The café is at the crossroads. It is set back from the road, with a large parking area at one side and a smaller grassed area at the front. There are tables and chairs on the grass, in case anyone is brave enough to sit outside. From my seat by the window, I can look down the High Street and today being Friday, it is quite a busy thoroughfare. I am surprised that the elderly couple, who normally sit at the table across from mine, are not here. I wonder what the problem is and hope nothing has happened to either of them.
Halfway through my first cappuccino I look up and see them at the crossing, waiting patiently for the traffic lights to change. I relax and smile, happy that they seem alright with no outward sign that anything is amiss.
Seated at the small table at the back, next to the magazine rack, Barry the Builder is eating his full English. I only see him on Fridays, but I am reliably informed that he is here every day without fail. He is working on the new housing estate where, according to him, the houses being built are expensive, but have a ‘great spec’.
Next to me, two ladies are discussing the diet that one of them has just started. It seems quite harsh – no carbohydrates, no fat, no sugar, lots of protein and three vitamin supplements every day. The one on the diet has lost 1 stone so far and tells her much slimmer friend she is determined to continue until she gets to her desired weight. From where I am sitting, it seems she has a long way to go. I look at the Danish pastry on my plate and wonder how many calories it contains, but eat it anyway.
The elderly couple are telling the waitress that their house was broken into last night and have spent quite a long time with the police team. Recounting the story, the lady is visibly upset and Kath, the owner of the cafe, comes forward with a pot of tea and a comforting arm. The man says that the police phoned him, just before they left the house, to let them know that two boys have been apprehended.
I feel for them. We were burgled once, a long time ago and it took quite a while to stop thinking about strangers rifling through our possessions and being worried about leaving the house empty for any length of time. Kath thinks it’s disgusting and says that quite a lot of houses in the area have been broken into during the past few weeks. Barry gets up to pay his bill and tells the couple that if he had his way, the boys would be flogged. They think it a bit extreme, but Barry is convinced that it would stop the boys doing it again.
The friend of the lady on the diet, orders another coffee, ‘could you do me a large latte?’ she asks in a sort of self-satisfied voice, Kath tells her she will bring it over. With friends like that, I doubt the diet is going to last for long…