Bread And oil. Or rather bread, oil and vinegar. Some restaurants include this among their starters or “other dishes”, others do not but will provide it if asked. You can have it at home too but in the restaurant there is the fun of waiting to see what bread or breads turn up.
In the launderette we frequent we hear many accents and languages. I am pulling clothes out of the dryer. They are so hot. Out comes a red tee shirt bought in Edmonton. “The only good thing to come out of Canada,” I say. We laugh. The elderly couple next to us look at us sharply. “You’re wicked,” says Tigger. We laugh again.
Tea. Tea is black, unadulterated by milk or other distractions. It does not come in a bag. It is brewed, whether in a pot or in the mug with a filter doesn’t matter much. As soon as we come in the kettle goes on. And again as soon as we wake up.
The train whooshes through Kent. People chat, stare out of the window, do sudoku, read. The conductor comes and inspects our tickets. In the next seat a lady is reading a book. “Do you want to know how it ends?” he asks her. We all laugh.
The bus comes at last. We scramble aboard and climb onto the top deck. The bus crawls through heavy traffic, picks up speed on the dual carriageway. The city is laid out to view under a sky of sun and storm cloud. Tigger takes photos from the front seat.
The main road is busy and the traffic four endless streams. We teeter on the kerb. A tiny gap. “Leg it!” cries Tigger and takes my hand. We scuttle across then walk along hand in hand.
Books are piled everywhere. There is hardly room to walk. Customers flatten themselves against the shelves to let one another pass. Handwritten cards say “History”, “Fiction A-Z”, “Travel”. Sermons by a long forgotten preacher. Biggles with a torn jacket. Le Grand Meaulnes.
Station Cafe. Full of men in orange jackets, dusty boots and hard hats. We find a table. “Genghis” nods to us. Brings cutlery and paper napkins. Tea and coffee. Toast. Two full vegetarian breakfasts. What if one day we wanted something else? No chance!