The nuts, tortillas, dips etc are nearly ready for our six guests' arrival in around 30 minutes. It almost feels like I'm back in the pub business. Well, it was Mr Puddlecote Senior's business actually, from 1984 to 1992, but - although I left 'home' in '89 - we ran it together during all of that time (yes, I 'shockingly' started bar work before my 18th birthday).
Specifically, it's like being in the trade on Christmas Day but without the tinsel and crappy sweaters. That was when the pub was still licensed to operate even though officially closed, but in the evening we opened the side door and let the regulars, and their families, in for what was always a genuinely warm and pleasant night of friendship and conversation. A small portable was balanced on top of the fruitie so no-one missed 'Fools and Horses' and the till was opened for everyone to serve themselves. Christmas Day wasn't a day for work, just for enjoyment.
I'm hoping it's going to have that feel tonight. Relaxation away from the righteous, the nannies, the rules, licensing hours, the
What's more, all the cigs and tobacco derives from outside of this country, along with a fair chunk of the beer and all of the wine and spirits. Our government is getting almost nothing out us tonight.
I don't have a clue what we shall be talking about for most of the night - as was always the way in the pre-nanny state pub full of regulars - but I do know that we will be drawing up a rota at some point. There's no agenda, but even before a glass has been poured, we kinda know we're going to be doing this again. Regularly.
Right, gotta go and prepare the hummus now (remove packaging and peel back foil lid), don't expect anything to appear here till well after lunch tomorrow.