• Written by Castle Rock Brewery
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In a way, everything has changed but nothing has changed.

I’ve still got a routine despite the pub not being open. My son wouldn’t allow me not to.

I’m still up early, no sleeping all day for me. Once he’s up, we go downstairs and change his nappy. Get breakfast sorted while my girlfriend has a lie in. Then we go straight outside into the garden. We’ve tried to spend as much time as possible in the garden, as there will be many times when its less feasible.

It’s been a nice but challenging experience spending time together as a family. It’s not something we’ve done for this period of time since I was on paternity leave. My girlfriend and I generally work opposite shifts to each other so that we can look after our son. We’re doing things together like eating meals and watching TV series’. It’s strange falling into a pattern that is deemed normal but not normal for me.

I’ve been at the pub for such a long time that a lot of the customers are my friends. Despite not seeing them like we are used to, I’m still in touch with them. I’ve been in touch with one of the characters every day. The betting shops are shut, so I’ve been putting his bets on online for him. Somehow, he’s still found things to bet on despite sport being shut down across the world! We started with horse racing in Ireland but that finished so we’ve covered Hong Kong, South Africa and USA so far (with limited success).

It’s amazing to see what some customers have done. From some of our regulars going around the pub collecting money for the staff on the night we closed, to messages from customers wishing us well and seeing if there is any way they can support the pub and us as individuals while we’re shut, to groups that come in on specific nights together setting up video chat groups so they can try to keep a level of ordinariness through this far from ordinary time that we are living in.

From a personal point of view, I miss the pub. I miss my colleagues, I miss the customers, and of course I miss the beer and breweries that we deal with. But the break has been good for me. The job as a manager is an all-encompassing life that can be 24/7, and often means putting others before yourself. It’s been nice to recharge the batteries a little bit and have some time to reflect.

I think we’ll all come back with renewed vigour and feeling stronger than ever.

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