After a COVID induced fourteen month hiatus, I’m once again sat writing in a White Rose (WR) Centre coffee house. Most of the staffs visages have changed, but the friendly service and rejuvenating qualities of their strong coffee beans continue.
In the wake of the ending of this enforced absence, my breakfast of a basic sausage butty with ketchup, a bottle of sparkling water and a large Americano take on almost life affirming qualities. Liberty to once again undertake this simple event, elevating the episode above the granted it was once taken prior to the pathogen’s tarry.
Clearly, there are new protocols which have to be adhered to allowing a return to the cafe. If dining in, these edicts including NHS ‘Track and Trace’ registration, along with mask wearing until one’s posterior is dining table in situ. However, these are minor concessions when it means one can reclaim a small part of their pre-COVID existence.
For the first time in over a year, my chronicling landscape involves people watching West Yorkshire shoppers instead of a kitchen or dining room wall within the chambers of chez Strachan. My soundscape a background mutter from hundreds of consumers, not the raucous snoring of my mum and inanity of daytime TV.
Where recently I’ve floundering for inspiration within the confines of home, today I’m re-energised. The chirpy banter of passersby, exposure to perfume redolence for the first time in fourteen months along with …………… Taking advice from the old adage, I’ve literally woken up to smell the coffee and realised life isn’t all that bad after all.
Looking down at patrons navigating the coronavirus induced clockwise one way system below, from my coffee house perch, the scene played out similarly to inmates routine walk in the film ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest’.
Witnessing this leading me to ponder whether I dare partake in a rebellious meander in the opposite direction, a la Jack Nicholson’s character in Milos Forman’s movie. After what happened to Nicholson for his disruptive behaviour, though, I concluded it’d be best to adhere to the current zeitgeist and not to rock the boat….. Electroconvulsive therapy and a lobotomy a high price to pay for not adhering to shopping centre protocols.
As an aside, I’ve decided to personalise the recently built back yard pergola with the recently procured ‘Mally’s Bar’ sign below. A tribute to my late dad who built the original retaining walls, lower patio and planted most of the border shrubs.
This bespoke sign the first of a a few trinkets I intend to hang, locate adjacent to/amongst the rattan furniture residing on a patio recently constructed in association with the 8ft tall timber pergola. Other plans including personalised beer mats, along with ornamental references to his trinity of sporting amours, Yorkshire County Cricket Club, Leeds United and Leeds Rhinos.
During prevailing constant rainstorms, God only knows when weather will afford suitable clemency to sit alfresco amongst these personalised curios. Hopefully, though, it’ll not be long until I can perch within this outdoor patriarchal shrine.
A scene which’ll witness me raise a glass of vino and hail a hearty “Cheers” to my late role model.