Back to the ‘new’ normal

It’s something that has been talked about for a few weeks, group chats and one to one zoom meetings. I’ve ironed my clothes which now are hung up ready for the morning and my lunch is in the fridge ready to go. Today I have been preparing to go back to work after 12 weeks of being furloughed. I have mixed emotions but whilst I am anxious, as my job involves dealing with the general public in the healthcare sector, I am very much looking forward to getting back to some sense of routine and getting used to the ‘new normal’.

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There will be things I will miss when I go back to work as I have used the time in lockdown to learn new things and pursue creative interests. I have brushed up on my sewing skills by making face masks as well as spending more time learning to cook with my partner Josh in the kitchen. I have baked a cake, made pasta for the first time and experimented making different types of breads: brioche, focaccia and sourdough. I have also spent more time outdoors, going cycling and sitting out in the garden as we have been lucky with the weather.

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Lazy sunny afternoons that drifted into long warm evenings meant plenty of time to sit in the garden with a book in one hand a beer in the other. I have enjoyed drinking Schöfferhofer Grapefruit Hefeweizen in the early afternoons as well as lagers from Cloudwater, Donzoko and Utopian. There has also been nothing better then a cold and crisp glass of Lost and Grounded’s Keller Pils after a long dog walk or a hot bike ride. I will miss opening up that first thirst quenching beer of the early afternoon, not really being aware of what time it was as well as tracking our weekly delivery of bag in box beer from Stealth Brew Co. and then waiting for it to chill long enough before we eagerly pour the first pint. We have taken advantage of breweries and bottle shops expanding into direct online sales with regular deliveries being left on the doorstep by smiling couriers. It has been really important to us from the start to make sure to support the beer industry during this time by continuing to buy beer to drink at home. For my lockdown birthday I received 30 beers for 30 years, and whilst it would normally take me a while to get through this much beer at home I have certainly made a bigger dent in the box as the pubs have been closed.

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We have fond memories of the late nights where we have been singing along to music or catching up with friends online which has gone on until the early hours of the morning. I have enjoyed taking part in more beer events online, as I have not had to worry about it being a weeknight. Zoom events that have over ran because we were all enjoying talking and sharing a beer together. I have used this time away from work to expand my beer knowledge and have taken part in a few online webinars with some great hosts. I’ve been working on some of my skills to complete my beer sommelier accreditation as well as practice some blind tasting. I have also joined some online groups where we can discuss and virtually meet to socialise and talk about beer! It has been really fun to be able to regularly take part in #CraftBeerHour each week on Twitter too. My highlight was being asked to host #CraftBeerHour on 2nd June where I had so much fun engaging with people talking about beer as well as Shed and Garden Pubs.

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As I get back to my ‘new normal’ I still can’t help but wonder what will happen when pubs and taprooms are able to fully open post-lockdown. As I write this we still have not had any confirmation that pubs will definitely be reopening on the 4th July as well as the restrictions that will be put in place. In the meantime we will continue to show our support by ordering beers online for delivery even though I’ll now have to wait until I’m back from work or at weekends. The proposed social distancing measures and current rate of infection are likely to be keeping me away from pubs for the time being but going back to work, to me, feels like we are one step closer to returning back to the normal where we can safely raise a glass with friends once again.

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