Northamptonshire village pub gardens blessed with sunshine on busy but enjoyable first day back after lockdown
'People are just happy to eat something they haven't made themselves and drink somewhere other than their own home'
It has been a busy but enjoyable first day back for sunny beer gardens across the villages near Northampton after the third coronavirus lockdown.
People have been making the most of pubs being allowed to reopen for outdoor table service only from today (Monday, April 12).
Donna Leah, the manager of The Brampton Halt in Chapel Brampton, said: "It's going very well, we've been blessed with the sunshine and the garden is pretty full and all the customers are happy.
"They all know what they would like to drink before we ask them as they've been dreaming about that first drink!"
The garden at The Narrowboat pub near Weedon Bec has been full of revelers all day with a few birthday celebrations, according to owner Karen Bray.
"It's been a very successful day so far as the sun has continued to shine - it's a great feeling," she said.
"I think have got over 100 booked today and everyone seems to be happy and glad to be back.
"We've also got a marquee which sits 30 people and we're nearly fully booked for that up to the end of the month which is brilliant."
Regulars and staff have been reunited after months of separation during the lockdown - Donna said it was like seeing your family again.
Teams have also been able to see each other again and get back to what they love doing after so long stuck at home with no one to serve.
"We've got quite a big team and they're really happy, it's nice to get back together and see each other again, we've had some training in the week but it's nice to see some actual customers as that's what we're here for," Donna said.
Karen said her team had said they were going stir crazy at home so they were delighted to be back at it with big smiles under their masks.
The pub owner believes many customers were simply happy to be eating a meal made by someone other than themselves and drink somewhere other than their own home.
She also praised customers for being so good at sticking to the covid-safe rules like wearing a mask, using the one-way system and using the QR code to order online.
Similarly, Donna said: "People are more prepared, everyone knows what's expected of them and customers are prepared and it's not so much of a shock to them and hopefully this is the last lockdown."
Both Karen and Donna were in agreement that the longer the good weather continues, the better things will be but they are prepared for the rain and cold if need be.
"We just need the sun to keep on shining as it makes our lives a lot easier but everyone brought coats although they don't need them at the moment so the sun is doing its job," Donna said.