By “The Photographer’s Assistant”
The Photographers Assistant and the Dog are walking into the little town. It is one of the best walks for us. For the dog it combines the investigation of a local footpath across green fields with a reasonable trot, though it must be said that once he has crossed the bridge to town, the traffic is a great nuisance as he has to move out of the way. For the Photographers Assistant, it is a break from pulling up weeds and domestic concerns and the opportunity to visit the cafe. The Photographer usually appears later, having attended to the day’s business.
Here we are, the Dog and the thirsty one, in the middle of the tiny town. Shrugging off the temptation of wonderfully fresh vegetables, and the possibility of a small piece of cheese purchased, usually with considerable care, from the glorious deli, we make our way, the smell of coffee drawing us on. Naturally, the Dog has to stop off at the vet’s, he says for a weigh in, but we all know it is really to see the lovely assistant. Sighing a sigh of deep contentment, the Dog is dragged into the back of the car, which the Photographer has managed to not only steer up the hill, but to score in the local game of “find a free parking space”; the car being very much on its last legs and not worthy of paying a fee.
We make our way to the cafe. The cafe has many moods, vibrant, sad, but always sociable. The cafe has a slightly faded eccentric air and is always interesting. It is run on organic and sustainable lines. Most of it is not shiny and new, it’s furniture is recycled and made comfortable by felt cushions made by one of the cafe’s customers. The tables are clean and as spacious as possible, none of them wanted by their previous owners, one small one is adorned in an interesting way with unique tiles. All the tables have locally grown real flowers. They are blousey and well arranged. It is in short, very homey and a port in anybody’s storm. The staff are wonderful maker’s of toast, cakes and vegetarian meals.
On one of the walls there is always an exhibition of a local person’s art, even the Photographer has exhibited here in the past, but now he has modernised and is to be found on the internet. There are many artist’s of substantial talent living here and the little town is very proud of them all.
In another corner there is the loo, which begs you to use water sparingly and by the side of the loo is the section where you can refill your washing up bottles and all sorts of other domestic bottles. Outside this area, there are the vegetables, often supplied by local townsfolk, but otherwise, by our famous local South Devon organic supplier. There is a fridge full of organic goods and eggs produced by a large supplier metres up the road. The shelves contain many jars and packets full of tempting goods. If you are on your own, you can while away all of your coffee over these goods, which are very much not identical to those of a supermarket, secured as they are by more recycled shelving and with a pretty curtain beneath to hide more stock.
There you are, a picture of a smallish cafe, which manages to pack a punch.
This morning, the coffee is as fresh as usual, and the staff as welcoming as usual, though they are swept up in worry about a customer who has not been seen for a while. One of the staff is going to pop around after work and see how they are. Many of the customers are a little delicate, having landed in the little town as if settling in a sanctuary from modern life.
This morning, we are all preoccupied with thoughts and serious matters, so the mood is reflective. The Photographer orders two large black coffees and some toast and a slice of cake. We wait quietly as the staff bustle around and discuss their cooking schedule.
The Photographer contemplates the purchase of a camera lens and I wonder what to get for lunch. We are sad that the Dog is not here, but this is just one of those places where he can’t behave himself. If a friend comes past, he leans perilously close to the edge of the road and starts ingratiating himself with people who don’t really want to know a smelly wet dog. If he is really bad, he whines continually to draw attention to himself and everyone feels they should go out to stroke him.
The coffee is very refreshing and the toast beautifully filling, the cake is a meal in itself being full of nuts seeds and all sorts of good things.
We leave content with all things being so thoroughly refreshed in all sorts of ways.