I have joined a new club: the Friday Morning Club. Until recently I was blissfully unaware that I even belonged to the club, even though I have probably been a member for several months now. After scrutinising the other members quite carefully it would seem that they too are completely unaware of it.
We humans are creatures of habit: from the food we eat, to the clothes we wear, to the routes we travel every day. In fact, we’re all possibly slightly OCD when it comes to such things. A Twitter friend remarked the other day how her autistic son went into meltdown the morning after she inadvertently took a wrong turning and walked a different street to get home. I kind of get that. There is comfort in the usual – we don’t have to think too hard about it and it comes as second nature. We know nothing nasty will be lurking round the corner and we can sail along without having to make too much effort.
The same comes to our food and our attire. I bet many of us are guilty of reaching for the same kind of clothes day in day out, finding comfort in the style or colour and not having to make an effort to ‘wear’ something unusual. The same comes to our food – we buy the same ingredients week in, week out – working through the same repertoire of recipes, with the exception of an occasional foray into a new cook book or food fad.
But I digress, back to the Friday Morning Club. In an effort to break the mould of comfort I am exploring the world of fish, having been brought up on a diet of cod & chips from the chippy after swimming on a Saturday morning, or pan fried haddock on a Friday if Mum had been to the market in town. My knowledge of exotic fish went as far as salmon or prawns, with an occasional mussel or oyster thrown into the pot just to shake things up a bit.
So now, every Friday morning, I can be found sitting in Cafe Nero in town, sipping coffee with the fishmonger and wondering what fish I am going to be cooking that night. We have a wonderful arrangement – his love of homemade cake is as great as my appetite for fish – so we have a nice little bartering system going, plus a pretty good friendship growing to boot.
However, in the last couple of weeks I have started to notice the same people in Nero’s, sitting reading their newspaper; rushing in to grab a take-out or staring into space over a cafe latte.
There is a lady I recognise from the swimming pool at the gym – a quiet, shy little woman who seems to spend her life in a solitary existence. She has a slightly French air about her and always wears a black beret. Although I hasten to add, not in the swimming pool.
Then there is the grey haired gentleman who appears rather vague and seems to spend his whole life wandering round looking for someone. His wife or daughters often just sit and drink their coffee in peace, waiting for him to notice them.
There is the ballet teacher – who suffered through my daughter’s attempts at dance for several years – and her rather fierce looking mother. We mostly avoid eye contact due to said daughter throwing a massive tantrum on stage and refusing to perform.
There are several members of the fishmonger’s local golf club who always give us disapproving looks as if we are having some kind of clandestine affair over our weekly Americano and hot chocolate.
And then there is a rather vocal character, commonly known as NinJah, who is also known as the Bin Basher and the Prophet of Cardiff. He addresses everyone he meets as ‘Citizen Of Cardiff’, and can be quite an alarming sight for those who don’t know him – he is at least six foot four tall and has startling white dreadlocks, with a wardrobe that Liberace would be proud to share. The Bin Basher moniker is apt, given his penchant for drumming on waste bins – he’s actually a rather talented drummer. It really is best not to catch the Prophet’s eye, as once he starts talking you can’t make him stop. I say talking in the loosest sense of the word. Preaching would be more apt.
There are probably many more members to our quiet little club who have so far slipped under my radar – I’m sure I’ll spot a few more regulars over time. It’s actually quite a nice little club: no need to pay fees, no exertion necessary, no need for small talk: a quick nod over your cup is suffice. There is just a comfort in the knowledge that everybody just does their own thing, week in, week out. It really wouldn’t be Friday without it.