Ruby and I are sitting in Starbucks in Cardiff Bay; the only Drive Thru in the UK apparently although obviously as one is sitting this particular service is not being used today. One mentions it simply because it reminds one of visits State side to the same establishment; one’s oldest friend lives in Virginia and has a penchant for Starbucks coffee. And the black and white cookies that she was aghast were unavailable in the UK branches! One confesses to not quite understanding the pull of the familiar when one is abroad ostensibly to experience something different but each to his own as the saying goes!
On the subject of coffee one had the most curious encounter with the uninitiated (where said beverage is concerned) this week. An early meeting took one to the office of a client at 930 am where one graciously accepted the offer of a coffee. One should have had ones antennae twitching when the woman in question who one was meeting with had to ask where the coffee was kept; drinking deeply from a plastic bottle of Gatorade she told one she never drank tea or coffee. Her colleague told her the coffee was in the fridge; a response that had her temporarily non-plussed (one was later told by one of her colleagues that she ranges from being highly intelligent to a complete space cadet)!
After about 5 minutes the coffee arrived and a mug (wonderfully deeply black just as one likes it (or so one thought). One eagerly picked up the mug and took a generous mouthful – of coffee grinds! And the sensation of grit in ones mouth especially when not expecting it is not pleasant. Surprised one didn’t say anything straight away, attempting instead to discretely remove the debris at least from the inside of my lips. After 10 minutes of so one twigged what she had done and ask if she had put the coffee in the mug. Yes she responded! Fortunately one was rescued by her colleague seated behind evidently listening to our conversation.
Dissolving in a paternalist ‘what have you done this time’ mode said colleague intervened saying he would make me a fresh one! One confesses that one simply couldn’t comprehend at what point this seemed the right thing to do – certainly it broke the ice and the client blushed before relaxing into a most candid mode!
On the matter of funerals referred to earlier this week one was frankly shocked to find that even the most basic cremation (without special cars) costs just under £4000. Everything itemised on the list one’s friend showed was extortionately priced; funeral flowers £198 for 2 modest arrangements that purchased for another occasion would be less than half the price. One can only assume the funeral business is aware that the customer is going to be in a distressed state i.e. more likely to accept without question the fees levied. More shocking – to me – was the fees one has to pay to two doctors when a body is going to be cremated – a mandatory price coming to £152!
The new crematorium in Barry has state of the art facilities including video conference / Skype services for those family members unable to be there is person. One the one hand this is a great added extra for people living overseas but on the other it’s so wrong on so many levels!
And what should one chose for ones relative to be cremated/buried in given that most coffins are sealed? But it is an important decision for the family members left behind; the particular challenge one’s friend faced was making sure the outfit didn’t clash with the pink lining of the coffin her mum would be placed in. Apparently the lining only came in three colours: pink, blue or white. Having chosen pink her mum’s favourite emerald green ensemble was ruled out; on balance we also decided putting her in her favourite track suit was inappropriate too!
How does one explain to a 4 year old child (in this case the great grandson of the lady who has died) that Great Granny is no longer around? His mother decided to ask if he remembered what had happened to his hamster. ‘Yes’ the boy replied ‘Mimi ate him!’. Mimi is the cat! So once again an adult was flawed by a child and another strategy will have to be found!
One could observe that this sojourn to Starbucks was something one likes to do on a Friday morning, however given that one is about to get on a series of interconnection motorways as one ‘goes up North’ that isn’t exactly plausible. The reality is one was eager to get out of the house before the Friday Fairy arrived to waft/polish with dusters. She is a perfectly pleasant woman but this is the school holidays and she will be accompanied by her somewhat high spirited 10-11 year old daughter who she pays to help her (hmm is one condoning child exploitation one wonders). One balance one doesn’t mind (as long as one is not actually in the house at the time of course), however last week on returning to the house one discovered chocolate wrappers on ones dressing table. Neither does on mind that the answer to the question posed five years ago – yes in response to ‘can I have a kitkat (optional please may be inserted here) – is assumed to be an ongoing agreement to chocolate (and coke) being snaffled from the fridge during school holidays! One is not Auntie after all. What did niggle one was the fact that the wrapper had chocolate bits in it that had melted in the heat and were smeared all over the dressing table! And yes the Spinster does have a dressing table; one has certain eccentricities one is not prepared to renew and refresh on a seasonal basis! Just an old-fashioned gal ladies; one who is avoiding conflict with one’s fairy for fear of jeopardising the calm zen feeling one is adopting this weekend!