Visiting London in the Time of Covid
Updated: Apr 26
Next Time I Will Try Mushy Peas with My Blood Orange G&T!
Narrowly leaving Spain during the Covid-19 explosion, Kellie and I found ourselves in London just in time for their pandemic. Using a cut off T-shirt sleeve as a makeshift gator neck mask, we carefully made the move to our hotel from the airport. Very few others were in masks. Once we were checked in, we needed to find something to eat.
It's Covid! It's London! Keep Calm and Eat Fish and Chips! A Very English Comfort Food!
There were lots of choices near our hotel on the south side of the river in the Tower Bridge. Fortunately, the Pommelers Rest (196–198 Tower Bridge Road, Tower Bridge (South) is a nice pub half a block from our hotel. Having spent little time in London, it was far more interesting and different than our local restaurants.
We grabbed a table and sat down. We noticed a small brass marker on the table with a number. It occurred to me that the pub may not have wait service. I went to the bar and saw a sign that said order here. We were tired from the trip and just wanted something tasty to eat. With Covid-19 running rampant, I knew I wanted hot food to reduce potential risk. Always concerned with the stigma of eating food in England, I just kept it simple. I ordered fish and chips and the wife had a small pizza.
All was good until the pretty young bartender asked with a heavy brogue, “mushy or garden?” Never having such a question before, and with all the background noise I am embarrassed to say, I asked her to repeat herself two more times. In a hurried way she stated “peas with the fish”. She never lost her pleasant smile, and quickly asked what I would like to drink. I had read on the menu that drinks were included. I asked her if that included mixed drinks. She looked at me, smiled and stated, “Yes, cocktails are included with cost of the dinner.”
Now I was smiling! I told her we like Gin & Tonic. Without hesitation she said, “Blood Orange, Rose or London Dry”. Blown away and always the adventurer, I order Blood Orange for myself and Rose Gin for my wife. Each came with its own little bottle of diet tonic.
Then she asked the hundred-dollar question, “What is your table number?” With all the commotion, I am embarrassed to report I had to return to the table to retrieve the number. I paid, took the G&T to the table and a short while later, very good Cod and Chips and a frightful looking pizza came to the table. We enjoyed the moment and reflected in a warm and cozy pub with lively clientele and music.
We took an invigorating walk to the Tower Bridge after dinner. However, due to Covid-19, much was changing around us. People were cuing up in the cold and windy evening outside of stores to buy food. Restrictions were beginning to be implemented throughout the city.
We bought a few bottles of water and headed back to the warm hotel for the night.