Cheers to the dog.
A quick calculation shows that we are 378 days from when lockdown started. The day that changed our lives forever. I feel as a nation, we are currently at a crossroads in the pandemic where you can feel the power of hope overtaking the gloomy days we have become accustomed to ever since the Christmas tree went back up in the loft. The end is surely in sight. It’s such a simple metaphor when describing the hope we are feeling, to be the equivalent of the bursting springtime bloom to signal the start of a celebration that is long overdue. Every morning now when I open my curtains, I can see more and more colours on the trees which is so encouraging. You can physically see change and also feel it in the air - the 13.5 tog winter duvet is slowly being taken off our Covid-19 lives don’t you think?
I for one shall be taking advantage of the first warm and free afternoon I have, by getting down to a charming little beer garden. It’s poignant to mark the end of this unpleasant act of the Coronavirus play we all had the unfortunate experience of watching. The curtain is far from coming down just yet though.
I have actually forgotten what a hand pulled pint of real ale actually tastes like - I plan to rectify this (in a responsible manner) when the opportunity arises. There’s something so special about relaxing in that picturesque beer garden with your loved ones. It can’t be beaten. Sometimes in life, the most simple pleasures are the ones that you remember with such fondness over the course of time. Naturally, any public house frequenting MUST include taking your dog along with you for the full experience to be had. Surely all responsible dog owners have done this. Nevermind taking your firstborn to the pub to buy them their first legal pint - I’m talking about taking your fur-baby for a special trip out, so they can sit next to you on the inevitably uncomfortable (and far too small) picnic table whilst they watch you aimlessly fumble around with the stiffest parasol you’ve dealt with since that cheap package deal to Spain you went on.
Anyway. Your dog deserves this - it’s a proper social event for them. We all talk about how socialisation for dogs is so important. Ergo - get their drinking collar on! They’ll have a great time trust me. Complimentary doggy biscuits shall be served by the waiter alongside an ice cold bowl of fresh tap water. Don’t worry - I love my dog but I draw the line at asking for a £1.99 bottle of Evian water from behind the bar for them. So that’s settled then - we’re taking the dog to the pub with us. Bring the spare tent peg and hammer to keep her from inevitably running off to assist the Head Chef in the kitchen. Enjoy the chorus of dog barks you always get when you take your own well behaved dog into such places and be sure to keep a close eye on carelessly discarded triple cooked chips dripping in tomato sauce from one of those packets that can never be opened. You know full well if there’s a chip on the grass, your dog will sniff it out. My wife and I have learnt from previous country pub visits of the importance to do the “triple knot” when tying our Labrador to that picnic bench built for the people of small stature I was talking about earlier. If you implement the triple knot successfully around the table, you won’t experience the classic scene from Beethoven where he drags the bad guys across the garden chasing after his favourite ball during the family barbecue. You know the scene right? Does anyone else get that scene flash through their mind when tying their dog outside in the garden? If you’ve never watched Beethoven - what have you been doing all your life? I warn you now - you’ll be desperate for a 185lb St. Bernard by the end of it.
If lockdown has taught us anything, it’s the importance of spending quality time socialising with our friends and family so be sure to get yourselves down to that beer garden for an afternoon of fun and laughter. I have always found that if you bring a well behaved dog with you, then your 4 legged best friend automatically becomes the centre of attention. I remember a time taking Rosie to the pub for her birthday a couple of years back. I gleefully revelled in the moment when I declared to some American tourists it was Rosie’s birthday that very day and as a special birthday treat, we had taken her to her favourite watering hole. I admit to you now, it was one of my proudest moments of being her Daddy. The outpouring of love, petting, stroking and coo-ing was quite astonishing by those Texans. A happy birthday song ensued throughout the beer garden whilst we ate our triple cooked chips. After sinking her third bowl of water we called it a night and went home to bring out the birthday cake and presents.
The good news is that her birthday is coming up, just in time to head back to fumble around with that damned parasol.
Until next time.
*Please be responsible, don't drink and drive and remember - the dog is not the designated driver either.