Monday, May 16, 2011
Shadow of architecture on tarmac in Little Mount Sion where the road widens opposite the TOC H hall.
They serve coffee at the local food shop called Pigwidgeon & Pye on the corner of Mount Pleasant Road. If you sit outside, it is a pleasant place to watch people and traffic at the cross roads, but far enough away not to be stifled by fumes. It is a terrible name to remember and get your tongue round, but it works perhaps for that very reason. If people say "that shop at the top of the town with a funny name", often enough someone will come to write it down and pronounce it properly. As the local Tunbridge Wells blogger, Ankeblog says the coffee isn't too bad either.
The blog, the work of a devoted Twellian called Christopher Cassidy has according to the local paper been reporting on the finer points of Tunbridge Wells for six years. He has recently reviewed the coffee shops in the town and, as I sit in front of my Americano and croissant, I reflect that what is missing about coffee shops here, and indeed in the country as a whole, is being able to sit down at a table, order your coffee from a waiter and pay before you leave. That is the custom in all the European countries that I have visited. Here you have to pay first and, in some cases, collect your coffee and take it to the table. Is this because the public is mistrusted? Do they think we'll drink our coffee and do a runner? Or do staff costs prohibit service? I like to ask myself such questions sometimes, remembering my days as a journalist, when I could ask it print with a hint of acidity if not outright indignation. Perhaps Anke could campaign on behalf of honest Twellians for a coffee shop with service.
A few days ago I thought I heard the cry of seagulls above the voices of children playing in The Grove. Seagulls visit the town, I am almost certain, because of the attractions of the tip in the North Farm Estate. But I could have been mistaken that time I thought. Not this morning when I am woken by an unmistakable squalling such as you hear usually by the sea particularly when a fishing boat is around. Am I dreaming ? I ask myself. Or am I waking up with sea outside the window? No such luck. But it is the sort of wild sound that I like to hear.