So here we are – out the other side of Lockdown 2.0 and as a real ale brewer I find myself furloughed for the second time, at this point for six weeks. Even with this period of house arrest at an end here in Lancashire we are back to tier three as is most of our customer base. This time however the schools are open so I was able to look for temporary work and was very fortunate to find some. Not only will this top up the missing 20% of my income, but at least as important, it will also provide the routine and camaraderie which form part of the unspoken skeleton to my well-being. What is better still is that it is part time so I can continue with this even when I get phased back into work at the brewery when our local COVID tier drops and business picks up again.
And here we see my working life come full circle. Back in 1991 between the second and third years of my chemistry degree I found a work experience placement in a water analysis lab. Scroll forwards almost 30 years and my new temporary role is analysing the water released from a local chemical site to demonstrate compliance to their discharge limits. Whilst I’d rather be brewing, I find myself in a friendly team and learning how to run instrumentation beyond the wildest dreams of my colleagues in 1991.
At home I’ve never been so caught up on chores. Take for example our family Christmas letter this is now written and ready to send out. Furthermore, all the presents we look forward to giving, these too have been bought. This is position I have never aimed for before and will be unlikely to achieve again. Also positive is the chance to brew on my home nano-brewery once a week with the aim of optimising two beer recipes ready for Christmas. I am delighted with my raspberry porter recipe which my tasting panel say rivals the famous Titanic Plum Porter. My German Christmas biscuit beer is going to take some more work however, but there is still time. It needs more orange zest… Every brew is a chance to learn. Another positive during Lockdown 2.0 is that I have started studying towards my IBD Diploma in Brewing, a welcome chance to exercise my grey matter and very enlightening to boot.
As I drafted our family Christmas letter I was able to look back at my multi-day walking / wild-camping trips of 2020. Another facet of my sanity skeleton is maintaining a connection to nature (link back). I’ve been fortunate that Mrs W has facilitated me spending at least one night under ‘canvas’ every month from April to October. Weather permitting I hope to get away next weekend to try out my new winter solo tent which was lucky to pick up second hand in ‘as new’ condition
They say the wild camping is cheaper than therapy, but not if you buy Hilleberg… My ‘new’ Soulo will enable me to continue to get out all through the winter and, please please, get to experience life at altitude and in the snow. Bring it on!