Saturday, 27 October 2007

The writing cafe

This will be brief as we’re off to Plymouth where I am going to the ballet with my mum, and Himself and Moll will tour the music shops searching for the Ideal Mouthpiece for his cornet. We’re then spending the night with my mum in Devon and coming back via Fowey so we’re having a weekend away.

But first of all – about the writing café.

We went, RT and I, after our meeting, and found a small café with the door open (it wasn’t overly warm outside) and a long bench type table in the window covered in newspapers and books. At the far end was someone carefully placing what looked like black plasticine cats on luridly coloured cakes – for Halloween, I presumed.

She greeted us and continued attending to the cakes while we looked around. A blackboard advertising the cakes of the day (numerous) and an Italian coffee machine, about six tables and chairs and a slow cooker bubbling away in the background. Books and papers scattered over various table tops. Comfortable, tables and chairs clean. (Though I did see a nasty damp patch coming in through her ceiling which she should have looked at. I thought of volunteering Himself’s services but didn’t think it quite the time.)

The cakes were piled on top of a worktop and just about all were chocolate, and those that weren’t were covered in thick layers of icing. A red light danger zone for someone with my metabolism.

RT ordered tea and a piece of chocolate truffle or something cake.
‘What kind of tea?’ said Patricia, and rattled off about 280 different choices.
‘Er – ordinary please,’ said RT.

We sat down and she presented us with copies of her children’s books and I said I’d ordered one from the library.

‘If you knew how I dread those words,’ she cried. ‘You do realise that if you get books from the library, I don’t get a penny? It’s only about six pounds on Amazon.’

‘Yes, but six pounds is quite a lot of money,’ I said, thinking what about PLR?

That went down like a lead balloon and RT and I exchanged glances. It was one of those times when you’re very glad to have a friend with you.

However, my coffee was fine even if RT’s cake wasn’t. Every time we talked about something, our host either joined in the conversation, or said something like, ‘what sort or organs do you think I should put on my cake? Something with blood dripping out of them?’

We weren’t sure whether she was addressing this comment to us, to the passers by or her son who appeared and drifted off, like a lost soul.

We ended up having a very useful talk about writing, though, and she did volunteer her services if we wanted to drop in one Saturday. She said she’s happy to look through first few chapters and synopsis of a novel so that could be very handy. She also gave RT some good advice about Not Giving Up the first draft.

So all in all, it was an interesting experience. She might well end up in a novel one day.


Lane said...

Oh dear - it does sound like there's room for improvement there.
Shame because the idea is so great.
Enjoy the ballet:-)x

Rebecca Taunton said...

Nicely told FP. I shall be writing about the cafe experience this afternoon or tomorrow. And then we can compare notes!

Although the most unusual morning cup of tea I've had for a long time, it was some very handy advice that she gave out. Very good indeed.


Akelamalu said...

Mmmm, an interesting experience, maybe better next time?

Enjoy the ballet and your weekend.

When you get back have a go at Nursery Rhyme Quiz #2 which I've posted today. :)

laurie said...

sounds a wee bit awkward. imagine pushing your book on new customers to your shop.

but it must not have been too awkward or you wouldn't be thinking about going back.

Anonymous said...

That sounds like a great idea, I think feedback is so important and if someone would read some of my work then it would help considerably. Cakes sounded good too!

Have a great time away, ballet is so beautiful to watch.

Crystal xx

The Rotten Correspondent said...


minus : sounds like there are some rough edges to be worked out

plus : you got some great blog material out of it

Graham, Prince & Tilly said...

I suspect that not all customers will accept the negatives so well. Plus, the positives wouldn't apply to anyone who wasn't actually a writer themselves. I hope it's not the case, but I don't see a long term future for this cafe if your experience is typical....

liz fenwick said...

Sounds and intriguing place....did you raise PLR with her?

Flowerpot said...

lane - well, I am keeping an open midn at the moment! Ballet wasn't one of their best but still good and a great audience.

RT - I shall have to pop over and see what you've said. Glad teh advice was helpful. What was the matter with the tea? Forgot to ask!

Flowerpot said...

Ak - I will have a look a t nursery rhymes tomorrow. Brain has gone to pot (and thereby fingers) after long drive!

laurie - well a bit awkward, but I'm afraid I was thinking can she be useful? She obviously wants to help whicn is great. I'll think on't.

Crystal - the ballet was beautiful to watch and llots of young children (it was the matinee) who thorougly enjoyed it!

Flowerpot said...

corresopndent - not just good blog material - good book material as well! Excuse typing, fingers gone kaput after long drive.

Graham - no I quite agree. I think this is probably why the cafe was empty! And apparently it has been since it opened. Shame - good idea.

Liz - I did mention PLR and she was very dismissive about it.

Rebecca Taunton said...

Oh, there was nothing wrong with the tea, as such. It was just very strong, so it made me jittery! Perhaps my own fault for leaving it in the water for so long!


Flowerpot said...

Yes, strong tea makes me jittery too so I smpathise!

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this