This is the way most tall stories begin, with the teller, glass in hand, propping up the bar of the village pub. Or in this case, seated by the fire, regaling a squirrel with Wealden tales. A squirrel?
We are in the bar of the Bell, a soon to re-open pub with rooms in the pretty village of Ticehurst, East Sussex. Well, at least I think we are. Where has that chap gone?
Anyway, I meet a lovely young couple, Alison & Sebastien who will be running the place, and they take me on a tour of the as yet unfinished premises. As well the large beamed bar with its welcoming fireplace, there's a quaint little snug, a vast dining space converted from the former stables, with a grand function room above, and 7 delightful bedrooms. The look, developed by Brighton based designer, Richard Brett will be a quirky mix of old and new.
At the end of the tour, I nip off to the loo, and it's then that I realise I must be dreaming the whole thing.
Or was I? Nutkin tells me it opens on November 5th... apparently!