A couple of weeks ago I had a chunk of child free time to myself on a Saturday (a rare thing). I thought I’d pop to the supermarket, then tidy up at home. Both really stupid ideas. Instead, I grabbed my camera and did a couple of things I really love; taking photos and sitting in a cafe with a magazine. I realised how much I’d missed ‘cafe’ spaces.
Pronounced caff (in a South London style) rather than café (too grand), just to clear that up.
For a while, frequenting cafes was a regular ‘thing’ for me; time on my own, time away from the domestic, a small amount of head space in the walk between the house and the cafe, gave me thinking time I relished. Somehow, taking the laptop to the cafe to get things done has slipped. Follow my instagram and it is obvious I do like a cafe. They make good places to meet friends; no one has to provide cake, just buy it. Somewhere for ‘day-time’ dates with my OH. There are a lot of cafes in Bristol which serve really good food. More relaxed than a restaurant and cheaper.
This post was written in a cafe. Tapping at my laptop, the view from the window is a busy street and over the road, down a side street to green hills beyond the city centre. It’s a view I don’t have from home. A change of scene, everyone needs a change of scene, every now and then.
Since, I’ve got here the guy serving coffee had begun issuing instructions in a loud voice, as if he’s communicating with a deaf dachshund rather than a woman standing beside him. That is also the beauty of cafes you can’t regulate the environment, sometimes it’s a feast of overhead conversations and people watching, gentle and almost peaceful. For time on my own, I would pick a cafe over a walk in the woods. I’m drawn to busy streets, other people, close by but not distance. It’s the city girl within me; the comfort of strangers. I enjoy people watching, cafes give you a perch to peer at passers by, unnoticed.
There are the downsides, people on their phones, whose voices cut across. Someone else’s toddler repeatedly banging a toy on the table. When you have a small child, getting out to cafe, is such a welcome change of scene and warmer than the park. With a baby, it can be the crowning triumph of the day; get dressed, leave the house, sit amongst adults. I was too tired to notice the ‘drilling’ looks from other people, when my child took his toy and banged it again and again on the table. To be honest, I didn’t notice that either, I was just grateful for cake and hot tea and a change of scene.
Because home is within my control and the wifi reliable, I slipped into the habit of choosing home, over taking the laptop to the cafe. At home, I don’t have to worry that someone might nick my laptop while I’m in the loo #cafeproblems.
If I take the laptop to the cafe I’m more focused, I’m not alone in that. Most cafes are cluttered with people and their laptops, one drink purchased, hogging a table for 4 for hours (more #cafeproblems). Best of all, is time on my own in cafe doing nothing. I actually do nothing. Stare into the middle distance or people watch. It is a place, I put down my phone and get lost in my own thoughts or simply gather them. Which can’t be a bad thing.
These are mine, tell me yours:
Favourite Bristol cafes for people watching: Zazu’s on North Street (BS3) corner aspect, pots of tea. The Work House Cafe, Perry Road, City Centre; bustling, great cakes. Cafe Kino, Stokes Croft; spacious, delicious vegan food.