Needing a coffee

A friend and I were in town today and needed coffee and she suggested we went into a café I had never been to before. It’s on the High Street and its front is quite small and mostly window. Inside you can see benches and tables and it looks quite plain and slightly old fashioned. In the summer tables and chairs are put outside and people sit there to enjoy their drinks and a cigarette.

We went in and it was empty apart from another couple of people. A waitress approached, very neat and tidy in a black dree, white apron and a mask. We wandered to a table and she brought us menus. I had coffee and my currant favourite, a toasted teacake, and my friend also had coffee and cheesy chips. As we sat there chatting about this and that, I was looking out of the window, across the High Street and across what used to be an attractive area of gardens, the the Winter Gardens pavilion – now part of Weston College, beyond which is the promenade and the beach and the sea.

I suddenly realised that the view was familiar because I think the café we were in used to be, a gazillion years ago, an old-fashioned café called the Cadena. I used to work there. I wrote about it for one of my writing groups, a couple of years ago:

I’m a little behind on one of my writing group’s monthly pieces; the title was ‘Waiting’ and I’m still waiting for something to strike me which I can write about. To wait means to be hanging about expecting something to happen or to arrive, or to start or begin something, but it can also mean to work in a café, bar, restaurant as a serving person and to ‘wait on’ the tables where the guests/clients are going to be eating their food. Town waits or waites are bands of musicians belonging to a town and were originally watchmen, and I think to keep watch during the night is also called to wait/waite. Town waites now are just for fun and minor ceremonial, but in the past as well as having a musical duty, they also had to not only keep watch but to wake the town in a time when people didn’t have time pieces.
Checking on my favourite etymological site, I find that waiting/watching was originally with “with hostile intent”; as with much of our language it came from Old North French, which in turn came from the Frankish, which came from Proto-Germanic which lead to other languages having a similar word. We could all guess that Dutch and German might be among those languages,  The Dutch word for wait is wacht, and the German is warten, There’s a connection between wait and watch too, although now the two words have a different sense, if you’re waiting for something you might also be watching – hanging around anticipating something coming or happening…
Back to waiting… one of my jobs while I was still at school was as a waitress; I worked first in the Cadena in Weston-super-Mare, a really old fashioned café/restaurant which served such delights as sardines on toast. It was very dull and I guess I must have worked there for a couple of years before I left home to go to college. Coming home in the holiday pretty much the only part-time jobs for students were waiting jobs and I became a waitress again at the Cabot Hotel in Weston. It still exists but is really a pub although I think it does still have accommodation. Here I was taught how to be a proper silver service waitress. The man in charge, the Maître d’ I guess you’d call him, was very strict with us, but very fair and all the people working there, mainly about my age, absolutely loved the job even though it was hard. Breakfast, lunch and dinner – working from seven, with breaks between meals until about eight at night. We used to go out as a gang between shifts and after work, and I can remember going horse riding and nearly falling off, going on the beach, walking along the prom, such innocent and fun times!
So that is pretty much my total thoughts on waiting… I wonder what I will actually write and share with the group? Oh, wait a moment, I just have written something, now I can share it!

My featured image is of the water feature beside the Winter Gardens

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