Cafe Disloyalty

Today, I am to write about the space in which I write. Yet, that very topic brings me face to face with the current crisis that I face.

Perhaps ‘crisis’ is a tad dramatic.

Yet, as I sit here in this new space, two doors down from my old space, I’m feeling a little anxious. Admittedly a little less anxious than I was a few minutes ago as I tried to approach the new space from a different direction so that the owners of the old space wouldn’t see me. Having memorised my name and coffee order within two visits, I imagined them calling out my name in enthusiastic greeting, only to fade on the last syllable as I slinked past them to the other place.

Cafe loyalty or, calling it as it is, disloyalty.

I wanted to be loyal. I really did. I’d made headway with remembering the names of the staff and other fellow patrons. I was enjoying the free newspaper and the feeling of belonging.

I just wasn’t enjoying the coffee.

That’s a problem when you’re sitting in a cafe.

It’s not that I’m a coffee snob. I actually would have been OK with an instant coffee. It was just that this particular blend, in the form of my customary ‘long black’, was literally making me shudder each time a took a mouthful. That’s a problem when you’re trying to look friendly, appreciative, and, well, just normal, really.

So, while I don’t take kindly to disloyalty in any area of life, I had to make the decision. It felt cruel. The reality is, they may not even notice I’m no longer a regular patron…? This is not likely, given that when I visited yesterday, they said ‘So good to see you back after being away for work.’

One thing that nearly held me there, in the old space, clutching my coffee with determination and preemptive shuddering, was the free newspapers and the crossword found therein.

But now I’m here in the new space, with a much better coffee for my tastes, brighter surroundings, free wifi and – you guessed it – a free newspaper.

Coffee and Crossword

Coffee and Crossword

What else can I do, but embrace disloyalty? With time, my disloyalty will become a new loyalty, to a new writing space.

Watch this space.

Postscript: I turned to the crossword. Someone had got there before me. Could this be my punishment for disloyalty?

Two minutes later: the friendly,  loyalty-seeking waitress just brought me the other newspaper in the cafe (after another loyal patron had finished with it). The crossword therein is as yet untouched. I believe I’m hooked.


Time Out – With a Crossword (‘Crossword’ starts with ‘C’)

Coffee and Crossword both start with 'C'

Coffee and Crossword both start with ‘C’

Compose a poem in which every line starts with ‘C’?

Can I?

Consideration tells me that I can as, just yesterday, I walked

Crossword in my pocket, folded neatly with my map, and loyalty

Card for coffee purchase.

Coffee, that is, once the streets were walked:

Crisscrossed, then crossed off.

Challenge for the day:


Counsel, later that day,

Came with help to make sense of ‘across’ and ‘down’

Crumpet and Chocolate

Cracked eggs to make an omelette.

Completed a most excellent novel in between steps, tears and mouthfuls.

Can I tell you about the book? Tomorrow?

Daily Prompt

5 Down – Plenipotentiary

My favourite holiday memory? (so asks the NaBloPoMo prompt for today)

I don’t like it when I’m asked for one favourite of anything.

Once I was asked, when being interviewed in front of an audience, what my favourite food was? One favourite? Really??

Fortunately, earlier that day, I had been given advance notice of the questions they would ask, including the unanswerable favourite food question. My sweet, gentle, quiet hosts who had listened to me chatter away earlier that day, reminded me that, while I was chattering over breakfast I had mentioned that I love porridge. I do love porridge and we were eating it that morning! They also reminded me that while I was chattering over lunch, I had mentioned how much I loved sandwiches. I do love sandwiches and we were eating them that lunchtime!

‘So,’ he suggested, ‘There’s your answer!’

Needless to say, the answer was not one the interviewer or audience expected that night.

If I have to think of my favourite holiday memories, I would have to say they are ‘porridge and sandwich’ memories. Not literally. But they are wonderful and comforting, like said tasty morsels.

Like sitting on a park bench trying to take a group-bench-selfie and me laughing until I cried – which was a bit awkward – but lovely nevertheless.

Like drinking a beer and eating an Austrian sausage while sitting with friends on a hay bale in a harvested sunflower field, surrounded by sunflowers yet to be harvested.

Like a table with candles, a pot of stew and friends sitting around it eating, until the dog barked to remind us he hadn’t had dinner yet.

Like the peace and safety of the kindly offered house of dear friends – and the mid-afternoon naps I availed of there.

Like the day where I read a book that made me laugh out loud in a cafe and cry out loud in my room as I finished it. Then falling asleep again – because I could.

Like a chapter of a book read each morning with an espresso, in a cafe, in the piazza of an Italian village.

Like a letter written to my old friend of 35 years while sitting in the Pump Room in Bath and listening to a string quartet. My friend and I have been writing hand-written letters to each other for 30 of those 35 years of friendships and we try to find locations for writing that we’d both enjoy.

Like the many times I’ve completed a crossword on holiday with friends. With coffee, with onion bhajis, even with porridge topped with a little whiskey and cream.

I especially love the memory of three days of holiday with a good friend before her marriage, a crossword completed each day (that was a holiday record for us!) and the one day where we hit the jackpot:

5 Down: Plenipotentiary


‘Plenipotentiary’ is the answer. I can’t remember what the clue was and it’s covered by the pen in the photo.

All my favourite holiday memories are ‘porridge and sandwich’ kind of memories. They’re also pretty recent memories…because my memory is generally not great!

What are your favourite holiday memories like?

And does anyone know what the clue for ‘5 Down’ would have been??