Rules, rules, rules. Pub-going seemed to get a little harder in August, though perhaps that was just the reality of Cornish and Devonian publicans being paranoid about the arrival of the London plague.
Standing at, or even approaching the bar, became a capital offence.
Yes, the Castle in King’s Nympton had really made sure you couldn’t stand at the bar.
Being confined to the outside tables was a real downer; you get a totally different atmosphere outside in the garden and you can’t take photos of pub mirrors.
And those perspex dividers make you feel safe, in the same way that folk with leprosy were housed in leper colonies for their safety in Ben Hur.
The dreaded table reservation also became the expectation;
“Table for retiredmartin, just for a quick half, near a plant pot please”.
Oddly, a few miles away, in George Nympton, my request for a reservation was met with derision.
And the wonderful Craft Union seemed able to run their pubs as pubs without killing us.
Greene King had spent some £3 billion in making their diners Covid-compliant and lacking in atmoshphere, with £37 million alone devoted to elbow-operated toilet occupancy signs.
Some village pubs didn’t have £37 to make their pub interiors safe and just stuck up an outside bar. It was still a tick, and I was motoring through the GBG now.
But pubs remained quiet, outside those 3 days a week when Rishi added billion to our children’s tax burdens by making my posh lunches (a dozen of them) half-price.
My Dad loved eating out with me, but the city centre boozers saw no benefit, of course, and I was struck by how quiet Manchester was when I helped Matt move from Salford.
A personal highlight arrived at the Manchester BrewDog when Matt, at 19, managed to take his own jumper off . #ProudDad
Less convinced by his BrewDog lager choice, though.
I paid a return visit to the Olde Sun in St Neots. Golly, it was wonderful.
Cambridge pub legend Tom took on the community-owned Hare & Hounds in Harlton and wowed me with the welcome and cask quality (and the pie, the best food of the month).
I couldn’t quite work out why I felt such joy in revisiting the Hare & Hounds, years after it closed.
“And then it struck me. The village had its pub back. After FIVE months cooped up
watching Narcos they were able to chat to their mates, complain about Tom’s music choice (Blur, Nick Drake, John Grant) and hold court.“
And finally, staircase of the month. Well, come on down (as it were), Hyde Park in Mutley.