Wednesday July 26, 2006
“Caffe Nero?” I asked as we drove into Taunton on Graham’s day off.
“I’d rather try Starbucks.”
“Well, alright, but the coffee’s been dreadful there the last couple of times we’ve visited.”
“It’s the new staff. If the old ones are on shift they do a much better job.”
“Tell you what. You stick your head in the doorway and check ’em out. Then you can decide.”
As luck would have it, fortune was on my side and the argument fizzled out when we discovered that Starbuck’s was closed for a ‘makeover’, including stripping out the tired old coffee machines. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one to think the place was past its sell-by date.
“Caffe Nero?” I asked, all innocence.
“Yeah. Caffe Nero. Just don’t gloat, is all.”
“Me? Gloat? Never.”
Shortly afterwards I was sitting among the 500 year old beams in the 15th century coaching inn that’s now a rather good coffee house, munching on an ‘all-day breakfast’ pannini, good and hot, and sipping at a large mug of strong black coffee. I was still suffering from the heat, but I was feeling better by the minute. And I was not gloating.
Coffee and old beams
Then, to the main reason for our visit to Taunton. We needed to visit Wyvern Blinds in Magdalene Passage, to select and order a set of venetian blinds for the study windows. Graham wanted wood. I wasn’t at all sure we ought to be doing this before moving in. In the event, when the price of wooden blinds came out at something over £500, Graham opted for coated metal.
I left him to settle the fine detail and wandered outside, in search of air. It was beastly hot by now so I hopped into the Coffee Lounge for a bottle of water I could sip while I waited, sitting on one of the outside tables under a large green umbrella. I came close to screaming protest when I was asked for 85p for a 330ml bottle of mineral water. That’s considerably more than the price of petrol at the pumps. Nothing to be done about it, though. I needed water. So I satisfied my outrage by searching through my coin purse for the precise change. Slowly. I do that to irritate. Helps in these situations.
From Taunton to Bridgwater, following a route we’d not travelled before, and to the house, where Graham wanted to give the living room carpet yet another deep clean and I needed to upload yesterday’s entry and pick up the mail. We sat in the dining nook first, to take a sandwich lunch.
Still too hot for washing walls but Graham sat down to mix paint, adding tints to the two large buckets of white that are sitting in a corner of the kitchen waiting for kinder weather. He tried a bit on the wall in the study and was dismayed to see how much of the powerful blue showed through.
“I suspect you may need more than three coats to cover this,” he said.
“Mayhap. The paint pad does a better job of covering than a brush, though, so I may get away with three. We’ll have to see.”
“Well, I hope so. I’m wondering if we ought not to line the walls before painting them.”
“Nah. That’ll have to wait for a proper job. Don’t forget, all we’re doing is a quick cover up.”
“True. You’re right—we’ll have to see.”
And then we took ourselves off, back to the caravan, to find a Mega-cat who’d been snoozing the heat of the day away perfectly happily in her cool spot under the bed but was glad to see us as we settled down for a quiet evening of TV, wine, and a dinner of steamed cod and vegetables.
Shortly afterwards, our pleasant, quiet day was shattered when one of the least savoury of the camp staff decided to set fire to an enormous heap of scrap wood just across from us and on the edge of the cliff, with the resulting blaze and shower of sparks coming close to sending the entire tinder dry forested area afire. Much smoke, great jollity and panic and a crowd of spectators closely resembling tomahawk-waving savages dancing around a cauldron. I was furious. Graham was incandescent.
No lasting harm was done so it’s probably best to gloss over the detail.
“There are times,” I said, full of thought, “when I don’t much enjoy living here on the holiday camp.”
“That’s alright,” Graham said. “There are times when I don’t enjoy it either.”
And, so to bed. I have an early start tomorrow, taking the little silver Ford in for its first annual service. It’s very hard to believe that a full year has passed since I traded in the old blue Ford for its new silver cousin. Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun?