Mad Susan’s Fury

24HourCoffeePeople is a bustling coffee shop on the outskirts of London: this blog shares moments where caffeine isn’t the main event but the people who visit or work there really are.

I bumped into Mad Susan at the local petshop. She was seething, surrounded by jumbo bags of dog food that she couldn’t possibly carry a)to the till or b)to the car. With no staff around to help her she was totally stranded by the rabbit enclosure. As we hefted her bags of kibble toward the cash registers, she began a tirade of fury towards Feargal whose 7 dogs were somewhat hungry. Having spent the week in the country with her teenage children, Feargal had the run of the London house. She’s come back to a whiskey bottle strewn bomb site and no food for kids or dogs. ‘To be honest, I just don’t like people,’ she said. I know how she feels. She did however, shed light on where quiet Elizabeth is. In Hong Kong.

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Bloody Sunday

24HourCoffeePeople is a bustling coffee shop on the outskirts of London: this blog shares moments where caffeine isn’t the main event but the people who visit or work there really are.

The usual jostling for the seats by the window was interupted by Fabian slicing his hand while trying to halve a panini. Those wretched sandwiches are the bane of his life. Unusually, Kelv was absent, so it was left to Paulette and I to mop him up and cover his hand with woefully small blue plasters. The panini looked like an eviscerated internal organ, and the recipient was so put off that he declined a replacement and opted for a lemon drizzle muffin with no gory connotations. the male coffeemates are always thrilled when Paulette swings in.

Paulette’s got jet black hair, huge, brown sexy eyes that she rims with black khol and perfectly slender but curvaceous figure with long, lean legs. However, keeping in such fabulous shape requires her, apparantly, to wear the tightest possible yoga leggings that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination. On some days you can even see the curl of her pubic hair. The boys are agog. Mad Susan and Kate think ‘someone should have a word’ – I say leave her to it! She’s a recent divorcee and is truly boosted by the unexpected level of male attention and interest in her general fitness regime. Graham is trying to organise a ‘sociable jogging session’ for the two of them around the park, but we feel his intentions are less than honorable.

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Xena’s Hat

24HourCoffeePeople is a bustling coffee shop on the outskirts of London: this blog shares moments where caffeine isn’t the main event but the people who visit or work there really are.

On the breakfast news today, there was a story about a UFO bumping into a wind turbine. If they’d said that aliens had landed in the village, I’d be more inclined to believe it, as Xena, with her beautiful, round face and almond Chinese eyes was wearing the strangest ever hat. A slouchy, silver knitted affair dotted with sequins, it hugged the contours of her forehead and cheeks but flopped empty at the back. Xena looked like an extra from ET. I just – thankfully – missed Guy so there was no lip dodging to be done.

Mad Susan has taken to her country residence until next week; and I haven’t seen quiet Elizabeth for at least two weeks. Immaculately dressed – often in hand sewn clothes – Elizabeth just misses looking stylish. In conversation, always thoughtful and measured, she just misses being amusing. In kindness, however, she’s is always on target. There’s an intangible essence about her – and I think it’s chronic shyness – that always stops her short of her target. She wants to be like the rest of the coffeemates; loud, unselfconscious and pretentiously dramatic at any opportunity, but instead she almost disappears when we are all together. She’s very drawn to Mad Susan and lavishes her with presents. Mad Susan, who has taken to ‘regifting’ as her credit crunch measure is thrilled and doesn’t see at all that gifts from Elizabeth are so full of meaning and warmth that to pass them on is nothing short of criminal.

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Cat News

Disappointingly, the cat drama has come to nothing. Everyone gathered yesterday at the court house for the most epic of feline battles, but it turns out that Leona had forgotten to pay the court fees, so the case couldn’t be heard. Milo is guiltily delighted that if Leona wants to pursue her cat further, it will cost her not only a new set of air fares, but also her already battered pride. She told him yesterday that she has 12 cats in Italy and he is welcome to one of those in exchange for the one residing with him and his girlfriend.

Only Guy, and unusually for a working day, his wife Lucinda, were in this morning. Lucinda is a South African who has made her home here – and proudly went through the Citizenship ceremony a few months back to legalise it all. Outwardly, she’s Mrs Laid-Back; all smiles and greetings, but underneath the glamour (blonde, peachy skinned and a perfect 10), she’s ridden with crippling jealousy that leaves her believing that every woman at 24hour is secretly harbouring feelings for Guy. Any eye contact with Guy in her presence brings on a tirade about how ‘difficult it is to be the wife of such a good looking man; even the vicar oggles his bum’. I’m always on the verge of telling her that Guy looks like a 14 year old boy with the body of a 50 year old man, and the sight of him in his cycling lycra brings on feelings so far removed from lust that they could be categorised as clinical revulsion. But, I suspect she’d see my protestations as guilt, and the last thing I need is another stalker.

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Fabian Alone

24HourCoffeePeople is a bustling coffee shop on the outskirts of London: this blog shares moments where caffeine isn’t the main event but the people who visit or work there really are.

This morning, Fabian was flying solo, in charge of both the industrial coffee machine and the till. With Milo’s court appearance over the ‘case of the cat confusion’ with Leona, almost all the other staff, and several customers were all called as witnesses (by Leona). As nobody is likely to speak against Milo as they all adore his coffee, I feel Leona is on a very sticky wicket. Even though Xena told Leona she did not want to give evidence against Milo, Leona had her officially called anyway. Leona doesn’t let a small thing like unwillingness stand in the way of justice.

Pressed from his usual languid approach to working life, Fabian was practically juggling to get money in, hot beverages out. Sitting at the staff table nearest the counter, was Kelv, Fabian’s boyfriend, looking on at the mayhem. He often does this; just watches, quietly from the corner, wrapped in a tartan scarf and heavy overcoat. He’s much older than Fabian and works in care homes for unruly children. He had a massive heart attack last year which very nearly killed him, and since then, he has elevated from being a quiet but constant presence in the corner to a nearly-coffee-mate. Because we all adore Fabian, Kelv gets the love too.

Fabian’s sister and father died last year – of unrelated causes; his sister suffered massive kidney failure, while his dad just dropped stone dead on the way back from a holiday in Wales. For someone so fragile, Fabian dealt with these horrible blows with a fortitude that none of us suspected he could possibly possess. But, when he had to recussitate his lover on a cold, dark pavement outside a bustling London restaurant, he disappeared into a tailspin of violent depression and it took him a long time to regain a semblence of his former self. Caring for Kelv left him tired, pale, emotional and thin, but allowed us to see past his scathing sarcasm and endless disgusted eye-rolling if you wanted a panini heating up. It’s why we don’t insist he retakes the Customer Service For Beginners Level 1 course.

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Get Off Me, Guy

24HourCoffeePeople is a bustling coffee shop on the outskirts of London: this blog shares moments where caffeine isn’t the main event but the people who visit or work there really are.

With the cat court case looming tomorrow, Milo is full of nervous energy which he is clearly dissipating by offloading his excess emotions into frantic milk frothing , producing fat and overly fluffy cappuchinos that slop over the sides of the cup. Guy, never one to miss a moment of internal gossip, gives Milo manly slaps of encouragement on the back which causes an already precarious tower of froth to fall in clouds over Milo’s shoes. Guy is a keen Facebooker and also works as a singing monk for a German variety act. They are so popular in Germany that he spends almost the entire month of December over there entertaining audiences with jazzed up chants. There is apparantly also some flame throwing involved. Guy likes to kiss his coffee mates by way of a greeting – they are wet, featherweight efforts – one on either cheek. This morning I broke the news that I am not a kisser unless abroad where it is just too complicated to explain about personal space and friends randomly launching themselves at me, which never fails to give me a fright. He wasn’t happy that his sophisticated continental greeting method was spurned.

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Mad Susan

24HourCoffeePeople is a bustling coffee shop on the outskirts of London: this blog shares moments where caffeine isn’t the main event but the people who visit or work there really are.

I call Susan ‘mad’, not because she is deranged in any way, but because she is so frenetic. With the lungs of a free-diver, she’s able to hold conversation – or rather, give conversation – without appearing ever to draw breath. I find myself inwardly pleading for her to breathe before she falls straight off her stool or faints face first into her extra large cup of cappuccino. With a past in handbags, Mad Susan’s hands are adorned with rocks the size of comets as a legacy of her divorce. She’s now partnered up with Fergal-Seven-Dogs, a bear of an Irishman with seven unruly dogs and an unpredictable temper. He’s a doll to me, but his habit of randomly smacking Mad Susan’s gay friends after a whiskey or two is a constant reminder to stay on his even side. Mad Susan can talk and text at the same time. She prefers Milo’s coffee to anyone else’s and has a maternal soft spot for willowy Fabian. But then, we all do.

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