Saturday 4 July 2020

Coronavirus streets in Manchester - XII

Not a publican’s fan

The public house social event or pub as we know it, of the Englishman is one I have never adapted to because there is a history to that. As a teenager, I worked in a brewery where lager was made according to German traditions. I was in the laboratory where I conducted tests of water chlorine levels with o-Toluidine which the chemists reliably informed me was carcinogenic, though no one felt they should not be having a 15-year old kid handling that substance.
Yes, I tasted a lot of lager and the concoctions through the process, the first wort which comes from the boiling of the barley was said to be an aphrodisiac, again, you would wonder what I have needed that for, but you get told many things, people completely oblivious of the inappropriateness of it.
Maybe it was when I was to fill in my tax forms and some of my colleagues advised me to have at least two dependants. My two children of a certain age as if I were a daddy from the age of 10. In the end, I never took a liking for beer, lager, ale, or cider, considering away from the scrutiny of parental control I did have a light lager from time to time when I was much younger.
An early beer to fear
With the relaxation of the lockdown restrictions due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the government agreed on the opening of pubs from 6:00AM today. Why anyone would attend a pub at that time of the day escapes me, even if we have not had that luxury for over 3 months.
On my way out to the shops, the local pub had already opened it’s doors, the short queue forming outside were ushered in and those patrons taking up pavement space apart from the bouncer or doorman were smoking and chatting excitedly and possible beyond their regulated social bubbles.
My street was busier than usual, it was the most crowded I had seen it in months. The Mexican restaurant which had barely opened at the beginning of the year took in two customers who knocked on the door and it was apparently left open for possibly other visitors.
Neither the hotel nor the theatre at the road junction further on seemed to be ready for business yet. The local supermarket was not that busy, I had some luxury coleslaw in mind, the only thing on the shelves was the vegan variant. My head said no, instructed by misgivings, fables, and stereotypes, but I dared, and it was not that bad.
A new normalcy beckons
My first social event outside of our neighbourly soirees on Sunday and that meeting in the park would be attending the Sung Eucharist at Manchester Cathedral tomorrow, a ticketed event for which I obtained an invitation on Friday. I can only wonder if my sobriety would be afflicted by the inebriated in my path that has unfortunately not yet found their way home.
I hope that more of us are wise about the liberties we have newly acquired not to have us all go into lockdown in a fortnight. I guess we have the future to look to and the moments to cherish, some lessons learnt about who matters, what matters, with the resetting of priorities. The Coronavirus streets in Manchester and coming back to life again.

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