The pubs have opened again and it still doesn’t feel quite right to go in them, what with the looming threat from a certain deadly virus.
Stroud appears to have one of the lower infection rates of coronavirus in the country, at least from the information I can find. It makes sense, what with the relatively small population and all the open spaces and clean air. But make no mistake, the virus is out there and some people living down the road have had it.
So with some caution, I met some friends for some beers. Because when it comes to caution, alcohol is obviously the best thing to have.
This is by far the longest I’ve not been down to the local brewery since I started going down there during visits back home about seven years ago. Travelling to the other side of the world and a global pandemic kind of got in the way a bit.
You have to book a table, which feels a bit weird. But they’ve clearly give everything a great deal of thought, with tables well spaced out and limits to the number of people who can sit at them. And you don’t go to the bar, instead there’s table service.
Those thinking that pubs with social distancing will mean lower takings at the bar have failed to take table service into the account. It is very easy to spend a lot of money without even realising when people keep coming around and asking you if you’d like more. “Why, yes. I would very much like another pint.”
And another. And another. Let’s just say I had more than three. In fact, I kind of lost track.
And while I’ve been drinking bottles and cans from there throughout lockdown, I’d forgotten just how good a pint tastes from a cask. In fact, it tastes a little too good.
But the downside of table service is that you get the bill at the end, instead of previously paying in instalments during rounds. And I was audibly shocked when I received mine. I even forgot I have a discount card.
It was the most I had probably drank since Wellington in early March after one of my shows, when I was also a gigging comedian.
Thankfully, my current accommodation is substantially better than that abysmal hostel I was staying in Wellington, which had no ventilation and there were two toilets between 50 rooms. My competition for the toilet at the moment is dramatically lower. And for that, I’m grateful.