Tag Archives: cafe

The Temperance – a writers retreat


Phil: With the NolanParker writing team back in action, we need to find places to meet. Places with Tea. And cake.

In the last few months, a couple of possible venues have opened up in Leamington Spa. One that caught my eye with its retro theme, is The Temperance.

I don’t believe in cluttering up coffee shops with laptops if they aren’t happy to be home to people spending hours working away.  We will buy drinks and food, but people who aren’t composing great works of literature will be quicker in and out and therefore more profitable.

A quick e-mail asking if laptops were OK was swiftly answered with the news that we wouldn’t be the first people bashing out a novel on the premises. In fact, at least one member of staff is an author!

Arriving on a cold Monday morning, we ordered tea and salad sandwiches. These were served in the sort of china my Nan would have approved of. The stuff you drink while holding your pinkie finger aloft!

The sandwiches were delicious, the only complaint being the cake selection was very limited, the previous batch having sold out and new supplies arriving the next day.

For an old-fashioned looking cafe. there were lots of laptops in use, and a couple of people using tables for meetings.

After a bit of chat, we got stuck in. I knocked out 1200 words and Candice started the job of making sure the current manuscript adhered to our timeline.

Very productive.

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Wanted: Home for a writer

Kleines CaféPhil: Working from home, I prefer to write fiction somewhere that isn’t my normal workspace.

While I might have all the facilities to hand, there is also the nagging feeling that I should be doing something that pays the bills, not messing around with stupid ideas of being the next JK Brown.

The problems is, finding somewhere to decamp with my laptop.

This becomes worse when there are two laptops to consider. Our last two attempts at working in Leamington Spa library have been thwarted by a lack of table space. People might say that libraries are dying off but they are certainly popular with those looking for somewhere to spend time driving a keyboard.

Last week, I had a meeting in Rugby and so decided that I’d try their library for a bit. Despite there being lots of tables, I only just managed to bag the last spot on one with power points. It was OK, but I don’t really feel comfortable on a round table in the middle of a room. After a couple of hours, I felt spent and trundled home.

Where do other people write?

I’ve heard of using cafés but that’s going to be expensive if (like me) you feel you ought to have a drink on the go at all times. I can’t countenance the idea of occupying space for half a day on the basis of a single hot chocolate – even if the coffee shop concerned can’t be bothered to pay it’s tax. That and I’d eat too much cake.

What’s needed is somewhere with people around, but people who can be relied on to mind their own business. Pubs, generally, are too busy. Or at least the chain ones where you might feel justified in drinking very slowly are.

After that, I’m not sure there is anything left. I know I should be able to work anywhere but the words flow better if I feel that I’m in the right spot for writing.

Any suggestions?


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5 feet from airside

Phil: Candice mentioned on Wednesday that we have a new venue for food and chat, Wellesboure airfield cafe. I’m a bit worried that those of you not familiar with south Warwickshire are thinking that now eet up in some glamorous location, possibly that we have left our gritty urban roots behind and are now part of the international jet-set.

Sorry, no. Wellesbourne is not home to international jet aircraft. Well, not unless you cound a decomissioned Vulcan bomber anyway. I did once see a jet there but it was the executive type and looked a little out-of-place, like a Rolls Royce in Lidl car park. The normal fare is single engine jobs with a windmill stuck on the front. The control tower is built using a couple of metal shipping containers. There are pre-fab buildings dotted around but access is via a country lane. In fact, thanks to the magic of Google, you can see the cafe from this very road. The planes are owned by part-time and hobby pilots.

For us though, it is perfect. It’s a busy little place as all the locals know there is good food to be had in pleasant surroundings. I’ve seen many flourescent jackets (always a sign of a good cafe), ambulance and Police staff along with the surprisingly large number of people who work in flying related jobs on the site. We get to decide on sweet or savory on arrival, and it is quickly delivered to our table. The seats are cafe-comfortable and should we feel like fresh air, there are even picnic benches right beside the taxiway. For security reasons I should point out that a wooden fence capable of defeating terrorists up to 18 inches high stops us actually getting into any propellers.

This week, madame was in the mood for savoury and picked a cheese bap. I fancied something a bit more substantial so plumped for the BLT. You can see in the photo what I ended up with. Half a pig and some salad in a bun. Magic – although a messy enough eating experience to rival spare ribs.

Anyway, we chatted away about various things. It was only when we walked back to our cars that Candice pointed out that we’d not talked book much. It seems that through extensive scientific study, we have proved that if we are to stick to talking about The Book and The Next Book, we have to go for cake. Savory food encourages up to yak about everything.

So, publishers, if you are reading this, once you have picked up our writing then remember that the nolanparker writing partnership is cake powered. FACT.


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