A short note on the virus, sparing you any theories/philosophy/fears/consolations.

I’ve stopped visiting pubs for the time being. It was hell walking past this one just now.

A classic

I’ll be exercising social distancing, being responsible, limiting the risk of infection to Old Boys and Gals. The decision might have been taken out of my hands soon, anyway.

Being selfish, it’s going to be hell, not just because my GBG progress was going so well, but because I love the social interaction in pubs. Even Spoons.

Will we ever see this again ?

It’s pretty much impossible to stay a safe distance from other folk in pubs, and that rather defeats the object of visiting them.

Blokes ? What will they do ?

I fear for pubs, and I fear for the mental health of the older folk who rely on pubs, but all of those fears are relative compared to the strain on the NHS.

I’ve still got a few pubs to write-up, then I’ll write about walks as long as we’re allowed to walk. Perhaps I can commission BRAPA to make up the bits about pubs if I write about the town.

Certainly I’ll share some images from Cambridge, which looks as gorgeous as I’ve ever seen it this afternoon. But I’ve never seen it so empty.

Never mind loo roll, they’d run out of Camus in the Cambridge bookshops today, and I’ve lost my copy of “Summer” temporarily, but I’ll leave you with this;



  1. very sensible -we will be doing that too (1 meal out on Friday & then that’s probably it ) Think of the money we will save anyway ! Sad worrying times .Look forward to reading about your walks & seeing some nice photos.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Beautifully written, and surely the right decision. Knowing how much visiting pubs is a part of your life, I must imagine it’s a heartbreaking change to make– you know more than most of us the pleasures you’re having to forego for a while.

    Like you, the thing I’m most frightened of is Italy’s overburdened hospitals turning out to be a kind of “canary in the coal mine” for the rest of us– heaven help us if it is so, we’ve never had to confront such a thing in our lifetimes.

    Very glad that you’ll still be walking and exploring. Knowing you, I expect you could apply the Retired Martin touch to writing about almost anything and still have me laughing out loud. And reckon you’ll be pleased if a big shutdown of restaurants still allows– as it seems it will over here– for the regular use of takeaways. 😉

    I’m sure I’m not alone when I say that your blog has helped me through a lot of bad days, Martin, and truly I do appreciate it now more than ever.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s very nice of you, Mark.

      I visited some marvellous Italian hospitals in Pavia near Milan and I’m shaken by what they’re experiencing.

      Take care of your loved ones and your neighbours.

      And yes, I’ll be supporting Chinese takeaways 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Can you claim 100% for this year’s GBG if every pub has gone bust by September?

    Next year’s GBG might be interesting, seeing how many entries last until the book gets issued – and I anticipate a lot of Marston’s brewed beer for you next year as virtually all the micros will have gone bust.


    1. Yes, Scott. Yes I can. And if that happens I would ask Ash to present me with an award for finishing the GBG and not care less about the fact all the pubs were closed except the Laurieston.


  4. I for one will continue going out if anywhere is open. At the moment I’m not infected and as soon as I am I will self isolate. Then when I’ve recovered I’ll go out again because by then I won’t be able to infect anyone. I shall avoid old people (no change there!)

    If I ran a pub I would bar anyone over the age of 70 and just let in young people (18 – 69) who are best able to cope with the virus!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s a great shame. But how long have you stopped for and has CAMRA HQ agreed to defer publication of the 2021 GBG by that many weeks ?

    “In my case I don’t drink at home at all” is very much the same with me. I’ve still got the great majotity of the bottles of Westvleteren 12 that our daughter kindly brought back from Belgium many months ago. .


  6. Right on the money Martin, and an especially hard decision for someone who enjoys visiting pubs as much as you do. It is obviously a tough one, and for all of us, whether we’re regular pub goers or not, it’s the lack of social interaction that will be missed the most.

    Us humans are social animals, which of course does make us extremely vulnerable to opportunist infections, such as Covid-19, but whilst this current pandemic is a once in a lifetime event, it is not the first such threat mankind has faced. Faced and eventually emerged. Down maybe, but definitely not out!

    As I replied to Sheffield Hatter, on my blog, a short while ago, my company doesn’t yet have a policy for dealing with such situations, so I shall go into work tomorrow for some necessary, but strictly limited social interaction. Fortunately there is an opportunity for me to do some work from home. I just need to call in and collect what’s needed.

    So yes, a sensible policy, and one obviously designed to ease the pressure, when it eventually comes, on scant health resources. Like you, I too fear for pubs, even though I might not use them as regularly as you do, but unlike you, I do drink at home, albeit quite moderately.

    Having said that I have enough beer piled up in the back kitchen to float the proverbial battleship, and if Stafford Paul is having trouble working his way through those bottles of Westvleteren 12, ask him to spare one for me.

    Finally, it goes without saying, to everyone out there, stay safe, act responsibly and above all try and stay well!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I echo your good wishes, Paul, and hope you can arrange your workload to minimise risk.

      The risk of closure is as much to breweries as pubs, especially the newer microbreweries though at least those rarely have a pub estate to drain cash.


      1. But a small pub estate has been the best way of selling beer for some microbreweries who find a ‘tap’ or micropub an easier way of shifting their beer than trying to find free houses to take it,

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes, there’s a difference between Lymestone running a Tap on an industrial estate with one member of staff and Titanic (who started small) who’ve got half a dozen pubs, a hundred staff and lots of estate costs.


      3. Yes, but Lymestone and Titanic are both big enough to have digressed into bottled beer for which there should now be quite a demand.
        I was thinking more of the Moreton Brewery who opened that “dreadful” micropub on the edge of Wolverhampton to help shift their beer

        Liked by 1 person

      4. “sinners who drink bottled beer at home” – yes, just as evil as sinners who drink beer at beer festivals !

        Liked by 1 person

    2. T’other Paul,
      I’ll bring a bottle to Chester for you, or rather I would have brought a bottle to Chester for you.


  7. I can only echo everyone else here and implore you to keep writing. Your wit will help lift our spirits during these very strange times.

    I’ll replenish my stock of Backyard Beer to enjoy alongside.


    Liked by 1 person

  8. Martin,
    It looks as if you might get a reprieve and be back on target by the autumn.
    I’ve just read “I would expect all work on preparation of GBG 2021 to be put on hold. Who knows what pubs, breweries and beers will be extant in September 2020?”


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