Roll forward a week and the rules were changed. Thanks to the National Health Service, not our bumbling political leaders, Britain's vaccination programme has squashed the key coronavirus statistics right down - infections, hospitalisations, deaths. What a brilliant national response and something to be proud of at last.
Anyway this meant that yesterday we did not have to sit outside at "The Hammer and Pincers". We could go inside to a pre-booked table. Social distancing guidance is still in place so I was slightly annoyed to see that our table in a snug corner of the pub meant that we had to sit closer together than I would have wished.
The conversation flowed naturally as usual - a tapestry of happenings, memories, family news. jokes, ideas with no judgement or point scoring. Danny was a senior police officer, Mike was a Head of English in a secondary school just like me and Mick was a warehouseman.
Four pints and two and a half hours later it was time to go. Shirley had kindly offered to drive up there to taxi me home because I have had a bad foot the last two or three days and I have been limping around like Hopalong Cassidy. By the way, this morning it feels significantly better.
Cinemas were also opened up yesterday and I have booked to see "Nomadland" at The Showroom on Friday. No doubt I will be reviewing it in this blog. I bet you can't wait!
Somehow I can't help feeling nervous about the slackening of restrictions. With the new more deadly Indian variant now creeping around in towns like Bolton and Blackburn, it makes me think that the government were unwise to prematurely earmark a date - namely May 17th - for loosening the national tourniquet. They should have waited and thoroughly assessed the evidence. Another week or two would not have made much difference. Equally, they should have acted more swiftly to block travel from India. They let the thing in because of their political optimism and dilly-dallying.