Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Cafe Society


Right. It's time to stop staring at the minutiae of scruffy old Penguin Books and empty Gold Flake packets and get back out there. On the road, seeing what happens; Fear and Loathing On The A1.
I saw on someone's blog the other day that a top ten of roadside caffs was being assembled. One of the candidates put forward was a very up-market pub, the Olive Branch at Clipsham in Rutland. Anything further from a transport cafe cannot possibly be imagined unless under mind-altering drugs, and in any case it's a good way off the four lane blacktop that is the Great North Road. But not much further north is the real thing. A wheezing shack roofed in red corrugated iron at the Cromwell Halt just north of Newark. The lettering (obliterated in the war in case the Third Reich fancied dropping in with high explosives) automatically triggers the senses. It says, as boldly as possible: bacon, sausage, two fried eggs, black pudding and a mug of tea you can stand a spoon up in. On my first visit thick-set truckers with arms like Popeye's shovelled breakfasts down whilst aiming expletives at Tony Blair (remember 'im?) preening himself on a the ceiling-slung telly. I daren't get the camera out inside in case I found the lens slowly clearing of HP Sauce, but in conversation with the owner I learnt that next door to the shack was an air raid shelter, just in case a stray Heinkel interrupted the mopping-up with fried bread. Marvellous. I shall return.

5 comments:

Justin Savage said...

Took me a while to recognise the red umbrella for what it was. At first sight it looks like that character in 'Don't Look Now'. Spooky.

Philip Wilkinson said...

Marvellous. A fondly remembered landmark. The Cromwell Halt CAFE. It does what it says on the tin.

Toby Savage said...

I shall go specially. To hell with the meusli!

Ron Combo said...

I wouldn't be seen dead in the place. They missed out the acute accent on the e in cafe.

Philip Wilkinson said...

My favourite misspelling of the word 'café' was in the sign on the old Café Casali in Maiden Lane, Covent Garden. Somehow they had managed to spell it with a grave accent. On the 'c' of 'cafe'.