Normally a demeaning term reserved for pseudo-cosmopolitan coffee geeks and anyone roaming the city asylum known as London. But today – in a final card burning rejection of my birth county – I have assumed the mantle of poncy beverage bore.
Previously on the hedgehog, we’ve covered off the extensive customer experiences available at Ledbury station. Basically, it’s Bob scowling at you from within his hermit hut, and the fat controller blithering on about nearline, crossover point switching at Abergavenny. The nearest one can get to a milky drink is to accost a passing cow. And as for a newspaper – well a lucky find would be a wind-flecked Herefordshire Observer (incorporating ‘Potato Harvesters Monthly‘)* from 1992.
Rather than use an hours train time for something useful, I’ve cast my net wider in search of yesterdays news. And that takes me half a mile in the wrong direction, with a further few minutes desperately checking my watch as the crusty old proprietor regales me with endless stories of tomato propagation from the inter-war years.
Java though, has been conspicuous by my grumpiness. Ever since acquiring the espresso machine of much faffage, many a happy hour has passed through selection of bean, multi-grain blending experimentation, significant waffling of the frothy fluffer, and occasional drinking. On the downside, instant coffee induces a hurl reflex, which is something I’d happily dispatch on those marketing morons who sell the big lie that dead, frozen beans can somehow taste like real coffee.
Methadone and Heroin. Stella and Kaliber**, Espresso and Instant. See where I’m going with this? Metro-Bloody-Sexual goes without. Until this morning, when a hopeful side street sidle dropped me dead centre at an early opening cafe properly equipped with an espresso barista. Took a while for him to notice me tho, as I’d dropped to my knees whispering “I TAKE IT ALL BACK, THERE IS A GOD AND I AM SAVED”
Once we’d established that my nutter-nuss was merely a mental release valve for a man in clinical need of fresh coffee, he served up a two shot stonker for the miserly sum of£1.50. Missed a trick there, bit of a sellers market, I was ready with the house deeds. And because Heaven had descended to this little plot of Earth, the smell of frying bacon introduced the very welcome prospect of a crunchy pig sanger for accompaniment.
Sadly it was not to be due to a non bread delivery. And in my unrequited gluttony, the clock had been ticking and I was running out of time to pedal. What to do? My only real storage solution was to quickly internalise the problem but the double fat latte was still far too hot for that option,
Thankfully my laziness in not removing a second bottle cage was rewarded in a makeshift beverage transportation system. It’s flexible too – this evening it was to be found gently – but briefly -with a Steak and Cheese Pasty nestled in its’ midst. But the only way I’d be able to offer photographic evidence of that is with a chest x-ray.
* Sponsored by the Potato Marketing Board. All six floors of it apparently. How exactly can the humble tuba need over a hundred people to find creative ways to sell it? “MORNING TEAM, who wants to be the guardian of the idea pool while we brainstorm new ways to pitch the Maris Piper as the Versatile Vegetable?”
** Any confused younger readers may like to follow the link above. But on no account ever extend their research into actually drinking it.