It’s a year since the pubs closed, as Mudgie reminded us this morning.

I’d already called it a day by then, though some made hay on that final Friday before the table service and barbed wire at the bar ruined pub going for ever.

Those first days of Lockdown were scary and unsettling, and not just because the Tesco shelves were stripped bare of Doom Bar.

I took to local walks and blogging, noting with panic the repetition of it all;

My “Social Distancing” days are falling into a routine already, and I hate routine.

  • Wash hands
  • Make Mrs RM coffee.
  • Wash hands
  • Clean all clothes used yesterday
  • Write blog post
  • Wash hands
  • Make Mrs RM lunch
  • Wash hands
  • Clean house
  • Wash hands
  • Travel a few miles up the A10 and walk for 2 hours
  • Wash hands
  • Stare longingly at a pub that I can’t now go in
  • Write blog post without a pub in it and wonder who’s interested now

And that was on the 18th March !

A year ago I walked into tourist Cambridge on the hottest day of the year so far.

The tourists (typically two-thirds Japanese and Chinese) were completely absent. The Universities looked forlorn.

Pubs were advertising their loo rolls,

and the staff at Fopp treated me like their first visitor of the week. Perhaps I was.

I bought Maria McKee’s marvellous album, my only CD purchase in 2020, and was moved to tears by this track;

A paean to the beauty of London (OK, it’s no Manchester), it summed up the loss of exploration and discovery I felt that Spring.

At least I got ONE big day in the Smoke just before the latest Lockdown, just as pubs were clearing their stocks (again).

Back in March we had no idea how long it would last (and more importantly whether we’d survive it); at least now we have a date for a sort of return to pubs.

Let us be grateful for that, at least.


  1. “Led by the data, not the dates.” Who said that?

    Everyone assumes that he was lying, and thinks that the dates are therefore set in stone. I’m pessimistic – that way, I’ll be pleasantly surprised if we can have a drink outside a pub on 12 April. But I’m worried about the way people are behaving and this is reflected in the way the infection rates are not going down as they were, and in some places are going up again. The delay in vaccinations will only make this worse. If infection rates are going up even though more than half of the adult population have had their first vaccinations, shouldn’t we be being more cautious rather than less?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m always overly optimistic as it annoys Mudgie, but I tend to agree with you on those points.

      What specifically worries you about the way people are behaving ? Walking round Sheffield (is that allowed ?) the thing you notice compared to Cambridge is that the industrial estates are as busy as ever and mask-wearing is impractical.

      It’s also clear that folk are shopping and getting more takeaways than ever (see the queues for B & Q and McDonalds in Hillsborough yesterday) though everyone seems to be wearing masks, often outside.

      Positive cases in Sheffield seem doggedly around the 70-80 a day range; I wonder how much of this originates in schools and how much from shopping and domestic visits.


    2. Infection rates are only not dropping as fast because testing has doubled in just two weeks. In real terms they’ve more than halved. Fear not.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Will is right to be cautious. The rise is likely due to increased tests for schoolchildren (and the notoriously inaccurate lateral flow tests too), but there are plenty on SAGE/Indie-SAGE/SAGE Extra who’d like zero Covid before we step out of the house. I hear them on LBC tell us pubs are FAR too dangerous, despite no noticeable spike last summer when re-opening didn’t even have table service !

        Personally I think the timetable is fine, but then I don’t run a pub (or a barbering business come to that).


      2. The statistics do seem to be showing that hospital admissions, intensive care bed use and deaths are falling, probably showing that even one shot of vaccine is reducing serious cases in those who were most vulnerable last year. If it gets to the point where there are less serious implications from catching Covid than getting the flu, is it really going to matter that much?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “and barbed wire at the bar”

    Is that where they got the idea for putting it around the White House? 😉

    “noting with panic the repetition of it all”

    Have to agree there. Even with keeping the lunch truck going (until last month) every day did seem to be bloody Groundhog Day.

    “And that was on the 18th March !”

    Washing hands, aye. Still kept washing clothes at their usual schedule. Still drank beer at home (NOT in my underpants!). Did start sitting outside a lot in the afternoon to get some sun (vitamin D rules!). That’s where my darling wife got the idea to build me a man shed/pub. 🙂

    “The tourists (typically two-thirds Japanese and Chinese)”

    So… four thirds then? Is that due to interbreeding? 😉

    “Pubs were advertising their loo rolls,”


    “A paean to the beauty of London (OK, it’s no Manchester)”

    (slow golf clap)

    “just as pubs were clearing their stocks (again).”


    “Let us be grateful for that, at least.”

    Fingers crossed!


    Liked by 1 person

      1. Wiring is all done. Mini-split (ductless heat pump) ordered and hopefully installed shortly after Easter. Got a guy to do the insulating (and possibly flooring) after the mini-split is in, and have a line on a small company to do the drywall. Owing to what my wife and I will be doing over the summer, I’m in no hurry to get it completed properly (i.e. mainly the size and shape of the bar).


        Liked by 1 person

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