The world seems a very different place to when we turned up at the latest kitchen residency at 1000 Trades this time last week. That evening the bar was busy; tables were full, people were drinking and taking heed of the ‘carry on’ attitude being asked from the bell end in number 10. We sanitised and ate and drank and sanitised, saying goodbye to the staff and going home for more wine. Fast forward seven days and the landscape is different. Fear and panic has swept across the country. It’s bleak out there. Everyone is scared. We don’t know when, or if, normality will resume.

I’ve come to realise that the opinion of a food blogger counts for nothing right now. It doesn’t matter where Semplicita stands on the list of residencies, or how it compares to the other Italian restaurants in the city. What matters is that places like 1000 Trades are still there to serve the community when this has all blown over. If you’re near to the JQ feeling healthy and comfortable go inside for a pint and a bowl of that comforting chunky lamb ragu. If you’re anxious swing by to get cans of craft beer and ask if you can have the arancini or bruschetta to go. They may say yes. They may say no. I no longer know anything.

The reality is a bleak one. Right now those in hospitality, aviation, taxiing, retail (and many more industries) are wondering how their bills are going to be paid, whilst the NHS and emergency services are approaching breaking point. When this passes there stands a possibility that places you used to frequent are gone for good. It is our responsibility to ensure that our favourites are still there. Ask them how you can help. Buy stock from them now before they close. Purchase gift vouchers. If you can afford to, pay a meal forward. This blog will take a break to focus on the more important things in life. I hope to see you in 1000 Trades for a pint when the good times return. Please don’t lose hope.