Well not so much calling as gently beckoning. E was getting a touch fretty about our London flat, not having been there for some time. She had put off going for ages, but as time passed and further lockdown beckoned, she determined the time had come, so I decided, having not been there since February, that it was a good idea to accompany her.
So a couple of Tuesdays ago, on a pissing wet day here in Manchester, we set off - masked up - in an Uber - heading for what turned out to be a virtually deserted Piccadilly station. We were more or less the sole customers in the Avanti Trains lounge and on the train, there was only three other passengers in the coach, where masks were required, other than when eating and drinking. Our tube to Aldgate was similarly deserted, which was also a bit eerie. Only two or three people in the end coach.
We used to come here for the Tank Pilsner Urquell, but now it is Budvar, also in tank, which we both plumped for at, I think, £6.20 a pint. Most beers, Punk IPA included were about the same. Table service of course, and our server was a very pleasant lad who offered to talk us through the beer menu. He wasn't pushed, it being so quiet, but he was well worth his money.
Oddly for London - and trust me it happens quite rarely - we got chatting to a lawyer who shared our long table, enjoying the company so much that we had to order our pizza for takeaway, as we had missed the sit-down deadline before ten 'clock closing time.
So a pleasant night out in a rather subdued London, but there was to be a sting in the tail.
The sting in the tail was a message on the Friday of the same week telling us we had been in contact with someone who had tested positive for Covid-19. 10 days isolation were ordered, the explanatory note allowing us to work out the contact Tuesday. So was it the Uber driver? On the train or the pubs? Who knows, but neither of us got any symptoms thankfully and today is my first day of freedom.
Two things about the pubs. In the Draft House I pointed out that Budvar, contrary to the big board on the wall isn't 4.2%. He was gracious and said he'd get it changed, but I wonder how long it had been like that? He did bring me a free third of Ansbach and Hobday Porter by way of a reward and very nice it was too.
The Castle really needs to get another barperson in when times get better.