Cafe Of The Year

Blether (chiefly Scots):

1. A person who chatters incessantly; one who babbles on and on OR 2. To engage in conversation, long-winded or idle talk.

You might do all of the above or neither but every time I find myself in a cafe or some other warm establishment that serves cake and hot tea (I’m not fussy but a slab of Rocky Road get’s the heart ticking over), this word always pops into my mind.

Looking around the quietly bustling room, I watch them all without staring.

The old, married couple in the corner squabbling about where they should get the fish for their tea as wee John, the ‘monger, has put his prices up again. That’ll never do, I hear her say, as she fixes her pristine hat and straightens her husband’s tie for him.

I hear chuckling over my left shoulder which turns out to be a young child wearing a crocodile outfit. The long snout has obviously been getting in her way as it’s now covered in small splatters from the meals and snacks she has devoured over the course of the day. Her hair is tied in bunches and the jam that was on the scone in front of her is now smeared in her hair and a blob dangles dangerously from her left ear.

I grin. That’s what kids should look like at the end of the day. Weetabix noses and a banana covered fringe.

And then there is the teenage angst patrol. Normally a group of three, sometimes four, teenage girls. They may or may not be skipping school, for those that knew me back then I cannot comment! One of them is usually crying over ‘that loser, Jason’ (add a different name each time) and they all seem to be having a conversation without actually talking to each other. Their finger tips swish across the keys on their mobile phones with such speed that I wipe my eyes wondering if I have in fact made them up, they are a mirage or a figment of my imagination. Every now and again, one of them will say ‘I KNOW, RIGHT!’ as the others ‘YEAH’ back in agreement and they go back to their silent chat.

The mother and baby to my right are snoozing in the corner. The baby has stopped thrashing it’s annoyance at the world. It has finally realised that lying on the soft, squidgy chest of its Mum is really the warmest and most soothing place to be. I watch the baby rise and fall in time with its Mum’s breathing pattern. In, out, in, out. Its little fists curl and twitch in dreamland. The tired parent has already leaned her head back against the wall and closed her eyes. Sleep deprivation is the worst form of torture, but she knows that the bundle of fluff she has lying on her at the moment is all worth it, you can tell by her tired smile. Surrounded in a talc-smelling haze, they both drift off, succumbing to a well-earned rest as the noisy chatter surrounds them like a loving family hug. Leave them be the owner says to his staff.

The characters that intrigue me the most are alone. They might be reading, they might even be texting, searching the tinternet on their fandangled electronic do-da’s that has taken them forever to learn to use. Hoping for a solution to various problems but pressed at a slower speed, a more human-like way of doing things. They talk to themselves (don’t judge – who doesn’t?) quietly, mumbling confirmation of their to-do list for the day or perhaps whispering a story to an imaginary friend. They always manage to get a window seat. It’s the best table though, isn’t it? Watching the world go by, sorting your life out one trouble at a time as shoppers bustle by the steamed up glass.

They are just like me. Writing, mumbling, eating cake, drinking tea and blethering with the world. On the inside.

The crisp white page in front of me is destined to be filled before my latest cup of tea gets cold. I don’t need to ask for another as my well-kent nod is all that is needed for a refill.

Cafe of the Year.