(Verse 1 is HERE)
Friday September 11th
Woke up early but not terribly refreshed so I decided that a coffee would be in order. There’s no shortage of coffee shops here in England, so they must be doing something right.
I walked into the first one I saw and asked for a white coffee without sugar. This produced a rather confused look on the face of the young barista. He told me that they sold every type of coffee on the planet but he’d never heard of that one. He reeled off the names of at least five dozen of them, none of which I could find in my twenty year-old Aramaic to English dictionary.
Eventually, he summoned his manager. They had a protracted debate about whether I was looking for a “flat white” or a “latte”.
I left none the wiser. I am beginning to see why everyone here is so lethargic, you cannot get a coffee for love nor money.
All that thinking about coffee had left me needing to shed a little holy water.
My trusty copy of Bradshaw’s suggests that England is blessed with many public conveniences but this no longer seems to be the case. After a little dancing around, I chanced upon a gentleman of the road and asked for directions.
He informed me that the council had removed all the facilities and replaced them with something called a Wetherspoon – a similar concept, but with a bar attached to the bathroom.
I entered the nearest one, The Buffoon and Sixpence, and it was not a pleasing sight.
The place was full of rather pudgy types who were remarkably well refreshed for the time of day. They singularly failed to appreciate my flowing locks and my Semitic, good looks. Angry words were grunted in my direction and I found myself having to turn the other cheek more than once.
Needless to say, I had the last laugh. By dint of a minor miracle, I saved their kidneys a job and transformed their lager into something else altogether. I very much doubt that they noticed, but it brightened my day a little.
I gave the place a rather forgiving two-star review on TripAdvisor and set off to find some lunch.
One of several branches of Gregg’s seemed like a prospect. The vegan sausage rolls are surprisingly edible. The queue, however, was getting a little fractious over who should and should not be wearing a mask. It revived recent memories of Wetherspoon’s, so I uttered a few platitudes and took my leave.
The convenience store it was, then, I picked up a can of sardines and a loaf of bread and returned to the hotel.
I intend to retire to bed early with my Bradshaw’s. It is high time that I read it properly.