Cheers! After our long Lockdown, the Neest’s bars and cafes were allowed to start serving us – strictly al fresco and 2m apart – on Monday.
I didn’t make a bee-line for the nearest beer garden, but in the morning me and a pal went for a tootle roon aboot before bowling up at another mate’s hoosie on the scrounge for a coffee.
She welcomed us inside, but we insisted that was against Nippy Sweetie’s rules. Only one family in your allocated “bubble” allowed into yer hoosie, meantime.
Sez she: “No, that’s wrong. Anyone can come in now.” Comes us: “Nope. We can only go into your garden.” Reluctantly (because it was spittin’ rain and blowin’ a chilly gale) she agreed to serve us ootside – three al’ wifies distantly shiverin’ and hummerin’ ower the various, ever-changing rules and regulations of life today.
When the wind dropped and the sun came out in the afternoon, me and the quine headed off with the Toots to Hazlehead Park, which was fairly hoochin’. A long, dutifully spaced queue for the kiosk.
But it’s in citizen-minded places like these that the reckless folk who let us all down stand out like sair thumbs. While all around were families keeping their distance from others, a hillock of young mums and their bairns were having what looked like a super picnic; round a wooden bench, overspill on to their own wee stools, almost shoulder-to-shoulder.
A prime example of not giving a damn about 2m social distancing – nor even 1m. None of them looked the least fashed or abashed about rubbishing the rules. I can only surmise they just didn’t care. But that’s a fat lot of good for the rest of us intent on playing by the book lest there’s another wave of the infection.
Meanwhile, it’s delightful to see these new tables and chairs pop up outside various eateries and drinkeries in the area. A lot of mein hosts in the city must be particularly chuffed, having been turned down by cooncillors for open-air facilities umpteen times before.
If only the Neest could depend on sun-soaked summers, like those in deepest Zomerzet, peppered with the beer gardens.
Sadly, though, some are also plagued by daftie craiters who don’t respect distancing rules. Near the beauty spot of Chew Valley Lake, in an idyllic outside restaurant for Sunday lunch, we sat at a table by the hedge (mistake No. 1) and I ordered melon (mistake No. 2) for a starter. As we ate, what appeared to be an entire hive of wasps blasted from the adjacent greenery and set about my honeydew.
How we quines skirled as the menfolk attempted to act: “They winna touch ye,” macho. Except “they” would, even after we moved for the carvery.
Once again, it was Mo’s menu choice that tempted the buzzin’ horde – the mint sauce I’d ladled on to my roast lamb sent them into foodie frenzy. That was tatties-ower-the-side for my delightful lunch, petrified I’d get stung or even swallow one of the sodding stingers. Beware antisocial non-distancers!
The best of times with this year’s tennis treat
Usually at this time of year, every year, I contrive to stage my very own personal lockdown – during Wimbledon fortnight.
Stop all the clocks, turn the keys in the door. Just let me fallollop oot in front of the telly and cheer on my favourites. What a delight it is to see the sun set, the floodlights come on and two brilliant players hammer it out into the late evening.
When I was a mother’s help to a family in Barnes in the late 60s, I took a bus to Wimbledon, queued for less than an hour and got a precious ticket to No. 1 Court, where I wallowed in the delights of seeing several stars of the day, including a singles Aussie needle-battle between hunky John Newcombe and Tony Roche.
The game was spectacular. The Wimbledon atmosphere utterly magical. One of the unforgettable days of my life.
But this pandemic year, all has changed. No more speculation whether Andy Murray’s dodgy back will be up to it, or my darling Federer has yet another championship victory in him. So this week it’s been down to the Beeb, Sue Barker and their series The Best Of…
Starved of the real thing, what a joy it’s turning out to be. A selection of all the best nail-biting matches down through the decades, compressed into a thrilling 10 minutes instead of a bum-numbing three or four hours. TV gold.
Reid with the noddin’ heid? Hurry back, Piers
Now I’m deffo no ardent fan of broadcaster Piers Morgan. He can be as irritating as prickly heat.
But I’m disappointed to hear he’s taking a summer break from Good Morning Britain because the programme has become such compulsive viewing since he was unleashed on it.
So I’ll take a break until he comes back. I only wish ITV could magic up a better co-presenter for him. That personality-challenged Susanna Reid and her noddin heid is truly excruciating.