On Lower Marsh, Maries Cafe is the place to go for tea, toast, a sit-down and a bit of warmth. If you feel like something more substantial, there is fry-up, in the English (egg, bacon, sausage, chips, beans...) or Thai (pad Thai!) varieties.
I have no idea who Marie is; the lady behind the counter is Sue. The first time I saw her, I thought she reminded me of someone I used to know but I can't think of who that may be. And then I realise that Sue is one of those people whom you meet and instantly like. Instantly feel an affinity for, hence the familiarity. But why? Sue was just doing her thing - taking orders, making tea, making toast, engaging in brief conversations with regulars, cashing up orders - doing what you may expect of someone behind the counter at a place like Maries, with a bit of cheer. She was neither demonstrative nor distant. Neither fervent nor lackadaisical. Not hot. Not cold. Ah! Sue is just right. She is comfortable and it is comfortable to be around her. She doesn't even have to try.
It was so nice to see Jane and Tristan at Fern Verrow, briefly catch up with Jack Coleman and Kitty at La Grotta Ices, run into Michael (talking juicing, good eating, and exciting kitchen equipment) and Nina (nine! So tall, she's going to catch up with me soon!) and smile at regular Spa Terminus shoppers whom I know by faces but not by names.
By Saturday morning, sometimes Friday evening, my fridge is clear of fresh produce. I fill it up again, mainly with the amazing greens grown at Fern Verrow; what goes in there set the tone for the rest of the week so Saturday is the ritualistic start of the week for me.
Now that it is done, I feel like I'm properly back in London.