With the easing of lockdown, it’s felt like life is slowly returning to reality. Our life at home has been pretty normal really, Vicki has had work each day, and I’ve been cracking on with work, and building up my YouTube channel. However, outside of these four walls, it’s been very unusual. It was good to have a wander around Westfield, well – sorta. I’ve really missed taking a stroll to the pub.

Quite often when James goes back to his Mum’s on a Sunday evening, we’d pop to the pub to just have a little wind-down of ‘grown-up’ mode. The easing of lockdown has meant that our two closest and favourite locals are open again in a limited capacity. It was G’s 17th Birthday on Friday, and Mum had invited us all over to hers on the Sunday for a little party. It was the first time we’d all been together for, well – bloody ages. We were blessed with lovely weather, we could sit in Mum’s garden, the kids were able to play together and take their scooters up and down the road. Even though I couldn’t give my Mum a hug when we got there, or give her a kiss goodbye, it all felt.. Normal.

I thought it would be nice to finish off a busy Sunday with a drink at the local when we’d dropped the kids home.

The pubs are taking bookings; our village pub wasn’t actually open on Sunday evening – it’s running very limited hours. Our other ‘local’ – the Five Bells was only open until 20.30 on Sunday. I wasn’t really sure how a socially distant pub would work. That said, I liked the procedure they had in place – no standing around and loitering, no waiting and ordering at the bar, there was a new table service app. Drinks and food would be served to the table. It sounded perfect. I don’t really like ordering at the bar, so.. I was happy to have minimal human contact.

That said, I was feeling a little aggy about being ‘in public’ – the stress of Stratford Westfield the week before was still fresh in my mind. I shouldn’t have worried, the pub was bloody brilliant.

It had been a gorgeous sunny day, and it was a similarly delightful evening. When we got to the pub they’d saved us a table outside and explained the ‘one-way’ system inside the pub if either of us needed the toilet. There were several other groups around us, but it was pretty quiet, much quieter than the average Sunday. I actually felt happy we’d come – it’s SO important to support smaller, local businesses. We weren’t going to spend masses, but I was happy to be putting some of my money into our local economy. Plus, the view across the valley is unlike any Wetherspoons I’ve been to!

I swished through the app and ordered some wine, it was with us moments later. Perfect.

The nearby tables all struck up conversations with us – I’m not one for chatting to strangers (I hadn’t drunk that much), but it was lovely how friendly everyone was. There was a real sense of community – all nicely spaced and socially distant.

One of the patrons had clearly had a bit TOO much to drink, and was trying to chat to everyone – he was on his own, and stumbling over to everyone’s table. The staff were on it, and constantly reminding him to go back to his table and sit down. It was lovely to see them trying hard to make everyone feel safe, comfortable and stick to the rules. I was a little bit sad when last orders was called just before 8pm. I could have happily stayed for a few more.

We’re going to Alton Towers at the weekend, we’ve not been since last year – I really can’t wait. If I’m honest with you, I don’t care about how many rides I do, it’s going to be lovely just to be there. A wander around the theme park, a few rides, some Extraordinary Golf and a few drinks on the porch of our Enchanted Lodge is all I need. Oh – and some food delivered by rollercoaster at the Rollercoaster Restaurant! Plus it will give me a good chance to try a spot of vlogging with my new camera too.

Maybe we’ll have another drink in the Five Bells to finish off this weekend too…?

A glass of wine (or two) at the Five Bells

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