Friday, 17 July 2020


March 17th 2020 - The Station House & The Bridge Hotel - Durham.
Last pubs visited before lock-down

July 14th 2020 - The Stables, West Herrington Sunderland. First pub visited after lock-down.

During the week Mrs Ken and I went for a walk in Herrington Country Park as it was a nice day. I thought it was time to for a pint on a pub so I casually suggested a route that would lead to The Stables

This pub, as the name suggests used  to be stables. It is long and stone built with stone floors and low lit lighting. From the road it doesnt look like a pub as there is no pub sign. Its on an outside wall facing the cobbled car park.

I was expecting a load of signs and instructions  with the dos and dont's, but there wasn't  much. A sign in the car park said "queue here", but no queue. A sign at the entrance saying "please use hand sanitiser", but no hand sanitiser - it was empty. Good start.  

I wear reactor light glasses and every time I go into this place, my eyes take a while to react to the gloom, so I literally nearly walked into the bar.

" You're not allowed at the bar" came the voice of the manageress from the darkness.

" Cant see the bar, what beer have you got ?"

There was White Rat and Landlord but the former was off so Landlord it was. Table service I was told , which I could get used to. It didnt take long for the drinks to arrive ( Mrs Ken had a coffee)  Half way through the beer I realised they hadn't taken any contact details. Hmm.

Anyhow, the lack of signs about the rules got me thinking.........

By coincidence, earlier that day I was reminded of the fact that it was nine years ago to the day a group of us were on a pub  crawl in Berwick. The best pub we visited was The Barrels Ale House, famous locally for having a old dentist chair at the bar. Around the walls were plastered old signs and notices, including this "Rules of the Inn" dated 1786.

So I can imagine in 200 years time a poster dated 2020 is unearthed with pub rules relating to Covid 19.What would the drinkers make of it all ?

" Look, they weren't allowed to stand ! How did they go to the loo then?"
" No shouting so no music!"
" Contactless only no cash. What's cash ?"

Perhaps they would ask the robot barperson ? "Computer says no".

So back to the Landlord. During lock-down Ive been drinking plenty of beers, mostly Maxim bottle beers and minicasks all of which I have enjoyed. However this was my first pub pint in about 4 months. I listened to a podcast the other week featuring beer writer Roger Protz on which he was asked " whats your favourite beer?"

" Well if its pored right and kept right - Timothy Taylors Landlord." he said.

He would have liked this then! Spot on.


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