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As I’m sure you all know, something big was taking place today, something which many people had waited a long time for. Today, Monday 12th April, hereafter known as the “Glorious Twelfth,” public houses will finally be able to trade again, albeit in a limited capacity with drinking and eating allowed in outdoor situations only. Small beer, some might say, but perhaps we should all be thankful for small mercies, coming as it does after nearly six months, when pubs have been unable to trade. If anyone had said to you, 18 months ago that the nations’ public houses would be closed for lengthy periods of time, you would have thought them crazy.
A truly ludicrous situation for legally constituted businesses to find themselves in, but now is not the time or the place to be debating the merits or otherwise of lock-down. Instead, let us make use of our newfound “freedom,” even though it only half-heartedly permits us to do something we wouldn’t have thought twice about, a couple of years ago., So, whilst the event itself marks the return to some semblance of normality, following what must be the strangest 13 months that any of us have ever experienced, how did I celebrate this small step along the long road to freedom?
Strange as it may seem, I didn’t set foot in a pub garden. I had some important papers, connected with the settlement of my late fathers’ estate to deliver to the family solicitor. This will enable him to apply to the court for a grant of probate which, when granted, will allow the estate to be settled. I’ve been busy working on this since mid-January, so I’m sure you will understand why this had to take precedent over a lunchtime pint – despite the lengthy wait, and however well-deserved.
Tuesdaythough, is different, and I fully intend to call in for a swift one at the Greyhound, Charcott, in celebration of my birthday and the fact I will have reached state retirement age. I have my bus pass as well, now and will be using it on Wednesday morning, to journey over to Tunbridge Wells, where I have an appointment at Cotswold Outdoors.
This is for my feet to be measured for "outdoor footwear," so I can choose and purchase my long, overdue new walking boots. I have booked the day off from work, not just for my boot fitting, but because a crowd of us, from the WhatsApp Beer Socials group, will be gathering in the garden of the Nelson Arms in Tonbridge, where two tables have been reserved for us. I am really looking forward to meeting up with friends and acquaintances after what seems like an age. Looking back, the last time we gathered as a group was at the start of last October, and then there were only six of us. Remember Boy Hancock’sabsurd “Rule of Six,” well there will be two times six this time around – but no mingling (like that’s not going to happen!), and come rain come shine it will be SO good to enjoy a well-kept and freshly pulled pint of cask beer, in the company of friends.
Before heading off to the solicitors today, I took a brief walk up as far as Chiddingstone Causeway church. The nearby Little Brown Jug pub was doing a roaring trade, with the car park full and people queuing up waiting to be admitted to the garden. There were groups sat at garden benches, huddled against the cold (there had been a couple of inches of snow earlier), or inside the large marquee, and I couldn’t help feeling more than a little bit envious. My time will come tomorrow, so on that positive note, I’ll end this piece now, with a full report to come in due course.
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