I am fortunate to work for a company where the occasional pint at lunchtime is perfectly acceptable, and no one will bat an eyelid. However, it is not exactly common practice, and as much as I enjoy my beer my lunchtimes normally consist of a brisk 35-minute walk in the delightful Kentish countryside. This is followed by a period of unwinding in front of my PC, with a cup of tea and my sandwiches, once I am back in the office.
I didn't fight the feeling and instead I thought, why not? The sun was shining, and outside of our air-conditioned premises, it was a pleasant and warm summer’s day, so at 1pm sharp, I headed off, up the hill, to walk to the Greyhound at Charcott.
I checked in, taking a quick look at the beer menu, as I did so. The latter was thoughtfully written out on a chalkboard outside, and there were several different choices. The young man who signed me in, said that Gun Brewery ‘s Chummy Bluster had just gone on sale and there was also a black IPA from Kent Brewery. Neither appealed.
Black IPA is a ridiculous, American fake beer style, and also an oxymoron, because how can a "pale ale" be black? Fortunately, local favourite Larkin’s Traditional, was also on tap, so after placing my order with the staff member, I headed off into the garden at the side of the pub.
There were a few drinkers, and the odd diner sitting outside plus, as far as I could make out, a few others in the pub itself. There was no sitting at the bar of course, as was the normal practice at the Greyhound, prior to the start of the pandemic.
My pint arrived, looking slightly hazy, and with hindsight, perhaps I should have taken it back. There’s a problem doing that under current rules, when one is not supposed to approach the bar, but as luck would have it, the Larkin’s was perfectly drinkable, even though it wasn’t quite the pint I’d been craving for earlier.
All things come to an end, and it didn’t take long for me to finish my pint, so after attracting the attention of a different staff member, and setting up with cash, I headed back to work. There was still time to make a cup of tea, grab my sandwiches and have a working lunch, sat in front of my computer. It wasn’t quite the ideal pint, but in the lottery that is sometimes cask ale, it wasn’t too bad either.
A couple of things to consider. Under normal circumstances, I don’t like rushing my beer, and having to keep one eye on my watch, isn’t my idea of a relaxing time. This wasn’t normal circumstances, as having spent the last couple of months beavering away at work, and at home – or rather in the garden, I really deserved to let my hair down.
Grabbing a swift lunchtime pint, was hardly doing the latter, but with my successor at work, settling in well, and most of the major garden projects drawing to a conclusion (there’s still the shed roof to re-felt), proper lunchtime sessions should begin to become much more common.