July 6, 2011
I’ve done it! Yep, after three years – well, actually, it must be longer than three years now I come to think of it – I have managed to gather nine stamps on my Caffe Nero loyalty card AND find a Caffe Nero to go and get my free coffee in. Wahey. This would have been easier if the nearest branch wasn’t in England, and if I ever actually went out for coffee anywhere anyway, but I feel absurdly pleased that I – who can lose anything – have managed not only to hang on to such an easily mislaid little card but also remembered to get it out and use it nine times in a row.
Well, actually, make that eight. Because I do remember an incident at Euston on one of my trips when, hot and bothered and laden with stuff, I nipped into the branch there for a frappe-wotsit (normally I’m a strict ‘just a coffee’ sort of customer but it was stinking hot) and managed to pick up the flimsy plastic cup it came in, squeeze too hard, shoot ice-cold coffee all over myself, the counter and the floor and then somehow fail to find a hole to open up in the earth to hide in afterwards. The girl behind the counter, bless her, not only made me another one but stamped my card twice in sympathy. It’s service like that, not buy-nine-and-get-the-tenth-one-free schemes that really build loyalty at the end of the day.
That said, I’ve already got my second card and my first stamp so in a year or seven, I may be in line for my next free coffee.
I can hardly wait.
June 24, 2011
A bit of filler here (quite literally), but I have to flag it up. The world of cycling can be quite tribal, with the roadies not talking to the mountain bikers and the cycle-chicstas not talking to the lycra-clad ones – and that’s before we’ve even started on the H word. But there’s one thing that I think all cyclists can agree on and that’s the importance of cake. Whether you eat cake in order to cycle, or whether you cycle in order to make room for more cake, whether you’re a member or not of the CTC*, there’s no doubt that cake and bicycles are made for each other.
Which is why Patisserie Cyclisme fills such an important niche in the cycling blogosphere. Cafe reviews by cyclists and for cyclists – what’s not to like? With so much out there that divides us, it’s time to celebrate what it is that unites us. What better excuse can there be this ‘summer’ than to get out on your bike and find a cafe to review? And remember, (for those of us who care): cake (or bacon) fetched by bike has zero calories, as every schoolgirl knows.
June 2, 2009
‘Can I have a filter coffee?’
‘That stuff’s not fresh. You can have some of the other coffee.’
‘What kind of coffee is that?’
‘It’s bean coffee.’
‘Oh, OK, I’ll have some of that then, thanks.’
At least, I thought he had said ‘bean coffee’, which sounded rather nice, until I tasted it. Then I realised what he must have said was ‘It’s been coffee’ – way back in the distant past, before it had turned into tar.
There are some places where Starbucks and its kin come in and trample over a whole unique local coffee-drinking culture with their homogenised American product. And there are places where that would be a welcome relief…
July 4, 2008
So the other half comes back from his day helping out at the local nature reserve, and I want to know all about it. One of his duties, he reveals, is ‘ensuring there’s a good turnover of coffee in the coffee pot’ so there’s always something fresh for the visitors.
‘You mean it’s your job to drink coffee all day?’ I ask.
‘Well it’s not all sitting around drinking coffee, I also got to feed the ducks.’
Voluntary work: it’s a dirty rotten job, but somebody’s got to do it.