Archive for September 28th, 2006


So often I have this suffocating sensation that I’m running out of time, that there’s not enough time to get it all done. That every second of my life that I’ve not filled with activity or strictly defined purpose, is a waste and a rule broken (see two blogs back). This cripples me, leaves me busy, frustrated alone and self-absorbed. But that’s a book in itself…

And as I get settled (I’ll be saying that till I leave), I find it happening here. That when I get to know people here I’m not having time to write and think and procrastinate. The important things clearly. And so I got a back log of blogs and I’ve had to start making a list (I like lists)  on my phone so that I wouldn’t forget the topics. So this is a coffee related blog.

People in Hawke’s bay are big into coffee. There’s a café culture that you meet up with your mate and have coffee at a pavement café. And they do it well. None of your Nescafe muck now, nothing but the best. The church I go to was set up by a guy who used to run a café so there’s none of your industrial size tub of Maxwell house instant prepared by a lovely be-hatted (?!) church member. It’s a full on espresso machine as big as a bath tub at the back.

Doctors, and to be fair, hospital staff in general have an addiction to caffeine. It wouldn’t be the NHS if there weren’t tea breaks. Only a shadow of the civil service I’m told (eh gaz?) Hawke’s bay hospital has it’s own espresso stand in the main corridor just down from A&E. Entitled Fix. Winner.

Now this has required a whole new language for me. I’m used to just asking for black coffee. But there’s no such thing. I can have a short black or a long black, neither of which seem to affect the size of the cup. My new tipple is a flat white, a kind of cappuccino style thing (all coffees with milky stuff in it are cappuccinos to me). I had the first drank in seconds. Where had this place been all my life.

The guy who runs it knows what he’s doing and then some. It’s a testament to our addiction that he has enough work to keep him for a 9 hour day. With each coffee you get a sweet (of jelly baby proportions) but everyone knows that Thursday is chocolate fish day (for those concerned that does not mean fish covered in chocolate). He even lets you read his paper on a bar stool at the stand while you get your coffee made. I’ve even joined his loyalty card scheme. You pay for 5 and get a sixth free.

I am aware of the CE café in its embryonic form, so I suggest you take hints.

I’m now left with a dilemma. He has an extensive menu of speciality type coffees with –atto at the end of their names. I want to try them all, but like most things I get comfortable with what I’m used to. I’m afraid I’ll ask for a macchiato (was that not a motorbike…) and he’ll ask me how I want it done and I’ll not know what to say, and I’ll say something like medium-rare and then people will laugh at me and report me to the authorities and I’ll be stripped of my residency, possessions and clothing and set adrift to Vanuatu on a raft made from balsa wood. I do over think things.


September 2006