Yes, tonight we went to the pub

Yes, tonight we went to the pub, and it was almost like the times before.

It’s a Friday night and having had a pleasant day – trip up to Bristol to have lunch at Wagamama’s (my new discovery is their vegan spare ribs – now my new favourite!) and having spent the early evening busy in the garden – doing digging so lots of muscle-power, we thought we needed to reward ourselves and maintain our fluid levels by a quick trip to the pub.

This used to be such an ordinary thing to do, so much part of our everyday life that we barely even thought about it. March 26th changed that attitude, and that lovely habit forever. Suddenly out ordinary activities were curtailed in a brutal but necessary way and we gladly submitted to the new regime – for ourselves and for others. Come July once again life returned to a sort of normal, which included going back to the pub. People who aren’t pub goers don’t really understand; it’s not about drinking or beer, we can do that at home any time. Going to the pub is something different, it’s meeting old friends and making new friends, it’s being with chums, and in my case going with my husband for pleasant time together. Things do not go according to plan, and Lockdown #2 confines us to barracks. This segues into #3.

Now. gradually, carefully, cautiously, we are returning to a new normal. Not the old normal, that will never return, ever. So we go into the pub wearing masks. We sit at a table separated from our neighbours by a screen. We may go to the bar to order, but there is table service to keep us in our places. Luckily we and our order are well known so two pints of lovey Otter appear on our table, delivered by a masked bar person. We, by chance, are sitting next to friends, visible through a screen and we can chat – but not in the same way as we used to.

Beer is good, company, albeit behind a screen, is good, being in the pub is wonderful! Maybe at some point the screens will disappear; maybe at some point we can hug our friends and converse and chat in a normal pub-ly way. For the moment we are loving being back in the Dolphin, seeing pub friends and drinking a fine pint of Otter

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