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We have for many years partaken of coffee, it is our vice. Together we sit, sip and watch the world pass by. Thanks to Gillian Holding for giving me the idea.

Here are just some of the coffee shops we have visited together, there are many I have forgotten, but so many we have enjoyed. Full of people and interest at all times.

Coffee shop Lovers

It could have started in that Parisian backstreet, behind the Champs Elysee, after the early morning train ride when we saw the sanglier crossing the road. We didn’t know any French but sat with the locals drinking and watching. What about St Germain? Outside in the rain, eating the chocolate we bought from the chocolatiers on the wide christmas boulevard, a tiny bag that cost so much, decadence. There is Rege’s on Tihany, high up on the side of the hill looking over the lake, with ice cream and cakes and the storm brewing. Where the menu says ‘if you’ve been once, you’ll come again to bring the family or a lover.’ it’s that good. The cafe on the Seine near Notre Dame, after visiting Shakespeare and Co, the bookshop. Drifting around with the smell of old and new books, taking just a couple, to tantalize. Then sliding our fingers through the pages, with coffee and the Paris world around us.

Home, we sit outside Cardigans in Brioude while the market runs past us or maybe a weekday trip with the business of business carried on around us and where the coffee smell drifts across the square as we approach, knowing that we can soon take part. Weston-super-Mare, Costa in the bookshop, a good chance of meeting a passing friend, crowded by the books around us and the people we watch as they shop, with a new place now, at the end of the high street, with such windows as dreams are made of, the world outside is ours to see. Gerbaud in Budapest, we found it late the first night, walking back from the river, closed but so full of the promise of coffee that we made our plan to be there before we left. It was everything the old-fashioned chairs promised from inside the windows, white shirted waiters and polite, quick and full of the best.

On Ocean Drive, Big old USA, where else but Starbucks, the most American of coffee, with the beach and the parade of big cars, people looking to be seen, and us tourists in a rapture of Art Deco buildings. Back to Paris of course, the city of romance and Vincennes in the rain, The Café with oyster sellers outside the window. All the customers buying fresh from the sea of the south. That time we met the kids, at Le Fumoir, outside the Louvre, old-fashioned French waiters, cocktails and coffee on sofas in a darkened salon. Let the rain fall, what do we care while we have ourselves for company? The Cannes seafront, hot warm Mediterranean air with the red hills across the bay, the Regatta Royale brings schooners and racing yachts to the port while we sit reading and watching.

London, a different city at a different time, when we still knew little of the future and each other. We fell into Fortnum and Mason, dripping wet in an English winter rainstorm, we shopped for Christmas then, waited at the top of the stairs to be taken to a table. So out-of-place we seemed normal for a while. Before we took to the streets again to watch a play and head back home full of the joys of discovering adventure together.

We have sat in supermarkets, on the side of mountains and by the sea, alone on a beach. In an Italian motorway services we drank ice-cream coffee, because we got it so badly wrong. We make coffee during our day, and sit in the garden, silent or not. Drinking coffee together, a theme developing all the while that passes through a life. To take the time to stop while the world carries on without us. To drink coffee and hold hands.

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