Tag Archives: coffee

I’ll never take some things for granted again…..



Three months ago, on 23rd March 2020, the UK was placed into Lockdown due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Three months later, on 23rd June 2020, we are slowly emerging from this surreal isolated state. It’s been a challenging time to say the least.

Now I’m not about to go on and on and on about that dreaded virus. There’s more than enough in the news about it!

What I have done though, as I’m sure many of you have too, is to reflect on what I won’t take for granted again.

1- I won’t take for granted the freedom to come and go as I please.

2- I won’t take for granted being able to shop at my leisure without having to queue up outside the stores and to being able to find what I want on the shelves when I get inside.

3- I won’t take for granted the enjoyment of going for a drive, playing my music, even if it is only the daily commute to work and back.

4- I won’t take for granted the pleasure of social conversation with people I don’t share a home with.

5- I won’t take for granted the simple pleasure of sitting down for a coffee and a heart to heart with a friend.

If nothing else, the last three months have been a reminder to appreciate what you have in life because overnight it can all disappear.

Personally, I can’t wait for that first coffee catch up.


(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

Coffee And Caramel Shortcake (flash fiction)

coffee and caramel shortcake

For such a beautiful Spring afternoon, the coffee shop was surprisingly quiet and she had no problem securing her favourite small window table. With her usual order placed, she turned her attention to her kindle and resumed reading.

 Hooking his sunglasses into the neck of his black t-shirt, he glanced round the unfamiliar coffee shop looking for a table. He spotted a small table over by the window and headed for it. Within moments a waitress was at his side with the menu. He only wanted a coffee so politely declined the menu and requested a large latte. 

When the waitress returned, she had two coffees on the tray and a piece of caramel. The sight of it was making him regret ordering just a coffee. Carefully, the young waitress set his large mug down then delivered the other smaller mug and the caramel shortcake to the adjacent table.

 As the woman looked up from her e-book to watch the waitress, she became aware of a pair of eyes watching her.

 The man and the woman made eye contact.

 She found herself spiralling into his brilliant blue eyes. Within them was a kaleidoscope of music, of lights, of songs, of guitars, of travelling, of hotel rooms, of restaurants and bars, of exhaustion, of jet lag, of loneliness.

 He found himself drowning in two still liquid pools of molten chocolate. Within them was a sea of contentment filled with calm thoughts of books, of writing, of scented candles, of soft music, of home cooked meals, of wine enjoyed out on a sea front terrace, of relaxation, of unbroken sleep, of loneliness.

 In that split second, the two strangers silently exchanged their worlds.

 She looked away first.

 A cloud fell over his world as he stared down into the milky depths of his coffee cup.

 “Excuse me,” said a honey soft voice beside him. “I don’t normally do things like this but you look like you need this more than I do.”

She offered him the slice of caramel shortcake.

“It’s medicinal,” she added with a smile that lit up his dark world.

“Thank you,” he said, his voice still husky from singing too many shows over too few nights. “How about you join me and we share it?”

Still smiling, she moved to sit down opposite him and cut the chocolate square neatly in half.

“You choose.”


(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)



So, what would you do?


So, if you came face to face with your favourite actor/rock star/sports star in a normal situation, what would you do? If they were “off duty”, would you approach them? Would you ask for that obligatory “selfie” or an autograph on the only scrap of paper you have in your purse, most likely a receipt for something mundane?

It’s a conundrum I’ve thought about occasionally over the years and never really drawn any finite answer to. I’ve frequently thought that, as I live in a reasonably small town and am used to seeing familiar faces about town, I’d most likely nod and say “hello” thinking it was someone from school or work or an old neighbour…..then several hours later go “Damn, that was So And So!” (ha ha…..it’s happened!- Mike Oldfield in Debenhams in Glasgow a long time ago!)

A few years ago, I wrote this while pondering such a situation.  Enjoy!


The Tale Of A Skinny Decaff Latte

With a quick glance at the clock on the dashboard, I figured I had just enough time to spare to treat myself to a well-earned and much needed caffeine fix before my next appointment. Signalling to my fellow drivers, I slowed down and turned off the main road down the narrow twisting slip road into Gourock’s water front car park- the Swimming Pool car park to us locals. As usual, the car stereo almost drowned out the warning bleeps from the reversing sensors; as usual, I heard them just in the nick of time. One of these days I knew I wasn’t going to and would be rewarded with a resounding expensive “crunch”! Grabbing my bag, I scrambled out of the car, checking twice on my way across the car park that I had locked it. A narrow alley led me from the car park back up onto the main thoroughfare and right to the doorway of my caffeine source- Gourock Coffe Co.

Pushing open the heavy door, I inhaled the heavenly aroma of coffee as I looked to see if my favourite table was free. It was. In my hurry to get to my caffeine fix, I had barely noticed the hire car that had parked haphazardly outside or the driver inside, who was talking animatedly on his phone. With a sigh, I slipped off my jacket and sank down into the squishy, soft, velvet-covered chair. The coffee shop was surprisingly quiet for a Monday afternoon. Only one other table was occupied. Spotting my arrival, the owner, Robert, called over from behind the counter, “Usual, Coral?”

“Please, Robert,” I replied then added, “And a fruit scone and jam too.”

Reaching into my bag, I brought out my phone debating with myself “Candy Crush or Facebook?” Facebook won and I watched the screen as it connected to the shop’s WiFi. While the newsfeed was loading, I heard the door open, felt the draft of cold, autumn air rush in as a tall, slender man entered, his puffy, bomber jacket zipped up and a black beanie hat covering his head. It struck me as odd that he was wearing sunglasses on a dull October day in Gourock. There was something vaguely familiar about him but I barely gave him a second thought as he sat at the window table across from mine.

“There you go. Medium Americano, no milk,” said Robert, setting down the hot mug in front of me. “And my last fruit scone. Enjoy.”


As I sliced the scone in half, scattering crumbs across the table, the owner went to take the man’s order. Robert was blocking my view but I could see that the new customer had removed his hat and glasses. They were just visible on the table from where I was sitting. His soft American voice caught my attention. I knew that voice! I’d know that voice anywhere. Not surprisingly, I listened as he ordered a large, skinny, decaf latte. On the table in front of me my Facebook newsfeed had opened. The first post on there was that day’s photo from the fan page of the very man who was now sitting ten feet away from me.

My hands trembled as I fumbled the foil top on the portion of strawberry jam. Flustered, heart racing, I attempted to spread the jam onto the scone and only succeeded in dropping the knife on the table, with a resounding clatter. The noise echoed round, causing the new arrival to glance over in my direction. He smiled at me. My heart skipped a beat as I flushed scarlet with embarrassment.

On the table beside him, his phone buzzed and vibrated. Instead of answering it, he ignored it, turning instead to gaze out of the picture window at the panoramic view of the Argyll Hills, Ben Lomond looming in the distance. A few seconds later, his phone buzzed again and, again, he killed the call and then again, a third time, as a young waitress brought him his latte.

Trying to act normally, I pretended to be reading the screen contents of my phone while actually watching him sneak a spoonful of sugar into the mug then sip the hot, milky coffee. His long, slender hand was shaking as he lifted the mug to his lips. Something about him looked sad, haunted almost.

How I managed to eat my scone and drink my own coffee, I will never know. (Maybe that caffeine habit is worse than I feared.) All the while, I kept my own counsel but discretely observed him sip half-heartedly at his latte. There was an aura about him that seemed to scream “I need my own space for a while.” Repeatedly his phone buzzed and every time he declined the call. I drank in everything about him. His fine features; his long hair, with a hint of grey appearing. After a few mouthfuls of his coffee, he stood up and removed his jacket. I recognised the fine black and grey striped hoodie he was wearing underneath from the interview I had watched on YouTube over breakfast a few hours before. I risked a glance beneath the table as he sat back down and noted his trademark worn leather boots. What size were his feet? Ten? Eleven?

Inside my head, a battle was raging- one half of me saying go and speak to him; the other half saying leave him to enjoy his coffee in peace and quiet.

A message flashed up on my Facebook page asking if I was excited about heading to the Hydro later for the gig. It was Susan- who else? She had been outside the venue for hours already. With surprising calm, I typed back, “Having a coffee and enjoying the view. Will be up as soon as my friend finishes work. Should be there around 6. X” She would never believe me if I said exactly what view I was enjoying. He was meant to be thirty miles away where she was! Why was he here?

I finished my coffee and scone before he was halfway down the large mug. Not entirely trusting myself to remain calm for much longer, I got to my feet and prepared to leave. He was still staring out at the view of the ferry crossing the river as I put on my jacket and gathered up my belongings. At the counter, I handed over a twenty pound note with shaking hands and said to Robert, “That’s for mine and the guy over at the window’s. Send him over another latte and a slice of carrot cake. My treat.”

Stuffing the change into my pocket, I left without a backwards glance and headed back down the alley way to the car park. Had I imagined that? Had it really been him?  Yes, it had been. Why had he been there? I would never know. Did I regret not speaking to him? Yes and no. As I reached the car, I looked back up at the cafe window. He was watching me. Raising his coffee mug, he nodded then smiled that beautiful smile of his.


Those of you who know me may have guessed the inspiration for this   😉

(image sourced via Google -credits to the owner)

(If you ever see me drinking decaff, I’ve been kidnapped and it’s a plea for help!)



A Little Personal Achievement – No-Vino-Vember



Ever set yourself a personal challenge or goal, declared your intentions to the world then failed miserably?

I’m guessing that some of you may be nodding and, perhaps, cringing at the memory.

I decided mid-October to undertake a small personal challenge for the month of November.

Yes, I could’ve announced it to the world. I could’ve done it to raise money for a good cause but, I guess, fear of failure led me to keep it more or less to myself.

So, what did I do?

I gave up alcohol for thirty days.

I’ve had a No-Vino-Vember!

As October flew rapidly towards Halloween, I was already beginning to feel the first stabs of self-doubt creeping in.

Could I actually do it?

Now I realise I’m beginning to make myself sound like a raving alcoholic but I can assure you I’m not. The fact I succeeded in my challenge backs that up. I will freely admit I love a glass of wine. A nicely chilled Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio. A nice full bodied red. Never rose!

The first week passed easily enough. I happily substituted the vino for apple juice or iced green tea.

The first weekend when the Big Green Gummi Bear was enjoying a bottle of my favourite Pinot Grigio, I’ll confess to pangs of jealousy. My resolve held fast though!

As the month wound on, I did find myself taking note of the date and doing the mental arithmetic!

There were a few stressful days during the month when the resolve waivered but I resisted.

Apple juice and iced green tea were joined by diet lemonade.

Social outings were always going to be a challenge however I nominated myself as the driver for the evenings. Problem solved. (Scotland has a virtually zero tolerance when it comes to drink driving.)

So, do I feel the better of a month of complete sobriety?

I feel a sense of achievement at having had the will power to do it.

I’ve been sleeping better  but in general  my sleep pattern is a bit hit or miss anyway.

My skin is possibly in slightly better condition.

I haven’t lost an ounce in weight despite all the media information that suggests alcohol is fattening.

My usually dodgy digestive system is still as dodgy as ever so no change there either!

Was it worth it? Yes!

Would I do it again? Yes…but perhaps not for a couple of months.

Am I now in a rush for that first glass of Pinot Grigio? Nor particularly.

So perhaps wine isn’t the vice I thought it was a month or so ago.

At the risk of sounding just a little bit smug, it was quite painless.

Just don’t ask me to try a caffeine free month! The results of that wouldn’t be pretty!


Staycation 2014 Week Two- Coffee, Coffee, Coffee and more Coffee..with a little added culture

Well, I made it! I survived Staycation 2014 – just…..
Fourteen days at home with, on the whole, stunning weather for the west coast of Scotland, no blood spilled and no tempers lost( that was a pretty close thing a couple of times this week).My sanity may be under question but, hey, that’s nothing new! 😉
Here’s the week two highlights:
Saturday – after my usual food shopping and laundry duties were complete, I spent the afternoon out in the sun writing last week’s blog post and reading my kindle/book. Girl Child disappeared off to the cinema and Boy Child went out with some friends. Peace perfect peace! After dinner my rock chick friend (the one with the birthday last week) text to say she was bored. Everyone in her house was watching the World Cup. Our house is a football free zone  One taxi ride later and she arrived armed with some red wine. We sat outside for a couple of hours chatting and sipping while listening to some loud music (sorry neighbours) until the midgies drove us indoors. Cue more loud music and wine and a fun evening was had by all – even the Big Green Gummi Bear joined us and only turned down the music once!
Sunday – was a remarkably quiet day. I was relieved to waken with a clear head after the vino from the night before. It was another beautiful day so more Vitamin D intake was required. The Big Green Gummi Bear packed his bags and left to head south for work for the week. He headed off around lunchtime. Early afternoon some friends dropped by for coffee with their two adorable children. All in,it was a chilled lazy kind of Sunday.
Monday – Rain – in perfect time for Girl Child starting her week of delivering newspapers (she was covering for a friend who was away on holiday). Having dropped her off in an unfamiliar part of town armed with a pile of newspapers, a list of addresses and Google maps, I headed off to meet some friends and a new baby over some coffee. Girl Child survived day one of her paper run and met me at my friends’ house looking for a lift home. We returned home via the vets to collect a prescription for one of my cats. Cue major low point of the week – I accidentally reversed into a wall in the vets’ car park and “dinged” car. (Suffice to say the Big Green Gummi Bear is still fuming) C’est la vie!
Tuesday – after a morning out in the sun writing, reading, listening to music and drinking coffee the peace was shattered by Girl Child’s screams. She’d lost the piece of paper with the addresses for her paper round! (point in the week where my temper teetered on the brink) After half an hour of teenage hormonal panic, her friend sent her a photo message with a copy of the missing addresses. Hallelujah! As I was taking her into town to the beauticians anyway, I gave her a lift to the start of her route then drove to the end and picked her up. Mummy Brownie points earned! Drama over for the day and, after the beauty appointment, I retreated to my parents’ house for a medicinal cup of coffee. Daughter Brownie points earned.
Wednesday – another beautiful sunny day. Mid-morning I went to visit a friend’s brand new house and shared a coffee with her in what will be her dining room, once the furniture arrives. For now her deck chairs worked just fine and we blethered the morning away quite nicely. In the afternoon I went to the garden centre with another friend and we put the world to rights over another very welcome cup of coffee. The rest of the day was spent out in the sun with my kindle/book and my iPod while I topped up the Vitamin D levels. I was spared paper run dramas as Girl Child’s “Special Friend” came to supervise that activity. The poor boy finally left here around dinner time with his nails painted pink and purple – I didn’t dare to enquire any further for fear of the answer……
Thursday – sun still shining! I’d arranged to meet up with my rock chick friend to visit a George Wyllie exhibition at the local arts centre. She had known the late sculptor and was familiar with his works. While I was aware of him and some of his more famous pieces I’d never really taken note of his other work and loved the quirkiness of the items on display. (For info see – http://georgewyllie.com/biography/) Of course there was more caffeine involved in this trip too 😉
The early afternoon was spent driving ”Mum’s taxi” again as I dropped off my little darlings and subsequently collected them again. I really should get that meter fitted… In between times I topped up the Vitamin D levels.
After dinner the Big Green Gummi Bear arrived home hot tired and grumpy after a long drive north with no air conditioning.
Friday – the last official day of Staycation 2014 and the Big Green Gummi Bear had the day off. While he went for a run in the morning I sat outside with a leisurely breakfast, fending off two of my cats who were both determined to steal my hot toasted cinnamon bagel and butter. Miracle of miracles – we ventured out as a family later in the morning and had an impromptu but very enjoyable family lunch at a local bistro. With the weather forecast predicting that the good weather was due to break, I spent a long leisurely afternoon outside writing. It is ridiculously difficult to write a snowy winter scene in hot glorious summer sun!
As the clouds rolled in after dinner our Staycation came to an uneventful end.

The sun may be gone for now but I feel relaxed – well as close to relaxed as I get – and am almost ready to return to the salt mine….. Happy days!