Monthly Archives: August 2012

GDF: Daylesford Farm Shop, Pimlico

London is gripped by a heatwave. The Crofton Park to Blackfriars line is experiencing signalling failures. The media panic and the economy gets another weather-related justification for its timid recovery. Iced coffee is making the headlines. Beyond that, it’s a day for aimless wandering.

Chris and I arrived in Central too late for the dérive we had planned. (Somewhat ironic – Situationist tactics thwarted by an over-reliance on public transport.) We end up in Victoria, then a little north of Victoria, in this café/farmshop. It’s in the somewhat Parisian square here in Pimlico, where T-shirted Londoners happily bump into their neighbours in the street. It’s like WestEnders, the antithesis to the East: the sun shines, everyone’s smiling, peering into local independent furniture shops with their loved ones, or sipping ginger beer in a farmshop.

They sell organic food and drink. We have ginger beers – extra potent. The sandwiches look great. £1.75 a ginger beer, £3.50 a sandwich – not unusually expensive, too much for me though. The shop is bright and spacious, with organic aromas grappling with baked bread for nose-attention. This is a place for attractive people, and Chris and I wonder how soon til we’re chucked out. We keep our heads down and discuss trivial things. No music accompanies us, out front of the café, but a rich soundtrack of cutlery and nearby traffic. Daylesford negotiates the country into the city with some skill, all credit to them for that.

By Adam

 

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GFD Beyond London: Park Life Café, Hebden Bridge – From Our Café Correspondent


Fifties waterproof mascara
flickers through espresso steam.
Behind a throbbing counter
Orders line up, clipped on paper.
Drilled into shape by a sergeant major
young by modern standards
and the woman with the smile
that just knows.

A tropical glass, berry blood dark,
Its froth meniscus dribbles down
chilled hexagonal sides
leaving a guilty crescent
on the stainless steel table.

Three tongues of bacon lollop
between oval granary lips.
And for every lettuce crunch
a mayonnaise splash hits the jeans.

I leave the cathedral of hunger
as yet another monkeys wedding party
washes through the park.

by © Winston Plowes 2012

Notes 

Monkey’s wedding, n. informal(South African) a combination of sunshine and light rain. Also know in some parts as a sun shower.

__________

Winston H.Plowes writes his words with two cats on a narrowboat on England’s inland waterways. His compositions have been widely published, hopefully making people pause and ponder the magical details of life.

www.winstonplowes.co.uk

GFD: Yumchaa, Soho


An aimless stroll towards Trafalgar Square took us through Soho, and straight past Yumchaa. “Quaint,” said Chris. “Quite,” I replied. “Shall we?” “After you.” And in we went for tea. Never have we sounded such like an aging couple on holiday.

It’s busy in here, and we queue. The queue is a device which is applied to  people who want things, when the fire of desire is making them unpredictable and dangerous. It is a micro social contract, here to stop our instinctual greed and fear from dominating our engagements with other people. Especially when they want tea. (This is why tea and queues are such British things, one requires the other.) Thom Hobbes said, ‘the object of man’s desire is not to enjoy once only and for one instant of time, but to assure for ever the way of his future desire. And therefore the voluntary actions and inclinations of all men tend not only to the procuring, but also to the assuring, of a contented life…’ So when one desires tea, do not bludgeon those before you, but wait in line, and everyone’s happy.

The queue is also necessary in order to take in the vast menu, and make well-informed decisions. The range of teas on offer here would even make General Yen pause for thought. Chris goes for a Chilli Chilli Bang Bang. Yes, inventive names come with the teas. Tea is really what’s going on here. Loose tea enthusiasts, Yumchaa sell their own teas and have a few Teapigs knocking around for plurality. No PG Tips, though. They also have a good-looking selection of sandwiches and cakes which, of course, I can’t afford. The prices are pretty standard for a central London café which makes an effort and has young culturally-inclined professionals as its market. So, fairly reasonable all things considered.

So, what did I get? One of there adventurous tea blends perhaps? Or stick with the coffee? No, something in me compelled me to get a Bottlegreen – ginger with a hint of lemon. However, tea samples were thrust before me in quick succession and I got pretty high knocking back shots of various blends of which I have since forgotten. For a true cup, I will have to return.

It’s airy here, in this pale wooden room. We’re in the basement. Upstairs was full. If I could move into this basement, I would. It’s homey. There are enough different tables and chairs to match the extensive range of teas. For every visit you could sit on a different chair with a different tea – Armchair and Mango Sunrise one week; wooden stool and Lemon Sherbert the next…

The staff care about the tea, and they care about whether you care about the tea. And I care about whether they care about me and the tea, so top marks for the staff. They brew a coffee with the same enthusiasm so coffee drinkers don’t be wary.

And what’s this? French music. C’est un bel après-midi, chantons!

By Adam