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Photo Article: Breaking out of Wales for a substantial meal in a boozer and it is heartbreaking

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 17 December 2020

Thanks to the certifiably insane First Minister here in Wales, Mr Mark Drakeford, boozers shut at 6 PM and can’t serve booze anyway. I can’t remember whether it is illegal to cross the border with England yet or whether the North Wales Police start arresting folks for this heinous crime on the 24th, 25th or 28th. Anyhow, we set off from the Welsh Hovel last night, four of us in the car, dashing the few hundred yards to the bridge to free England and what we found was heartbreaking.

This is nine days before Christmas. A while back, I bought a loss making restaurant in London, turned it around and flogged it for a profit. I’d have assumed back then that in the short month of December we’d take in more than “dry January”, February and most of March combined. You need a cracking December to survive an awful Q1; that is how this game works.

The gastro pub which we frequent is in a small village in Tier 2 Cheshire and in normal times you’d be booking to get a table. Now you book to obey the law. This place could, I guess, seat 60 and this time last year it probably would have seated 60 all night, working its way through multiple covers per table. We arrived and there was one other table of four. By the time we left, that table had been replaced by a table of two. It must be heartbreaking for the family who own and staff the place.

The family have invested in all the sanitisers and other measures needed to follow the rules derived from the bogus science but I sense there is a quiet anger. I did not wear a mask to enter, leave, pop out and back fetching a car seat for Jayarani or to go to the loo, having mumbled something about a medical exemption. At the start of this dreadful time folks looked at you or asked. Now my mumblings were enough and we were just welcomed as that rarity, paying customers.

The starter for myself, The Mrs and The Pest, whose mits are upon it, is below. It is what is now termed a substantial meal, that iconic item of 2020, a Scotch Egg. In this case eaten crisp and hot with brown sauce. It was fantastic.

I hope this boozer survives. To see a family run business, an enterprise where folks have risked their cash, that creates jobs, pays taxes and, in a very small village, gives a community a place of focus, brought to its knees in this way is heartbreaking. But, no doubt, more “experts” with safe and very well paid public sector jobs who have never risked a cent of their capital, in lives spent sucking at the public teat, will assure us that to combat a dreadful plague where 99.97% of those under 70 survive, it is all worth it. And MPs will go along with this “science” as they too will all have safe well paid “work” next year without risking a cent. 

My anger rises. Surely we the sans culottes of the private sector should start thinking of pitchforks, tumbrils, guillotines and storming the Bastille to drag out members of SAGE to meet a well deserved fate? Or are we sheep, so battered after a year of lockdowns that we will now just accept anything that is thrown at us including tax hikes to pay for pay rises for those experts and others with safe jobs in the public sector? 

Citizen Winnifrith – you insult the entire NHS, the envy of the world. How dare you suggest that GPs facing empty surgeries and making the odd zoom call and with an average salary of almost £80,000 a year do not deserve a bumper pay rise after their heroics of 2020. You are a fascist. This is a hate crime. Your time in Room 101 beckons.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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