Dump the kitchen and have coffee with the neighbours .. sometimes
And so it came to pass that decent coffee arrived at last in my part of Islington. And lo! The multitude did flock to the little cafe and ate of the sourdough bread and drank of the Americano and knew that it was good. And it was good. And neighbour said unto neighbour; “It’s just as well that we didn’t have a huge row about that noisy party you had recently, because otherwise that would have been a very embarrassing cup of coffee.”
Well, its not quite been like that, but very nearly. Every single time I have visited the new cafe serving decent coffee, indeed, the only cafe around here serving decent coffee, I have bumped into a neighbour. One time, I bumped into Amol Rajan, the editor of the Independent, who is a neighbour as well as one of my bosses. So, two for the price of one. But here’s the thing. We clearly don’t want to be at home.
Voluntarily, we wish to leave our giant knock-through, marble-countered, floor-heated cooking arenas which took six months to construct and for which we paid more than a cardiac nurse earns in a year. And we want to go and sit in a miniscule room on some rickety chairs and eat sour dough, cheek by jowl with our neighbours.
Well, not everyone does. A (married) friend of mine used to use the not-late-lamented Fig as a convenient place in which to meet her lover. It was perfect. Nobody she knew used to go there. These days, its hopeless. The other day, she arrived at the assignation, and spotted not only the sight of her beloved sitting in the corner, but also one of her neighbours, at an adjoining table “Hi there!” shouted the neighbour, much to the horror of both my friend and her illicit amour. Eeek.