encounter with the landlord's daughter, Trina Cole*, whom the writer had not seen for several years. So there was a hug over the bar and a quick catch-up chat. Her mother, Joyce Cole, deservedly won 1st prize for her '3 stems' entry of 3 beautiful deep red, with some white, gladioli. The pub is always beautifully decorated with numerous hanging baskets all around the outside and the garden is glorious with flowers in the summer. The restaurant is excellent too - with ingredients vetted by the landlord, George Cole, and often served with vegetables and fruits fresh from his own garden. The puddings are good old English ones, such as apple crumble or gipsy tart, with custard. So, the pub was unsurprisingly busy on this wet afternoon. Hopefully 2015 will prove to be a sunnier event.
Margot Rohan, Orpington Community
(* Gushlow & Cole, which produces shearling garments and accessories was founded by Trina and her friend from childhood, Emma, in 2003.)