There are epiphanic moments in every life and I had one a week ago in Smithfield in the heart of London when The Bishops Finger beckoned to me. It was the evening of ‘Freedom Day’ and by chance my son Will and I found ourselves in front of the ancient gate of Bart’s, the hospital where nearly two years ago I had my ailing heart re-juvenated.
One thing I’ve missed since then is a pint in a pub on a hot summer’s day. And that’s when I saw, on the other side of the square, The Bishops Finger. And it was pointing at me. And the next thing I knew I was in the cool dark interior, standing at the long polished wood bar, watching Fiona, the owner, draw a beautifully cleansing glass of Whitstable Pilsener.
I’ve spent time in plenty of pubs I’m only too happy to forget, but The Bishops Finger was different. So much so, that I burbled on about it, with the enthusiasm of a freshly released prisoner. Fiona must have though I was on something. We sat and despatched our Whitstable Pilseners and talked about nothing much, which is what pubs are for. In a way I had Covid to thank for keeping me away from places like this for so long that the joy of re-discovery was doubly glorious.
Occasionally things like this happen which can’t ever be repeated or re-created. All I can say is that that drink in The Bishop’s Finger will always be special. It was more than just a drink, it was a return to life.