HOW nice it is to be able to sit inside a pub and enjoy a drink and a meal after more than a year of Covid closures and restrictions.

It is typically British that the reopening of pubs is viewed so universally as such a significant benchmark in the easing out of lockdown.

And it's not even the promise of alcohol that gets us all misty-eyed about the local - after all, supermarkets have been selling booze throughout lockdown at cheaper prices - more, it's what the pub represents to us culturally.

There's nothing quite like a friendly local, or a centuries-old rural inn that sells 'proper food and proper ale' with stunning views over the countryside.

Even if these are somewhat cliched representations of British pubs, they do exist and there's nothing better than finding a rural gem or being a part of a friendly village pub community.

Humans are social animals at heart and pubs bring together all walks of life; people who might otherwise never have met but, after a pint or four, realise they are kindred spirits by the end of the night.

Sadly it's no secret that pubs were under threat long before the Covid crisis, with an alarming number closing each week.

So it will be interesting to see whether an enforced absence has made the heart grow fonder.

Landlords and ladies will certainly be hoping so as they look forward to a summer of 'new normal' Covid-safe trading.

Hospitality has been so battered by the Covid crisis, the least we can do now is get out there and raise a glass to all that we've been missing and toast to the light at the end of the lockdown tunnel.