London woke up from a lockdown this week with a re-opening of pubs, cafes, shops and various other places you can spend your money.
And despite feeling strange about the whole thing – it has been a year of weirdness, after all – I have ventured out. I met my two outdoor-drinking buddies for some…outdoor drinks yesterday evening. It was actually yesterday afternoon, but slid quickly into the evening, which slid quickly into night and explains why I felt less than fresh this morning.
But the sun was out, it was Friday and we could actually get table service. It was, in fact, enforced. No bar queues at the outdoor bar – they were forbidden. But it was perfect. It was actually not perfect, as we had to sit on a picnic table and it was in the ‘smoking zone’ and at times the noise was unbearable, but yes…it was pints in a pub.
Even if they were in plastic glasses.
I ventured out into the West End this morning. I can’t remember the last time I was in Central London, but honestly, it was like a ghost town. I wouldn’t have opted for a Saturday morning in town, but I had a medial appointment. Blue skies, sunshine and empty pavements made the whole experience a joy and TheFrankFlyer and I ended up walking from Soho to Covent Garden and then on to Waterloo.
It felt like we were on holidays. It felt liberating. It felt normal. But really, two hours of London’s streets was enough. By the time we got back to Canary Wharf, I was ready for some quiet time at home. Too much stimulation. Lunch was courtesy of Five Guys (I just didn’t want the heavenly feelings to end), which was followed by an equally delicious nap on the sofa.
This was the carbs and protein combination my body needed and the first time I had anything from Five Guys in forever. Heavenly.
I spent quite a bit of today’s wandering wondering…what will life be like in a month’s time when more of the country opens up? What will it be like when we can have visitors in our own homes again? I think I’m much more ready to invite people to my home than to spend any length of time in a crowded venue. I never liked crowds, but the last year has underlined just how uncomfortable they make me.
If we add that to the frankly extortionate price of pub-based beers, my social future looks home-based. Honestly. Three drinks last night cost £21. Twenty one British pounds sterling metric. And two of those drinks were frankly disappointing beers. Why go through all of that when I can have a quality beer from my own fridge?
And I don’t even have to get dressed.
I’m sure I’m not alone. Once the initial excitement of pub visits fades, I think lots of people are going to look at their credit card statements and wonder why pub life in London is so expensive. They’ll then wonder if they couldn’t the price of a round of beers and spend it on a very nice meal at home? Or is that just me?