Robert in Lockdown – 29.4.21

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Could there be any other subject for my column this week than the grand reopening of the nation’s beer gardens?

In typically Scottish style, after a full week of scorching weather, the heavens decided to open on Glasgow on Monday afternoon but that didn’t put off the many revellers who were welcomed back to the pubs with open arms.

Readers will recall I booked my seat in a couple of establishments on Ashton Lane a number of weeks ago – alongside Neil Armstrong’s cousin, John Robertson! We were also joined by Trail West’s Ian Smith and our good pal Donnie ‘Maroot’.

This exact squad had last been assembled on the day the pubs shut in Glasgow when we were placed into tier 4 back in the autumn. That night, Scotland had been playing Israel and we all watched the game in the Park Bar. Pre-match, we were interviewed for STV News and asked to give our thoughts on the pubs closing.

As we sat in the newly reopened Bar Brel on Monday, we were reminiscing about that television appearance all those months previously and remarking on how unlikely it was that, out of the whole of Glasgow, the news had decided to interview us. No sooner had we had this conversation, than a gentleman with a camera approached us and asked if we would give our thoughts on the pubs reopening for BBC Reporting Scotland… you could not write it!

Once again, out of the whole of Glasgow, the cameras had somehow found us. Donnie said a few words, the guys thanked us, and (true enough) we were the first item on the news at half past six.

‘Oh well,’ said one of the boys. ‘At least that will give Robert something to write his Oban Times column about this week.’

After the hour and a half slot at Brel was up, we headed to our next booking – the Ubiquitous Chip – where we sat with oysters and Prosecco. We obviously felt a bit classy after a year of lockdown but, when the bill arrived, we unanimously decided that, from now on, we’d go back to our usual fare of Scampi Fries and lager!

All in all, it was a tremendous day. The April showers of rain were not enough to dampen anybodies spirits. From staff to punters, everyone had huge smiles on their faces and people were just delighted to be interacting with other human beings again – albeit from a social distance.

Life has possibly changed forever due to coronavirus but, among all the difficult circumstances, it is quite amazing to see some of the positive differences it has made.
Who knew, for example, that Scotland would ever be such a hub of al fresco living! Or that people would be far more friendly towards strangers than they ever were before. Or, indeed, that a boy from Lochaber, a boy from Tiree, a boy from Skye, and a boy from Stornoway would be the BBC’s public face of the reopening of Glasgow’s hospitality industry!