It’s almost as though the last two years have never happened. With the first sip of that dark frothing pint––Weihenstephaner Hefe Dunkel 5.3% for those who are interested––I could almost imagine that I was awakening from a strange dream, and the long hiatus since my last similar pint had been nothing more than a mere mirage.
It is as though nothing has changed. In the particular pub, which I consider my spiritual home, the décor is exactly the same, right down to the split in the faux, brown leather banquette where I normally sit, and where the white stuffing is beginning to protrude.
As per usual at lunchtime, I have the place to myself. A quiet, unvarying haven of tranquillity in the heart of the busy city. The beer is as good as ever I remembered it; the choice, if I should elect to break from tradition––heaven forbid!––expansive and eclectic. Good, God, I have missed this place. It almost makes working worthwhile.
But, things have changed. Nice though it would be to dismiss the last two years as some kind of Bobby-in-the-shower type dream, the London I return to is a different place to the one, which I left. It is etched in the faces; written in the stories; recorded in the grim figures of a pandemic, unknown in a century.
Which is all the more reason why I value this sanctuary. The solid bricks of its structure; the long tradition of drinking ale; the comforting continuity from past to present. It is an anchor in an uncertain world. Right down to the split in the fax, brown leather banquette. I hope that it is never repaired.
© Beery Sue
Beery Sue gets a bit sentimental.