Sunday, 7 August 2016

A Grand Day Out in Durham - 6: The Jumping Bean Cafe

A shorter post to finish off my grand day in Durham.

I had been wanting to visit a cafe for a while.  I'd felt hot and tired and had planned either to just catch a bus home or to have a quick drink.

Instead I had walked along the river, visited a gallery and thoroughly explored a large churchyard.  Instead of that drink I had wandered for a few hours and found a lot of enjoyment in the wandering.

Now I was back on a main shopping street and I honestly was much less tired than I had been before the relaxed wandering and exploration along streets and through gateways, wherever appealed.  I was pretty thirsty but I was mentally energised and the only part of me to feel tired now was my feet.  It is interesting how much of what we call tiredness is related to a state of mind not a state of body.

I was very glad to have wandered.  I enjoyed it then.  And I've enjoyed looking at all the photos I took of the riverside and the graves in St. Margaret's extensive grounds.  Those things added something precious to my life and cost me nothing except the effort to go and do them.  That's the way it's been for the last few months.  A making of effort, when I can, to find the precious things.

I was approaching the bus station and still hadn't made a cafe decision.  I can be terrible at making cafe decisions.  Sometimes I can walk right round a town three times and still won't have been able to go and get a drink.  And now my cafe opportunities were running out.  Suspense!

But then I looked up a quiet street leading up from that busy shopping street - a street of many nice charity shops - and saw a sign for a cafe.  It was my last chance.  Yes.  Last chance saloon.  Last fuel before the motorway!  No services on M25!  (It's been a while since I was on the M25.)  I would climb that hill, follow that street, go to that cafe.  Determination kicked in.  I needed a drink.  I needed a quieter place than a bus station.  And I needed it now.  Not for me a bottle of water from Tesco.  I would go to the cafe.

And what a cafe it was.  It was the end of their day so it was pretty much deserted.  There was no music playing inside.  The decor was just right.  The service was friendly.  The whole place was just what I needed at that moment.

For anyone tempted to follow our cafe visiting example, this is The Jumping Bean on Neville Street.  There are lots of good reviews hereThis is their Facebook page.

I bought myself a drink.  If I had one moan it would be this:  The cafe stocked several kinds of San Pellegrino fizzy drink.  But it didn't have the lemonade.  My favourite was missing!  Never mind, it's only a small place and can't stock every drink in the world.  I bought a can of one of their other drinks and sat down.  And breathed.  And surveyed the empty cafe in front of me:

A slight delay in blog posting there.  I typed these words above: A making of effort, when I can, to find the precious things.

As I continued to write I convicted myself.  There was something happening this afternoon, a kind of not-church church meeting that happens every month in the city centre.  I'd only ever been to it once before but get an email each month to tell me when it will be taking place and what the theme will be.  I'd been thinking of going but then today came and I decided that staying at home would be much easier.  And then my own words hit me.  Making of effort.  When I can.  Find the precious things.

So I went to it.  I'm glad I did.  Even not-church church can trigger me with that explicit belief in the words spoken and in the small amount of mostly belief free liturgy - made for the occasion - that there is a benevolent being out there, a sky-god ready to intervene in our lives.  But in that atmosphere I found I could just about cope with it and the people who are there each have their own manifestation of wonder.

Back to the memories of the cafe now.   The walls of the cafe were covered with art.  I guess that the display changes from time to time and maybe when I return there will be different art on display.  I used to go to a cafe in Newcastle that was like that - The Laughing Cat - and sometimes I would adore the art and sometimes I'd find it a lot more difficult.  It didn't matter much either way.

I really liked being in the cafe.  Blob Thing agreed to take a couple of pictures of me and I took some of Blob.  He's already blogged about it of course because he's far less behind with his blog than I am with my own.

Here's Blob - and one of the varieties of San Pellegrino that was in stock.  And some art and music books to browse.

A picture of the counter area.  It's only small.  But it's rather wonderful.

And another piece of art close to my seat.  This is the cathedral of course and I confess that I prefer the picture to the real thing.

Ecclesiastical Philistine!

Blob enjoyed himself at the cafe almost as much as I did.  We resolved that if we were in Durham again we could return to the cafe.  I think we should go soon with Winefride on a charity shop crawl.  We should be able to visit the shops of High Fell, Birtley and Chester-le-Street on the way.  Or perhaps we should plan a day in Durham and find some more surprises.  And Blob and I did return to the cafe another day.  On that day we had walked from Chester-le-Street along the River Wear and were very glad to sit outside the cafe on the quiet street.  I have another Chester-le-Street to Durham walk planned too, and this time we won't see the Wear until we reach Durham.  We have such a lot to look forward to.

This particular cafe has loyalty badges.  We bought the red badge for a pound.  It entitles us to ten percent off drinks forever more.  There's another more expensive badge that would entitle us to ten percent off all the food too.  Blob wore the badge with pride.  It's not just a good cafe.  It's a good badge.

And then it was time to go home.  Back to the bus station.  Catch a bus.  Pull out of the bus station.  Reach the end of the street.

At which point the bus broke down!

Catch a second bus.  Blob Thing was very pleased to look out of the window on the way home and see his old friend The Angel of The North.  The Angel had told him that he would have wonderful surprises and experiences.  This day out in Durham had more than its fair share of them.

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