It was the spur of the moment thing to get in the car and drive to a small town we had not visited in a while. Nothing special just a get out of the studio type of day; we didn’t even mind that it was raining a little and we found a carparking space with ease adding to the relaxed atmosphere of the day.
We stepped out of the car and the heavens opened. I mean really opened making us both dash for the two umbrellas stowed in the boot. ‘Typical, bloody typical’ I said to Jayne, ‘It’ll clear up in a bit, come on we haven’t been here for a while.’ She replied.
Off we both trudged sloshing through the puddles. In a funny kind of way it was quite nice, the lights danced in the puddles, grey clouds honed in to darken the skies and it had that typically british feel about it. All the shops were warm making the dash between them quite fun, most had after Christmas bargains in them making shopping more of a discovery. A bauble here, a long metal slightly odd reindeer there and soon our shopping bags were filling up.
‘Let’s have a coffee and a scone’ said Jayne and I agreed enthusiastically. We had passed quite a few coffee shops on the way, many looking rather inviting but there was one in particular that looked welcoming from the outside. Homely, warm and full of smiling people with pretty lights and promises of lashings of coffee and cake inside through delightful steamed up windows. We snaked our way back to the coffee shop, yes, it did look rather splendid compared to other establishments so eagerly we went in shaking our brollies as we entered. A quick look around and it was all rather full, full that is apart from a small table at the back corner. Ideal, it was away from the draught of the door and indeed away from the main run of the place so we could have our coffee and cake in peace.
We pulled out our chairs and somebody appeared to take our order. ‘Ready yet?’ She said chirpily. ‘Err, not quite, can I just take my coat off and sit down please?’. ‘Not ready? Do you want a drink?’ She replied ignoring the fact that I was wrestling with the brolly and stumbling around as I found that when I lent on the table it rocked severely because the toilet roll tube wedged under one foot had come loose. That dear reader should have been a warning sign to turn tail and walk out of the establishment.
‘Would you mind popping back in a minute or so please after we have had a look at the menu?’
‘Oh, ok, no problem!’ And with that she disappeared for a few minutes.
‘Ahh, you’re back!, could we have two Americanos with skimmed milk and two scones please?’
‘A-M-E-RICA-NO-S, two and we have no scones, they have all gone.’
‘Oh, ok, well we will have two tea cakes then with lashings of fresh butter please!’
‘We have just sold the last tea cakes I’m afraid, we do have butter though.’
‘They have sold out quickly, it’s only 10:45am, do you normally sell out this quickly?’
‘There’s been a rush on.’ She replied flatly, I was obviously stepping onto scone, tea cake territory that one mustn’t speak of.
‘Toast?’ I said tentatively.
‘We have toast.’
‘I’ll have two toasts one brown, one white please!’
‘We only have white.’
By now the menu was looking rather restrictive but hey ho, white it is and away she went to get our meagre grub and coffee. Just then a table across from us with two children started pointing at us and looking concerned. I turned to Jayne puzzled and shrugged. Jayne looked over our shoulder expecting to see something worrying, instead she saw something far worse. We had just placed an order from a table in a ‘paint your own pot’ shop. Behind us was a massive rack of blank pottery of which children would have to squeeze by use to reach and squeeze by they did, one after another. Family after family poured in through the door to be seated around us for some silly pot-fest and groups of people clambered over us to pull out pots, Dolphins, mugs, bears and other assorted items, it was awful and neither could we move easily. All the tables had been strategically arranged to create a chair maze that allowed access to the paints and pots but not to the exit or the tills. Not a hint of this existed outside, it wasn’t as if the place was called ‘Pot Crazy’ or ‘Pot-a-Lot’ it’s name was quite normal giving no hint of the horrors inside, in fact it gave all the impression of an interior design shop.
So out of all the coffee shops we had passed, all the swish places we could have stopped we had chosen badly.
The gabble of pot carrying children and families increased whilst we waited for our toast. Then in burst a mother with her child and another lady that looked far too old to paint a pot that proceeded to speak at a volume just under ear bleeding levels. We knew she was loud because we quite clearly heard her order a scone and tea cake and get both before grabbing a small vase and proclaim to the whole room that she was going to paint a ladybird and required red paint. Well, that takes the biscuit! In disgust I nearly overturned the table and snatched assorted pots out of kiddies hands to dash on the floor in a fit of pique. Watching her trough into a scone AND a tea cake that we had been flatly told had sold out was too much and I purposely angled my chair to thwart her reaching the black paint for ladybird spots.
Unfortunately that involved her asking me to move leading to a small shower of scone crumbs and spittle as she clambered behind me pushing the top of my chair into my larynx with her large breasts. The coffee and toast arrived but I was unable to speak after the crushing action on my throat. Needless to say we soon finished and left. I walked outside and looked back in, she had left half a scone the wretch. It was about then an old lady with an oversized golfing umbrella who had been looking in the window to my side turned around and hit me full on in the temple with her brolly spokes and to finish the tableaux a passing car splashed me with water as it passed.
Hmm, that was the start of my 2015, think I’ll stay in bed until Spring!