After my shameful admission of passing over fine local cafes for the super chain coffee-house, Starbucks, I decided I can and must do better.
Me, my coffee addiction appreciation, and my future Hertford happiness is dependent upon it. A ginormous exaggeration, but still.
Yesterday my café research took me to The Bebo Café which is right in the heart of Hertford. Their front doors open onto Salisbury Square where the sounds and smells of The Hertford Farmers’ Market overtake your senses each weekend. Here you will hear the call of “Three quid for two pounds of fresh strawberries” while smells of seafood and fresh pastries fight for your attention and the fishmonger and baker vie to make a sale. All while you stroll along the cobblestone pedestrian-only paths.
In the style of Paris Cafés, small tables and chairs sit outside Bebo’s doors along the pavement (sidewalk) facing the courtyard so patrons can “see and be seen.”
Autumn is in the air in Hertford, so I sat inside, down a few steps still facing the front door which was a perfect place to write and when words alluded me; people watch. The coffee shop was full of moms with young kids, their conversation revolved largely around their children. I didn’t intend to eavesdrop, but the rhythm and cadence of English accents still catches me up, interrupting my thoughts. It seemed much of their concern was centered on their children’s happiness; are they making friends, are they adjusting to new schools and teachers, and will they cope well with more demanding homework expectations.
I found this extremely comforting. Not that the mothers were worried about their children, as that would be somewhat sadistic, but that their concerns are nearly identical to my own worries for my children.
It seems wherever you go, the world over, concerns of mothers are nearly identical. Are our children happy? And wherever you go, you always remain a member of the Mother Community – in a very broad sense.
There is more to a town than its shops, restaurants, and schools. Those are important and make a place interesting and unique, but it is the people who fill the cafes, markets, and houses that make a town feel like home.
Sitting in that cafe, feeling part of that Mother Community, made me feel connected to my new neighbours, even if they didn’t know that I have moved into a house on the tippy-top of a hill, that has a most spectacular view.
It also let me feel more at ease than I have in quite some time, allowing my mind to drift back to story building and creative thoughts, and to that exquisite latte, with the swirl of foam and that perfectly flaky cinnamon brioche.
I will be back.
Bebo Café rating – 5 out of 5 lattes