Those who know me well, know that I don't really drink at home. I presumably thought I did at one time, but the large number of undrunk bottles going back years that lie languishing in my garage, suggests I do not. Well certainly not enough.
Until this pandemic swiped more or less everything sideways, this cosy arrangement was fine. I went into the garage, looked at a beer, shook my head and decided not to bother. Or to go to the pub. Now things have changed. Our binmen - sorry, environmental operatives - who no doubt pre virus, looked forward to emptying my green recycling bin. It was as light as a chaste maiden's kiss, filled as it was with the odd kitchen disinfectant bottle, bog cleaner, mushy pea can and milk container. Now every three weeks, they strain every Covid-free sinew, as groaning like an overloaded dance floor, they huff and puff my brimming bin to the waiting wagon.
Now a narrow wheelie bin, emptied once every three weeks, doesn't really represent a huge amount in the great scheme of things. I haven't measured my intake, but I do know how it has come about. Two things; the bloody lockdown and secondly the lovely weather. As a result of the former, our garden, while hardly going to test those who aspire to Chelsea Flower show standards, is looking pretty damn good. So, at five'o'clock or so, we have on the sun trap patio at the bottom of our garden, taken to sitting in the sunshine and opening a couple of bottles. Each. That has been known to lead to more, or even once, when the weather stayed warm until ten at night, the addition of bottles of wine and a missed evening meal.
In a so far successful attempt to be sensible, we decided some time ago only to do this if the weather is nice. But - and this is a big but - the weather has been, on the whole, damn pleasant. So the beer (and the crisps) have been opened more often than not. In days when the highlights are few and far between, it really has been something to look forward to. What's not to like I hear you ask? Well I find myself looking wistfully at my beer and saying "We could be in the Rose or the Ringers now." E nods in agreement. We know people there and, like most people, are company starved under this lockdown. Drinking bottled beer at the bottom of the garden seems fine and dandy. It is certainly sociable between us two, but it ain't the pub and both of us are acutely aware of it.
Now however, the weather has broken and looking ahead, there seems little prospect of sitting on the patio until at least June 15th, maybe longer. The weather forecast isn't at all promising. And you know what? I'm happy about that. On the days when the sun hasn't shone, or it has been too cold, we haven't missed it.
But rain or shine, we are missing the pub and the company we find there. Not to mention in my case, cask conditioned beer.
What have I been drinking? Well, St Austell Proper Job mostly. Bottle conditioned and at 5.5%, two is usually plenty. Some German stuff too, but I've given up re-racked cask beer. E has developed a bit of a soft spot for Warsteiner and Aldi Pils.
We also have the Virtual Tavern on Zoom every Sunday, but while great, all we really want is to be back round our table.