Like a Stick
I was musing on the idea of a chilled breeze being an advance payment on autumn when the skies opened and the rain came. I ducked into Swinegate Court and decided to have a coffee in Piglets, read the newspapers for a while, keep dry.
They have wide wooden shelves against the windows and walls, and high steel-framed stools. Seems like most of their business is take-away sandwiches and drinks for the local office and shop workers, but there were several customers sitting with drinks or food when I arrived. A few more standing, waiting for a baguette or some kind of wrap.
I took a stool on the back wall next to a tall woman with a beard eating baked potato piled with shrimps and pink mayo. She caught a dribble of the sauce on her chin with her little finger and spooned it back over her bottom lip. She glanced at me and made her eyes bigger.
Swinegate Court is a covered passage. People use it as a short-cut from Swinegate to Grape Lane and there are often cars and vans parked head to tail. Maybe the owners leave them to unload stock into their shops.
There’s another restaurant in the passage and a Parisian style boutique called Giselle, which sells posh frocks. There were several on display in the window, on models without heads, lined up ready for a girls night out. Frothy creations reminiscent of a landscape anticipating the approach of spring.
One of the standing customers had been to see Celine Dion. ‘What’s she like now she’s had twins?’ her friend asked.
‘Like a stick. But she didn’t have twins. Just the one. A daughter.’
The woman next to me pushed away the remains of her baked potato and started on her chocolate pudding.
Later she was joined by a tall man with a beard wearing a T-shirt with the slogan: ‘My Peace is Growing’. Being literal I stalled for a moment, believing the guy was a Christian or some other kind of religious.