And here I am, sat outside the Costa Coffee in South Woodford, my Costa Light (“it’s an old coffee”) keeping its warmth in a takeaway cup as I squint whilst putting my PaperMate Ink Joy in purple to my Ted Baker notebook paper. The weather has changed from even four days back whereby the sun was beaming as wide as the smiles of those possibly sunbathing on a Saturday afternoon in Bournemouth. Being at the only outside table means I have the obligatory ashtray and three extra chairs surrounding me. This is certainly no café or patisserie. I understand nature can be cruel at times, but the people passing by are blessed with neither looks nor style. And when drawing comparisons with the beautiful scenery of Paris and her citizens, it brings an emotional tear to the eye and a longing to the heart. The joke “what do you call an attractive woman in Cardiff?” is possibly as apt here, seeing that the majority of London is a cosmopolitan smelting pot of people and culture. And in reality, those with the smiles are often the strangers to the fair city. I don’t know enough about Paris to validate this but everyone in Paris is in a different class. It’s like they make an effort to look good, be polite and walk with elegance. London has often fallen flat. There are positives and negatives about both sides of this fence; alas this is not a piece on that topic.
There came a clear table inside, so I took it. With the door open, the fresh wind is finding its way to my bare legs and short-sleeved arms. The air-conditioning is adding to the chill of my skin and I’m thinking I would’ve been warmer if I had still been sitting outside. The last time I was in Paris, merely three weeks ago, the walk from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon, through many arrondissements and along the north bank of the Seine, was in total sunshine without a breeze. And yet the air was not as persecuting as it could have been. My shoes were brogue-esque and my trousers, whilst inexplicably stylish, were too heavy for the climate and exercise that the five-mile walk induced. I’m not one for designer brands, going for Primark and Sports Direct rather than Boss and JD Sports (it’s the poshest sports shop I could think of). Yet for this Parisian exploration, I donned a pair of non-prescription Ray-Bans. I couldn’t see for toffee, but I looked the business. Especially with my weight loss. Incidentally, the sunglasses were found many months prior on a picnic table.
Now sipping my honeycomb latte, I decided to move away from creativity to focus on typing up my work. I’m using a foldable Bluetooth keyboard that is paired to my new 8-inch tablet. I got the tablet purely for my writing, despite also putting my streaming apps on. I was looking at a typewriter or a word processor, but the prices are astronomical. That’s why I took a short contract out with O2 for twenty quid a month. After ten months, the tablet is mine and the study is over. That means I finally get to be creative for purely creative purposes. I researched and downloaded quite a few “simple writing” apps but in all fairness, Microsoft Word really does the trick just as well as any other that I’d tried
Upon typing up, some memories were stirred and the dawning of realisation occurred to me. Last year, when I had my boot on and went to the toilet in Westfield, the lady behind the counter kept telling me ‘no money.’ It is only now that I think she wasn’t trying to tell me she had no change, but that I didn’t need to pay as she was classing me as being disabled. How on Earth did I miss this? And why did it only come to mind a year later? More importantly, why don’t they turn this air-conditioning off? My arms and legs are freezing.