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A cup of coffee

Thank goodness the kids are back at school! Carrie sighed as she

settled into her favourite chair in Costamuchamoulah.  She hadn’t

had a speciality coffee for two weeks and she also hadn’t had a

decent chat with any of her friends. Hence the rendezvous this

morning, after the school run.  She was clearly in need of a

girlfriend’s support, as she had just heard that her grandmother had

slipped in her nursing home in Scotland and had broken her hip.

Mum said there is no crisis at the moment, but I might have to go up

there fairly soon.  Gyles can transport the kids and Magda has

returned from Normandy, so Ginevra will lend her to us for a couple

of hours, if Gyles can’t cope on his own.

Is there anything I can do?  I asked.

Well, you could walk a pug or three, if you really don’t mind.  Pooh-

bah and Algy still need a bit of exercise, but Humbug is a bit wheezy.

Hmm, okay.  I’ll call Gyles when the time comes.

(Actually, I wasn’t keen on being plaited round a lamp-post masquerading as a

maypole, by three entangled leads. I’d probably end up breaking my hip by

tripping over them.)

No problem, I lied.

Thank you so much.  Magda was saying that Ola’s bump is really obvious

now, but she has got over her morning sickness. She thinks she was

just trying to muscle in on some of Kate’s attention.

That wasn’t very nice, considering that she was a guest.

Well, you know Magda.  She managed to get a pillion lift to the ferry

on the back  of their neighbour’s rather dishy son’s motorbike.

Fast mover that one, I agreed.  Talking of Speedy Gonzales types,

how is Sonia?

Fine.  She just isn’t used to the hard stuff.  Gyles gave his mother a

telling off for plying her neighbour with alcohol at lunchtime,

especially as the last time Sonia drank anything it was in the 1950s

and was probably a Babycham.

We both turned to admire the recent installation of Sonia’s Vauxhall

which was embedded into the café’s frontage.

Yes, Carrie continued, Ginevra’s maiden name was what Tiger’s

English teacher would call a proleptic allusion.

What do you mean?

Only that she was called Piccololiverno before she was married and

we all think it very apt, given her current 100%  gin proofing.

I’d forgotten that she had an Italian background.

 Well, it is marvellous that at ninety three, she is still in her own


She’s incorrigible, though, replied Carrie.  She wouldn’t have it that

she was in any way responsible for her friend’s accident.  She said

that it had nothing to do with the wrinkly drinkies session and

everything to do with the fact that Sonia can’t drive.  Unlike her own

good self, who could still double de-clutch and de-coke, if the need

arose, having been a mechanic in the ATS in Glasgow at the end of

World War 2.

The sound of an espresso machine partly blotted out my observation

on how attractive Ginevra must have looked in khaki and seamed


Yes, said Carrie, but she thinks she has a special relationship with the

Queen, as she had the same subaltern job.  It encourages her

excessive regality.

The machine spluttered again and we couldn’t hear each other.  I

studied the Speciality Coffee card.

What exactly is a Speciality Coffee? I wondered aloud.

In tiny print the answer presented itself at the bottom of the

laminated page.  I read the definition from some European

Association to Carrie:

“..a crafted quality coffee-based beverage which is judged by the

consumer (in a limited marketplace at a given time) to have a unique

quality, a distinctive taste and personality different from, and

superior to, the common coffee beverages offered…”

Personality! I joked.  What would Tiger’s English teacher call this

then? –pretentious metaphor; anthropomorphism?!

I don’t know, said Carrie, laughing, but presumably that’s why we all

come here.  We don’t have to mix with people like Sian Williams and

the Rev Richard Coles on Radio 4’s Saturday Live who use the term


Saturday Live, Radio

Don’t be such a snob, Carrie! I admonished her gently.

Sorry, it must be something in the coffee, she apologised.

But I could see that she was genuinely worried and might need

sisterhood support very soon.