[Non rail post coming up.]
Seven years ago I moved from a small house in the country to a small house in town (unless you have the thick end of £1m to spend in the South East small is what you get). There were various reasons for the move after 13 years of being surrounded by fields, a minor one was the ability to stroll into town unaided by motor vehicle and sit. Not to do anything just laze for a while over a coffee and possibly read. In my head I would be like a character in a Graham Greene novel - oozing bohemian wit and conversing with like minded souls. I tick several of the boxes required: I've always written a little, painted even less, I'm generally quite lazy and I've been a working musician for my entire adult life. All I'm lacking is a fedora and a neckerchief. As you would expect none of this has happened; other bits of life don't allow it and I've possibly not polished my credentials enough. Those that know me would say that there is a lot of polishing to do. Putting aside the current situation, even where I live, which is considered to be full of history-filled liberal arty types, suffers from the standard southern England reserve and no one talks. On the other hand perhaps adding northern friendliness and flat vowels would destroy the image even further. The closest I've got was in the early 1980's when I lived on Jersey. A trip to St. Ouens bay could generate an endless day sitting in the surf café watching the long haired blondes turn up in VWs and wait for the big rollers to hit the beach. It feels like another life.
Yesterday having needed to post a packet for Mrs. F., I partially fulfilled the ambition: the sun shone I perched myself in the window of the trendy café at the foot of the hill and waited. Aside from the delivery of the coffee by a slightly camp waiter person I wasn't approached by any fellow bohemian types and I read my book in relative silence. The café tries to portray a slightly Latin American vibe, which you would think would greatly add to my wish, but spoils it by playing bits of Maroon 5 amongst the Afro-Cuban backing track. Maybe I just have to keep doing it, but the summer is fading and I think you need to have flies buzzing around to complete the picture. As there hadn't been any rain, the road was fairly dusty, but Nissan Micra's screeching past Boots and the charity shop don't really replace a slow-moving '57 Cadillac.
The second visit to the post office revealed a smaller queue.