I’m currently on the 6.27 from Sheffield to London. Nothing pains more than 2 and a half hours on the train, body clock shot to buggery, eyes bleary, personal space compromised with the prospect of a dull course on offer so as to make a bad thing unbearable.
A catering cart croissant (dry) and latte (lukewarm) merely mocked me. At nearly £5 it proceeded to do a piss take dance in front of me. Food does not even feature as an interest after a 5.15am wake up call. I’m so near Borough market today but won’t be able to go which depresses me. I’m desperate to go to see what Amanda Lamb looks like. Eternally pregnant like Sarah Beeny I imagine.
London appears a funny old place to me. I know there is more to it than Old Compton St or Oxford St, but you just don’t see it when your view is usually just that on a theatre trip, or a tube station, carriage, tube station and conference venue on another course enforced on you by your employers or the Law Society. Today’s course is a management course, compulsory in your first 3 years post qualification. Seeing as I qualified in October 2007, to the wire springs to mind. But heck, I’m a by the seat of my pants kinda guy.
London update- for the heady price of £165 you too could spend the day in a conference venue feigning interest, not even convincingly, and doodling cupcakes and kites on a pad of paper. You too could pretend you were not screaming a shrill scream in your head, whilst doing a compulsory course talking about management structure and developing leadership potential when all you wanted to shout was for the love of god we will all have to wait for anyone in management to die or be pushed before we can dream of taking a middle manager position, let alone dream of being a monitoring officer or the like. The funniest moment was when the people around my table began discussing not what they do, but what they would dream of doing. We had a costume designer, a psychologist and me, who would have loved to have gone to the cordon bleu and learnt the art of the patisserie or to learn to be a chef. Law would not have featured for any of us.
A lunchtime companion had a passion for law. He had been a solicitor in the city for a US firm, but had gone to the local authority, He had said that it was about his area of interest, it was obviously bollocks. Money would make you stay and compromise your passion, I don’t care how principled you are.
I watched It’s Complicated last night with Meryl. In my world Streep is surplus. There is no other Meryl. She is iconic. She is who I want to play me in a film of my life. Penis schmenis. Fabulous. She is Julia Child. She is the whole reason to watch Mamma Mia! She is, to quote Simon Cowell to many an undeserving Idol or X Factor contestant, world class. And in that film Meryl was living my dream. A beautiful home with a gorgeous kitchen. It had a centre table which doubled as both a counter space and a seating area for food. She had a copper bottomed pans hanging across the top if her range style stove. She had a huge fridge freezer effortlessly stacked with food. She had a kitchen garden so weed free, so organised and with such specimens of vegetable perfection that I had to protest. As a former allotment gardener, it’s impossible to even imagine how one would attain that as a supposedly single mother of three children who had flown the coop.
But the piece de la resistance was her occupation. Owner, entrepreneur of a bakery come eatery come speciality food store. A store selling fine goods, serving fresh coffee and feeding hungry people delicious fresh baked goods. A Barefoot Starbucks if you will. Not a whiff of Greggs in sight. How I would adore this. Homely benches with sugar dispensers in the middle. A counter facing the kitchen where hot toast from store baked loaves sat, and honey and jam pots sit behind ready to adorn the breakfast goodies. An array of scones baking in the ovens behind whilst croque monsieur’s bake in the oven for a hungry diner. Dare to dream Adam, dare to dream. It would be my heaven. Ok, I have rose tinted glasses. I would probably be in constant wrangles with suppliers. I would be endlessly cheesed off from 4am turps to the wholesalers. I would be always hating Starbucks and Cafe Nero for making it nigh on impossible not to be in lost in a saturated market. But in my dream I’m unstoppable, I’m talented and I appeal to people’s dream of being able to support your local team, your underdog independent. Truth of the matter is these places are already out there. I’m sure they do ok but business could always be better. Ina sold Barefoot Contessa and the store then closed. That always makes me sad, to think it’s gone. I suppose the name was probably more profitable than the store, and Ina was nervous that it could be devalued. But dreams can end, hard work go by the wayside, years fade into a “we are now closed, thanks for your custom” sign in a heartbeat. It’s a sad reality. Let’s embrace it. Ina would support my aspirations, but encourage my reality. Don’t dream of catering to the local elite, instead cater to your friend Catherine, Adam. At the end of the day, she’ll be with you tomorrow.
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