As far as inconveniences caused by Covid-19 go, when many have died, not being able to go to the pub is pretty low on the scale. No one disagreed when they were closed towards the end of March. They are the prefect breeding ground for the transmission of disease. And, unlike schools which can also be considered high risk, they are not an essential part of life. Of course, if you want alcohol, there are other ways of obtaining same.
And so it was that the last time I ventured into town for a quiet beer with the boys was on 15th March, 16 weeks ago. We generally meet at the Peirson in the Royal Square before moving along to the Mitre, also known as the Blue Note Bar. In Ireland these two places would be known as ‘old man’ pubs – quiet, pleasant, good beer, low music, nothing much to entice the younger set.
Not many people about last night, a contrast to those images from selected spots in England where there was crowding and trouble. Of course, there is never news where everything is in order.
So there we were, reconvened in the Mitre at our reserved table, four of us. Our fifth and final member, our 80-year-old ‘President’ was missing. We bumped elbows, ordered our drinks and carried on from where we’d left off. Football is the common denominator. We all support English clubs – Burnley, Leeds, Birmingham and Barnsley respectively. We are also all runners, or ex-runners. The conversation and beer flowed steadily. The drill in all Jersey bars is seated only, one-metre physical distancing. The police stepped in, saw that all was well, and went on their way.
And a couple of hours later we went home. Nothing special you say, but to us it was, in a quiet sort of way. The pub is a part of our social lives, occasionally abused by some, but a welcome port of call for others, especially after the troublesome months we’ve been through.