Monday, 21 April 2014

Cafe society

I'm sat in a cafe about fifty yards from a grand twelfth century Norman church. It's bank holiday Monday and for some reason that I haven't yet figured out there's a queue forming. I've been here around twenty minutes and watched about a hundred people join the end of the line as it snakes from the church doors, along the cobbled path and around the car park. An older lady behind me tells her friend -  and by virtue of her volume, the rest of us - that the queue is for Cleo Lane’s daughter. 
“You probably don't remember her but she was big in the seventies.”
Jesus.

A couple walk in and sit to my right.
She's my age, maybe older. Dressed to un-impress in a bland cotton dress and thin cardigan. Cork-heeled summer shoes. Nice feet.
He's annoying. Foppish type. Corduroy jacket. Everything beige or a shade of. Trilby. Essentially a twat.
I'd arrived at that conclusion long before he opened his mouth. And then he opened his mouth. A stupid public schoolboy laugh. All fake. Not in the slightest bit interested in what she's saying. Probably just thinking that if he keeps it up and plays his cards right he’ll find his way in to her bra at some point. She certainly looks up for it. I suspect they've both had a drink or two somewhere else in town.

The coffee here is good. It always is. Labelled as Americano on the chalk board behind the counter but infinitely better than the sewage you're served in the branded coffee joints around here.

It's twenty degrees outside. Most are in short sleeves and jeans. A woman with crazy hair topped with a bright pink beret has joined the queue. Well, pushed in. She wears a heavy fur coat. Clearly bonkers.

Men in blazers step in to the cafe reeking of money. Their wives wander in behind them and sit where they're told to.
“Is it service or do we order?” booms one of the blazers.
They all sit down and discuss the tea, coffee and snacks that they'd like. They seem frightfully pleasant and the men engage in political debate whilst the women watch on.
There's a Range Rover somewhere nearby with a plush beige interior and a 14 plate.

I'm pretty much done. Couldn't take another mouthful of coffee and I just don't feel the urge for cake so it's time to pay up and depart.

The queue has gone. Fifty yards away an ageing audience eagerly await Chloe Lane’s daughter. I'm tempted to step up to the church and try and catch some of it. I assume it's free. 
I opt to head for the car but out of the corner of my eye I spot an attractive woman sat drinking wine at one of the cafĂ©'s outside tables. She's reading - her eyes hidden behind large Jackie-O’s. Summer dress that fits well. She's slim but I'm pretty sure she'd have wanted a larger sized dress up top. Maybe not. Open shoes. Nice feet. Painted nails. 
I'm spotted and greeted with a surprisingly warm smile. I smile back though I'm horribly embarrassed. Regaining some composure I'm now acutely aware that my next footstep is crucial. There's a one in two chance I may stumble on the cobbles and complete the horror. My feet work for once and I'm clean away.
Curse my decision making. I was going to sit outside.
As I climb in to the car I glance back. She's lovely. Curse my decision making and lack of confidence.

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