Coffee With Caramel

latte mugsA chap came into my work premises the other day. He was very polite, but apologetic at the same time. He asked me if I would be kind enough to make him a cup of coffee.

I didn’t even ask questions. I just did it. I told him I would go and put the kettle on and explained we only had instant coffee (Nescafe Gold). He didn’t say anything, but I just presumed from the way he was dressed and groomed that perhaps he couldn’t buy a coffee at the cafe across the road. It’s cold here in England at the moment. It was a pleasure to have him come in and sit and drink a coffee with me. I even put the idea into his head that he might find writing about his life satisfying.

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http://www.Paul.co.uk

He told me exactly how he wanted his coffee. I made it for him and he drank it in front of me. We didn’t have any biscuits or anything to offer him to eat. (I’d already eaten my sprout sandwich a few hours before.)

I was chatting away (like I do) about coffee for the most part. I just wanted him to relax. He kept on apologising. I told him at one point I had no idea what he thought he needed to apologise for. He said he loved the way I spoke (Goldfinch might say that was like a chatterbox without an OFF switch), which is kind of your quintessential English chitter chatter, and one of those voices – nobody can quite place my accent, and I have a soft kind of tone to my voice. He thanked me for being so friendly and chatting with him. He told me that I helped him to forget all his problems.

robin anxiousThen he began to tell me some of the abusive comments that had been directed towards him by people passing. He also indicated that he had been into several of the shops and businesses on that road and asked for a drink, but he had been turned away elsewhere. And I have to say, I believe him. He didn’t tell me what it was, but he indicated that he has had a devastating situation that has stripped him of everything. He said the hardest thing is just trying to find the will to live.

And then he left. He thanked me again and he said “kindness means everything”.

Cup Of Tea
I took this one!

I don’t know his story. But I am sure he has one. He wasn’t with me long enough for me to learn how he has come to be walking into a random office to ask for a warm drink. But there is sure to be a story. He didn’t ask me for money. I didn’t have any money myself (I only take my debit card around with me), and there was no way I could take money from the petty cash (I don’t work for that company – I was temping to cover someone’s holiday). All he asked me for was a coffee. And he ended up with the drink and a fifteen minute conversation with a bubbly blonde who is never lost for words.

neignoursI work with charities, wonderful charities, that provide services and assistance, sometimes education and training to a variety of people, including those who might have lost their homes for one reason or another. In fact when I was a full time international volunteer – and lived in a huge apartment with a lawyer, a celebrity, an accountant, a joiner and an IT whizz (all working on an unpaid basis for charities), one of the lads next door, Micky, turned out to have an amazing story.

dinner chatHe also was living in a apartment that he was sharing with other volunteers. One day we invited him for lunch with some other friends, and my best friend Marta (the psychologist) joined us. Micky was so friendly. I loved how great he was at meeting new people and chatting with them. Such a gregarious cheerful lad. It turned out Micky had been homeless for several years, and had slept in various places such as back alleys and outside department stores. Anyway…he decided to volunteer for a local charity project, near to where he was sleeping rough. He loved it! He was trained in many areas of construction. He was such a lovely, hard working young man, he was selected to receive some very specialist training.

Several years later, he qualified to become an international volunteer, and here he was living with the rest of us. We were all equals. I loved that. I absolutely loved that we were all equal. All valuable. All from different walks of life. None of us being paid a penny. All working hard, eating together, living in the same basic accommodation, under the same rules.

volsI was told that two of the most important assets a volunteer can have is AVAILABILITY and HUMILITY. Anyway…I digress.

My thought was simply that I can’t bear that some people are treated with such a lack of kindness and dignity. I hate that some people speak abusively to others. (And on a side point…I am not political, but I find it very uncomfortable that more bloggers are using insulting terms when referring to others who do not share their political opinions – what’s going on guys? We may have a particular opinion or belief, but dismissing anyone who does not think the same way in degrading terms – that’s not a nice thing to do – at all!)

breakfastaWhen the truth is – we are equal. I long for the day when every human will be dignified as a valuable member of the human family. That guy who came into work the other day.. he was my family and yours too. A cup of coffee is nothing – is it? But from the sound of things, it is rare that anyone will give him the time of day. I think I need to make sure I always have some biscuits, or something foodies in my back pack. I felt lousy only being able to provide coffee. Next time he comes, I’ll try to do better.

From Heart To Page

The picture prompt in Fandango’s Flash Fiction Challenge this week is the same as the one I wrote a little flash fiction post to a couple of months ago. So here is is again, just in case you missed it.

I have been tagged for the TELL THE STORY Challenge by the lovely Finding French Charming.

From Heart To Page

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Through the school she would float. Flint-like face, devoid of expression. Steely gaze always looking ahead, never distracted by the boisterous actions of her fellow students. Heart and mind locked away from every other. She would sit in class silently and turn in Grade A assignments. There was no fault to her work. But there was no spark of life, no warmth in her manners, no colour in her cheeks. Cut off from all around her, through school she would float.

At the age of sixteen she left school with top exam results. That summer she started walking. She was no longer floating. It is impossible to float down rugged paths and rocky trails. She walked and walked mile after mile. No boisterous actions around her, just peace, serenity. The forest breathing in time with her heartbeat. Something entered her being and began to unlock her heart and mind. Gentle and careful at first, only manifest by the occasional tear which would escape from her eye-lid as she was walking.

Nobody said anything, there was nothing to say. She never uttered a word to another soul. But one day after one of her long walks, she entered a local cafe, quaint and quiet with a small bouquet on every table. She sat in the deepest corner of the cafe facing the wall, rather than the other tables. She ordered a soya cappuccino from the waitress, who promptly delivered it to her table. She pulled out a notebook from her rucksack and began to write.

It all came out, one word at a time.

___________

So I have to choose three other bloggers now and tag them to write a story based on the photo I have chosen:

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Although there is no obligation to participate, so no worries to those who are busy with other projects they are working on, the three bloggers I am tagging (although anyone is more than welcome to use the photo if it appeals to them) for the TELL THE STORY Challenge are:

Guilt And Coffee

So what is happening this weekend that Caramel might be writing about at a later date?

The coffee-date with the friend of a friend – that is happening this weekend. By the time you read this post, it will already have happened. I am not really ready for it. I have been very emotional the past few days. Which is partly very natural because I work very long hours Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

All sorts of unhelpful thoughts traipse through my mind at times about the future.  I have felt safe here for the past two years. Things will change though. I have to be prepared that I may not have the comforts I do now.

But it is also my feelings about Goldfinch and my feelings about the little blueberry I am responsible for seven weeks after Goldfinch parted. I do feel a sense of guilt about going on a coffee-date, but I have been open with Goldfinch, and I am sure he is more than happy with me.

I don’t actually have any enthusiasm for coffee-dates with other men. But this man seems very lovely, and I am going to go along and hopefully just have a real good chatter. How open I will be about my situation, I don’t know yet, But I will have to at some point.

I will let myself settle a bit before I write a post about how the coffee-date went. But right now, before I go, I will admit, I am finding it hard to see anything past Goldfinch…and the little blueberry.

Don’t Be Shy!

Is there any better way to start the weekend than taking your time over your coffee (or tea) and catching up on WordPress Reader?…

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…and visiting DrTanya’s Coffee Morning (a blog-party – yaaaaaaay!!!) a chance to meet and greet lovely bloggers. Clink the below to take your straight to Salted Caramel where you will find a very friendly coffee morning, where Dr Tanya will be happy for you to drop by:

https://saltedcaramel.blog/2018/11/08/bloggers-coffee-morning/

Don’t be shy! Drop by! If you have never visited a blogging party before – it’s eeeeezy peeeezy – just say hello in the comments section and don’t forget to include a link to one of your posts. It makes it much easier for everyone to find your site! Take a peek at the sites of the other bloggers who have already introduced themselves.

Blogging parties – a great way to find lovely bloggers who are here to support the blogging community and encourage you when you are feeling gloomy about your statistics or suffering from writer’s block.

And where there is coffee…there is sure to be cake! Why not hey? It’s Saturday!

 

If I Sound A Bit Confused, Maybe That’s Because I Ran Out Of Coffee Today

Another week has flown by and it is time for this week’s SHARE YOUR WORLD questions, currently being hosted by Melanie B Cee… over at sparksfromacombustiblemind as you can see in her post below:

https://sparksfromacombustiblemind.com/2018/09/24/share-your-world-9-24-18/

This week’s questions are:

Last week I asked a question about favourite beverages and the overwhelming favourite was coffee. If you drink coffee, how do you like it best?  Hot, cold, iced, with cream, with sugar or black as black? 

I have always loved the taste and aroma of coffee flavouring. (For some reason all I can think of is Tales from the mind of Kristian shaking his head and rolling his eyes in disgust!)

I think I mentioned in another post that when I was around six or seven I became a bit addicted to coffee. I was convinced that it helped me to swim faster (my sisters and I were competition swimmers).  I would have milky coffee and about six biscuits believing this was some amazing wonder-fuel.

My mother was so concerned about the amount of coffee I was drinking at a tender age that she banned me from coffee!

Also my singing teacher told me to avoid hot drinks so for at least fifteen years I didn’t have coffee or tea.

Then in my early twenties I discovered iced coffee.  Loved that… until I found out how many calories my favourite iced coffee had tucked away – scary!

When I moved to London I started waking up every day at five o’clock in the morning.  I soon found a new appreciation for very strong espresso.

When I lived with Italians, they had a great coffee machine and they were very good at making sure everyone was well caffeinated early in the morning.  I also worked with lots of Italians.  They took responsibility for making the coffee at break-time as they were less than impressed at the dishwater the rest of us called coffee!

In your opinion, what’s the greatest invention of our age?     

My opinion is probably not worth toffee…I am sure others will think of better inventions.  I am going to mention something though I realize makes a big difference to me and my loved ones:

When I think of inventions I think of things than have been designed to make life easier, or speed tasks up or even accomplish things we may never have imagined were possible. Although I am a bit of a technophobe and I am very wary of those who use it for sinister intentions…I think the internet and electronic messaging services are remarkable.

Do you realize that when my Goldfinch moves back to Australia in November…I will be able to send him an e-mail from the opposite side of the planet and it will arrive within seconds?!!

I have family members working in lands in Africa, parts of Russia, the Middle East, South East Asia and Central and South America…I can e-mail them or Skype them…and it is all for free!  Astonishing!

So despite it’s many drawbacks, (and I must admit I don’t like the crazy pace of life that everything seems to run at today) it is pretty amazing that I can communicate with someone I love who is so far away.

global.jpgIf only all the amazing tools that have been invented were only entrusted to good people who would use them to promote good things…and those who had harmful intentions were not allowed access to those tools…I don’t know, I guess it is not as simple as my mum confiscating their phone or tablet or computer until they have learnt their lesson and changed their heart.

Global warming?  Reality or myth?

I am surprised it has become such a debate.  It is of interest to me that some believe and some doubt that human activity is causing a detrimental effect to our global climate on a scale never yet seen in the course of human history.  I have heard people’s views and read articles quoting  various scientists.  Some very persuasively argue that temperatures are rising and this is effecting weather patterns and increasing the frequency and force of extreme weather conditions.  I do take the warnings about global warming seriously.

I am not sure my knowledge and understanding on a scientific level are worth adding to the multitude of words that have been published on this subject.

What registered in my mind some years ago was a verse I have read many times that says the Creator will bring to ruin those who are ruining the earth.  He will not allow it to be ruined completely.  And as far as I can see it is only in recent times that due to the scale of industrialisation, the burning of fossil fuels and the pollution of our air and water, we have reached a stage where humankind have the ability to “ruin” the earth.

So yes, I do believe that if allowed to continue at this pace, human activity could potentially ruin the cycles and forces that have regulated our planet’s climate.  Do I believe it will become so bad that human life itself will be wiped out by our own activity?  Well, I don’t believe that the Creator would tolerate that.  Nobody who had built a house and allowed tenants to live there (who started wreaking havoc on the property), would let the house be ruined beyond recovery.  Bad tenants are eventually evicted, good tenants remain. Scores of passages refer to how He will change the way this planet is governed.

Are you an explorer or more a home body?

travelerI am currently separated from my real home which is on the other side of London.  So, I kind of feel as if I am camping out here in my current accommodation (very pretty though it is). I have always loved travel.  But I long for my real home…it’s been over three years since I was there and I ache to return.

I think once I feel settled back into my own home, then my desire to explore the rest of this beautiful planet will return to me.  Until then I am reading lots of travel blogs!!  Travel bloggers produce such stunning posts.

and last:

What were you grateful for this week?

My two younger sisters came to visit me here in London at the weekend.  It was wonderful!

To sum up:

A Technophobe Who Thinks The Internet Is Super (When Used By Good Hearted Peeps)….

And Wants To Go Home So She Can Start Travelling Again….

And Who Drinks Coffee Anyway It Comes….

And Is Grateful For Her Family And Her Adorable Sisters…

And Hopes For This Earth To Be In Much Better Hands One Day

Bloggers Helping Us Reach Our Full Potential

ironingI usually have a post all ready for publishing first thing in the morning…but not today!  Today is ironing day!  I need to do a lot of catching up and sort out some of the photos I took while I was away to see what might be of interest to anyone except my family and friends – don’t want to overdo it with holiday spam!

My own posts are very much neglected after I spent a long time last night working my way through the posts and comments from other bloggers on these two pillars of the blogging world:

https://swimmersweek.wordpress.com/2018/07/16/swimmers-8/

https://thelittlemermaid09.wordpress.com/2018/07/01/tea-party/

It was definitely worth making the time for these great provisions though.  It’s great to have the support from other bloggers helping us reach our full blogging potential!  Oh how we do miss The Daily Post Provisions.  The bloggers who have set up their own avenues to keep everyone connected deserve a huge thank you from all of us.  I know there are more out there, so please forgive me if I have not mentioned your community posts – or send me a message so I can add you to this post.

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I have twelve posts in my drafts folder that I am working on – all with great potential – but not one of them do I have the mental energy for until I have some more coffee inside of me.  All those drafts have issues I need to iron out.

But right now I really do have to prioritise on my ironing!  I came back to London yesterday.  I emptied my suitcase and I have already done some washing and ironing…but the rest of my clothes I put into storage under my bed and I have pulled everything out this morning and everything is squished and crumpled.

So, I am going to wade my way through a mountain of ironing.  Which is fine – I lovetaylors coffee ironing!  Then I need to go shopping, because I have lots of coffee in the flat…and then all I have is jars of herbs and spices.  I  cleared everything out because people were staying here while I was away.

So far today, I have only had black coffee…and have ironed around a quarter of my clothes.  I have been working my way through my e-mails also and made two phone-calls to companies who have invited me for an interview.  That’s something else I may not have mentioned.  Let me just check…oh yes, there it is, in my drafts folder, I am not ready to publish it yet, but a full account of my search for another job – potentially the perfect job.

bb-and-cf.jpgI am so used to having constant chatter for the past couple of weeks that it suddenly seems eerily quiet here.  So, I think while I finish off my ironing I am going to find something to have on the TV to keep me company…oooh Cherish Finden and Benoir Blin – ooooh, that should be good.  All the potential to keep my mind occupied while I am ironing.

So think of me, sorting out my little abode today, pulling everything back out of storage and putting it back in it’s little place…and ironing pretty much everything I own.  I promise to put a bit more time into some of my other posts at some stage.

ironing

I am going to say “Ciao for now” and carry on with my ironing.

I can’t think straight until I have made this little place orderly again.  Only then can I reach my full potential.

via Potential — Word of the Day Challenge

It’s Frrrrrrrriiiiiiday!!! (Lemons, Leaves, Lattes, Ladies Night)

lemon-drizzleI am so relieved it is Friday.  The week has actually been fine really.  I had a pain that started several hours after Goldfinch left to go home on Monday.  I would love to say the pain is heart-ache.  However, it is much further down than I believe me heart to be…and in the end I had to take a trip to see my Doctor.  The verdict is…well, you don’t really want to know that do you!!

I say “my” Doctor.  I had never met them before.  I have not paid a visit since I registered almost eighteen months ago.  What an effort to make an appointment.  Oh well… please remind me never ever to complain about a free health service!  My friends who live abroad tell me about the thousands and thousands they have had to pay for treatment which we take for granted here.  I must not complain about it being hard to make an appointment.

We will not dwell on our pains and aches though.  Let us dwell on Friday and celebrate that glorious feeling of freedom.  Freedom from 5am alarm bells.  Freedom from wearing a stiff uniform that makes you feely sticky oo-ey goo-ey hot in this muggy weather. Freedom from being squished on a double-decker bus with scores of other commuters, wondering if it would have been quicker to walk because the traffic is so bad.  Yes, its Frrrrrrrriiiiblossom-hill-elderflower-lemon-spritz-75cl_tempiiday!!!  A fantastic reason to celebrate.

I have a plan for today…it involves Lemons, Leaves, Lattes and a Ladies Night in London.  This morning I have a little bit of shopping to do and then I have promised to make a lemon drizzle cake for my friends.  Their choice…not my first choice.  But the thing about giving a gift or baking a cake for someone is this:  You should pick what they like, not your own favourite.  So lemon drizzle is the cake for today!

Some of the girls are meeting at my little abode before we head into town later.  So I will serve the lemon drizzle cake and I have found a nice little tipple to offer round to those who indulge…besides the huge pot of steaming tea I shall also provide.

Just in case you had not picked up on it…we have a girl’s night out tonight.  It is on account of The World Cup having started.  We decided some time ago that we must make sure that we had a girlie night at some stage during the football fanaticism and this evening just happened to suit most of us.  It is really hard to agree on dates sometimes.  I am looking forward to this evening very much.  We are all going to wear summer dresses and basically there will be lots of talking and laughing and reminiscing.

If you are not amongst those who are going to be watching football teams from all corners of the world run up and down a pitch after a ball…well, you may find that restaurants and busy public shopping areas are considerably quieter during World Cup season.  It is worth making the most of it and visiting these places.  You may notice a lot less of the lager loutish behaviour that sometimes mars a night out with your firneds.  Hey…you could even come and meet me and the girls…so long as you wear a summery dress and come ready for laughter.  I should really ask them before I throw out an open invitation everyone.

Now I think I know what I am going to wear.  A dress I scooped up as an incredible bargain not too long ago but I have not worn outside yet because it makes me feel like a plant.  But I thought tonight, I shall try it out.  It is summery.  I have noone to impress, it’s just my very good friends and me.  It is just the shape I like – leaf dressmy sister tells me this is “fit and flare”. I don’t know…but it does hide my squishy hips well and makes me feel elegant and feminine.

But what do you think?  Is it a bit too leafy?  I do like green. But I am not sure of it at all.  Still, I am 90% sure this is what I am going to wear tonight.  I have a gorgeous little bolero that matches the colour of the leaves.  I am wearing tan coloured shoes – flat – as I don’t need the extra height and I am at an age where I like to choose the comfy option.

You might wonder what we will be getting up to on our girl’s night out.  Well, truth be told, we will be rather sensible.  We just want to be able to chat and laugh without annoying anyone (so during the World Cup the best way to do that is making sure we leave the house).  Men seem to get all uppity when you try to talk through a football match.  I am not complaining…I love an excuse for a night out with just the girls. Goldfinch is not a big football fan and if he lived locally, I have a feeling he might be more than happy to escort a group of ladies around town…but I have not invited him!

Aaaah Goldfinch – I do love him!  Have I mentioned that?  Truly truly!

I mentioned some of the girls are meeting at my place.  However, we are then going to head into London and we are going to a glitzy hotel for nothing more than lattea coffee (a soya latte for me) while we wait for everyone to arrive.  We are going there for the experience.  It is much too expensive to have a meal there, but just meeting for a drink in a gorgeous location is a great way to start the evening and take lots of photos together.  Most of the girls I am meeting tonight work with charities as volunteers so we all live life on a sensible budget.  But we do allow room for occasional treats.

As there are so many of us…it will take a long time to move everyone along to our next destination.  I start to act like “Tour Guide Barbie” again, marshalling my friends out into the streets, making sure they don’t wander into the road, and reminding them to cling to their handbags with all of their might.

We are going to a favourite location because of the views and the space and the indoor plants.  I have just realized that my dress will be perfect there.  I will camouflage into the background at Sky Gardens, it is full of leafy plants.  Maybe you have been, maybe you have not.  This is not a travel blog, or a restaurateur’s blog, or a nightlife blog…but I would give it the thumb’s up for a place to go with the girls when you are all dressed up in summery dresses.

sky gardens

I will leave at a very modest and respectable time to make sure I am back in bed tucked up for a good night’s sleep before a 9am-5pm workday on Saturday (better than my long 8am-8pm shifts mid-week).  Don’t feel sorry for me, I am used to working on a Saturday now.   It flies by very quickly.

Why on earth am I thinking about work?  It is Frrrrrrrriiiiiiday!!!