Today’s the first day really, since starting at the local library, that I’ve had a chance to really sit and do some writing. Even then, I’m doing this on the move from the (in)famous Ace Cafe in London, just outside Wembley while t’other half is having a job interview just down the road. Fingers crossed she’ll get it, of course – though no doubt I’ve just jinxed that by writing about it. In the meantime I’m soaking up the ambience of this converted garage, watching the world go by.
There’s local business men in one corner on their laptops, discussing business meeting strategy. Across the way from me, a motorcycle instructor is resting with a large mug of tea, rubbing his eyes and slumped slightly. He definitely projects a strong impression of being tired and grateful for the chance to rest. Two tables down, a young indian couple are chatting, chaperoned by (at a guess), her brother. A big fat greasy spoon fried breakfast is being devoured by them, sausage and black pudding and all; there’s no doubt that they are what my parents would have called ‘westernised’, and no doubt there are some who would still be scandalized by it all. I just see happy, carefree faces with grins and the delight that comes from the rapid chatter of good company and relaxation.
The staff here are smiling and chatty, with that relaxed ease that comes with experience with all sorts of customers – and given both the plentiful adverts and chalkboard notices about bike meets and the upcoming Brighton Burn-Up, and the warning notices about bike safety and curbing antisocial behaviour, there’s little doubt that there’s been a wide variety of human behaviour to get used to.
Everything here is well worn and functional, but in good working order – and the food and drink is both impeccable and promptly served up with a no nonsense approach. There’s a great relaxed atmosphere that comes from being a place where people don’t put on airs and graces, generally knows what they’re doing and takes responsibility for themselves. The music is constant but not so loud as to intrude and, as you might expect, the parking is copious.
I’m hoping Jo gets the job – not just for how it will secure us financially, but also so it gives me an excuse to come back here on occasion to people watch, write and relax…