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A Cafe In Gillingham

Updated on February 14, 2014

I guess the hair in the bacon sandwich wasn't a complete shock then. Not after the crushed housefly squashed betwixt crudely laminated menu and 4mm pane the window.

Oh...and after aqua-planing across the pool-ridden linoleum en route to my annoyingly asymmetrical seat by the grease-spattered nicotine-coated cork notice-board.

Ooh...and add the fact that the sticky-back plastic sur le table (with colourful circus scenes of seals on beachballs and elephants banging drums) looked like it hadn't been changed since Bowie last had an album out (staying topical guys)

Involuntarily I rocked gently on my seat as I awaited the follicle-accompanied bacon sandwich. Of course...I didn't know at this stage that I was about to have the privilege of bacon and sebaceous glands in one handy helping. At this point I assumed I'd just ordered bits of a dead animal in some kind of yeast-driven mix of dough and water.

With kepchup

Seriously...that's how they misspelled it on the bottle......another little clue...if I needed one...that I wasn't dining at Langan's Brasserie.

This was Gillingham, Kent.

Not Piccadilly, London.

As a keen dissector of modern life and social multi-existential everyday goings-on I sat and thought about these things.

The housefly crushed under the menu.....I'm assuming it was a housefly...looking at the highly developed mouth organ and very large, faceted eyes. I suppose it could have been a blowfly...they are quite regular in these parts in the cooler months. Having said that...I don't know how long ago it had been squashed. Without a terribly involved musca domestica autopsy...which would be time-consuming and costly...and frankly not really worth it...there's no way of telling. I wouldn't know who to phone about exoskeletal insect examination anyway.

Certainly nobody on my iphone contact list.

Though I did check.

Seriously though...if you had a back-street cafe and you saw a housefly (come to think of it now...I reckon it was a bluebottle) crawling around in your wouldn't wait for it to creep under the menu and then burst it against the food-list...would you ?

Or if you did you'd proceed to clean it off...surely?

And maybe make a new menu for the window.?


It's the first thing most people look at.

Shepherd's Pie and Chips...with a squashed fly obscuring the 'chips' word.

£3.75...with tea or coffee.

I'd clean the notice-board too....wipe the nicotine-stains off. Smoking has been banned in these places for years. Not since 2004 have you been entitled to spark up a Rothmans in a cafe where other folk are eating egg, chips and beans and jacket potatoes with cheese...and talking about simultaneous explosions in rush-hour traffic in Madrid. (very solemn) and raving about Janet Jackson's breast being briefly exposed by Justin Timberlake during the Super Bowl halftime show.


Or was it elephants on beach-balls and seals banging drums ?

I ordered Ribena

The bacon sandwich arrived...with the hair. You'd think that with all this demonstrative personal posturing I would have returned the sandwich with the hair...but I didn't.

I ate it.

The sandwich...not the hair.

I removed the hair...and loaded some extra kepchup on to confuse the memory of the hair

As I was engineering my way around the sandwich the arrival of three likely lads....let's call them Tom, Dick and Harry....turned this cafe in Gillingham into the holding pen for the Jeremy Kyle Show.

They sat down....lumberingly....almost like heavy trees falling to the forest floor...thrown to the splintered seats like some group of deadbeat overweight Bambis splashed against irregular rockery at the top end of Scotland.

Tom ordered beans on toast.

Dick ordered mushrooms on toast.

Harry ordered beans on toast.

Being a writer of somewhat amateurish social observatory stories...I always take the opportunity to listen into other people's conversations. Other people's conversations are so much better than my own. Other people's lives are much more enthralling than my own. That's why I buy the tabloids.

So I listened to Tom, Dick and Harry...and before too long it became clear to me that they were engaged in a debate about their individual sexual conquests.

Unbelievable....but what did i expect ?

The chances of three scruffy obese back-street cafe chair-slumpers opening up a discussion on what contributes to the kind of pedagogy that can go a long way in breaking stereotypes and building a democratic remote.

I'd bet my house against it...anyway.

Warm Ribena....yeuch

It was at this point that I gazed into the yawning chasms of a new depth in this cafe in Gillingham. Tom, Dick and Harry...on the adjacent table...discussing their conquests quite graphically...and it came down to numbers. 'So come on' said Tom...the most vociferous and most interrogative one of the the little baggy-eyed one with the mushrooms on toast. 'How many women have you sh*gged?'
The consternation formed over the face of the fungi-chomping hobbit....and after a few moments of reflection....he asked the shuddering question
'Do you mean with their consent?'

'Keep your voice down, Dick' said Harry

'You can't say stuff like that....what if that guy on the next table is a writer and he goes on to write about this conversation ?'

'Why are you calling me Dick when my name is Mark ?

'Well...he doesn't know our names' (he pointed at me) 'If he does write about this he'll probably call us Tom, Dick and Harry......or something'

'So why do I have to be Dick ?'

'Cos you are the one who had the mushrooms....idiot'

As they left the cafe I noticed that not only was Dick a baggy-eyed hobbit....but he was bandy-legged too. Not that it's important now. It won't change your life and it won't change my life that he can't stop a pig in a passage.

My disappointment is that I came here to write my new story....The Happiness Trigger...which has great promise as a modern love-story-esque account of a chance meeting between a girl from a bookshop and a man with a notepad...but trivial events took they so often do. What was it that Lennon said (qm) Something like 'life is what happens while you are busy making other plans'

The Happiness Trigger can wait.

Today is about elephants, beach-balls and
a type of assault, usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent.

It's a sad world!!!!!

The public remains divided on Bowie's new single

Catch ya soon dudes and dudesses xxx

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I would love to hear your thoughts on this if you have any opinions to offer...or experiences or examples to share...please put them in the 'comments ' section below.

Perhaps you have your own story to tell ?

What do you think ?

How do you feel ?

What is your opinion ?

Are you working on something similar ?

I will respond to all comments and I look forward to hearing from you

Thank You




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