I positively bounced down Westbourne Grove on Saturday morning. A free day – with a blue sky!
I passed by Christmas trees and paused, taking a deep breath in of the wonderful piney scent. Medi’s cafe was buzzing and I spotted him behind the counter serving a customer.
Further along the road I stopped again with a group of others to watch some tree felling in progress. A tall Black Poplar stood, being stripped of its branches; some pruning I imagined. Nearby some Italian tourists inspected a red post box, one with a handful of postcards, the others looking on as she posted them; willing them on their way – wondering when they might arrive.
An hour or so later, I called in to see Medi. The crowds had disappeared and I was afforded his full attention. “I passed by earlier – you were jam-packed!” I said. “You must be raking it in these days!” “Hah” he replied. “The problem is my cafe is small and gets full quickly – like my pockets!” he said, grinning. “What would you like? It’s on the house” he continued expansively.
I said I’d have what he was having – a tea mixture of Assam, Darjeeling and Earl Grey it turned out, and told him I’d just been into Planet Organic. “Hmmm, Planet Organic” he said in an exasperated tone. “I’d like to do something with Planet Organic – maybe plant something in there”. We giggled as I sat down.
‘How’s the writing going?”. “Well, thanks” I replied. “You know, I have a customer who used to edit The Times. You should meet him. He goes for a swim on a Monday morning and pops in here for coffee afterwards at about 9am: “He’s 84 and still loves the ladies”. “What’s his name?” I replied.
“Jonathan” Medi said. “Sorry, what?” He repeated the name. “Oh dear” I said. “He’s too old for you – but he’ll still flirt with you”. “Yes” I said. “I’m sure he will”.
Leaving shortly afterwards, I noticed the tree I’d seen earlier had completely vanished. “Oh no!” I cried. “Did it have to go?” I asked one of the tree fellers. “Yeah, they’re developing this area” he said. “It won’t mean much to you, but it had totally outgrown its roots; it was time to move on and regenerate.” “Sounds like the right thing to do then” I replied, noticing how he smiled.