Published: 06:00, 15 January 2021
| Updated: 07:24, 15 January 2021
Hey fellow pub-loving record-breakers, how are you managing while Covid has stolen our beloved Kent boozers?
Personally speaking I pulled on the gardening gloves during the last lockdown and got to work on the tan, but this time it’s different and instead of going to the pub I’ve transformed myself into a gay icon.
This is the longest period in my life that I haven’t visited a public house and sadly there’s still not much light at the end of the tunnel. And, there must be a legion of Kent pub lovers out there feeling similarly challenged.
Of course, local pubs have always held a special place in my heart, but it wasn’t until they were gone I realised the vital role they play in my well-being. Christmas and New Year passed off okay in the SD household - quiet of course, but at least they were a distraction from missing the boozer.
But this latest lockdown feels very different. Previously I didn’t really know anyone affected whereas all I seem to hear about now is folk being hospitalised or even not making it.
And, this lockdown is also a totally different challenge due to the dreary, dark evenings and the freezing temperatures.
Last time I volunteered to do gardening and odd jobs for the oldies around the village and they were delighted to see me. It was great as I picked up some new skills and, despite the adverse conditions, met some new people.
In fact, as LD1 ended the work went on and they even started paying me. It strikes me if you turn up when you say you will, are pleasant and smiley and do a decent job there’s a stack of work available out there.
But gardening work isn’t as plentiful in winter of course, so this time I’ve pulled on a hard hat, rigger boots and a hi-vis vest.
Those of you ‘young enough’ to remember the Village People will understand the gay icon reference as I labour on a variety of construction sites.
It’s hell on my knees, which must be at least 30 years older than me, and I’m asleep like a baby in front of the TV by 8.30pm.
It’s no replacement for the buzz and banter offered by a pub but at least it’s getting me out of the house and keeping me relatively sane.
Regular readers will know I’m not one to moan, but my boss had me humping 10 frozen fence posts and the same number of frozen 5ft panels down a Chatham alley this week and then humping them over a back fence before installing them.
And, what an hilarious fellow - my suggestion I might need help was met with a quip about not charging me for the extra gym workout!
Mind you, the beer belly is disappearing fast – but how I long to be back in the pub and a chance to pile it all back on.
While I'm on the subject, Mrs SD is off carbs and has also shed many pounds.
As far as I can tell she eats nothing but boiled eggs these days – have you smelt them recently?
As well as supporting my local pubs and breweries I also tried brewing my own hooch in LD1.
I’ve recently ordered takeaways from my favourites like Gravesend’s Iron Pier Brewery and Cellar Head, near Goudhurst.
Any extra space in the beer fridge has gone to cans of Shipyard, Stella, Blue Sparks for the vodka and even a few nostalgic bottles of festive Cherry B to add to K cider to make legovers (they taste like pop but believe me, they pack a punch).
I’m keeping in touch with as many pubs as possible through social media and doing whatever I can to support them.
Please continue to do what you can to back them and help them through these difficult days.
Right, I must wish you adieu as I have a slot booked at the local tip – who’d have thought dumping an old dishwasher would be the highlight of the week, strange times indeed.
Do write and tell me how you’re managing in lockdown, we’re in it for a good while longer yet and need to support each other - even us hardy souls who think we’re indestructible have realised we can have pretty darned low days and a problem shared as they say.
You can tweet me @drinker_secret or email me firstname.lastname@example.org