Remember all of those people in March saying ‘they will never shut the pubs’…..So today is day three of lockdown 3 (LD3). The thing that had never happened in all of history, the closure of pubs, has now happened 3 times this year, will carry through into next year and has become, almost, routine.
The Ploughs last trading session was Christmas lunchtime, a particularly difficult shift to end on. Both Christmas day and Christmas eve were great in the fact that we only allowed regulars in and we got a good crowd. To be left running out of stock on Christmas lunch was so frustrating that I actually had to remove fresh kegs from the cellar to prevent me starting them.
Every time we ran out of a beer I had to caveat the statement with ‘well I have loads but it’s not practical to spike a new one’. By 2 pm it was quite clear that people in the pub were drinking second or third choices despite having a fridge full of their favourite at home. In this simple observation we can see something that our politicians clearly can’t, we come to the pub for the social side and not simply for the beer.
My intention was to finish up here, have a basic clear up and then wander up the road for a final pint. The strange thing is that, even on LD3, the deflation still hit too hard. Perhaps going from the exuberance of Christmas day to the silence of another lockdown exasperated the feeling or perhaps you can never get used to it. I didn’t leave the pub, I didn’t want to see people and I didn’t want to talk, I needed to sit on the floor and be quiet with the Plough.
First order of the day was to remove Christmas, every decoration removed, boxed and placed in the loft. I was not prepared to wake up on Boxing day to a pub that was silently celebrating Christmas on her own. Now the LD routines start, hunting things to do, pacing yourself through the tasks at hand so as to fill as much time as possible.
Day one was a full line clean then lines gassed. All taps stripped and sterilised, every keg coupler, cleaning socket and fob detector stripped and sterilised. I managed to drag this out until 3 pm, a great opportunity to do jobs that are usually picked up piecemeal in one go. Nice to sterilise the entire system before putting it gaurdian to protect it, I mean I haven’t had that opportunity in ….. nearly a month!
The Plough looks closed, the gates are shut, blinds are closed, chairs are on tables yet still I have to fend off people. Reading this you will doubtless fall into the same trap as our politicians and assume it is desperate alcoholics knocking on my door, you too are wrong. The Boxing day strollers, tourists and extended family made up the entire day. I am thinking most knew before they tried the door so thankfully only one wanted to argue.
An older woman with what I presume to have been her daughter was quite adamant that the rules changed at midnight on Boxing day. I explained that they did indeed change at 00:01 on Boxing day and she assured me that was one minute past midnight. Sometimes peoples argument is so self defeating that it seems to blind them so I opted for, ‘try down the seafront’ and they wandered off cursing me.
Day two involved removing one of the outside tables to see whether they were suitable for the log burner. Having passed the test (no black smoke) I figured that one table a day would be a good rate (always pace yourself in LD). So as I finished last night all tables were dismantled and stacked away for cutting up, still can’t pace myself!