Serene. Look it up in the dictionary and it will tell you it means “clear and calm, placid and unperturbed.” This is a broad description of my dining room. It may seem simplistic, but when it’s not overrun with people; eating and drinking, doing homework or arguing, it is an extremely calm place. I think it is here where I can sit and read, sometimes write and feel at ease. This room signifies a lot of what I have achieved. My wife and partner of 18 years, our children who have grown up so far and continue to do so. They are all here when I sit and think, perhaps not physically, but it is only momentary. They will return today from work and school respectively.
This room is not much to look at, aesthetically unfinished. But it is completely full of memories; Good and bad, happy and sad. Lyrical phrases like “Silence is golden” come to mind, but they’re right. My eyes do see.
“Four-oh-Seven!” The eastern European waitress shouts for the third time. It is not unusual for this to be the case at the little known portacabin secreted at the back of a disused petrol station in Waterloo. The number refers to a the raffle ticket we customers are issued when we make our order for food. This cafe, approximately 30 metres by 15, is busy most days of the week. Filled with London cab drivers, who whilst earning a crust will stop to eat one. The hustle and bustle starts in the kitchen with staff sharing jokes with the regulars. They, the regulars, then take their seats alongside their pals. Conversations are frenetic and often revolve around fares of interest, family tales and, inevitably, the ridicule of each other. All done with a rye smile and knowing look.
The cacophony of noise is elevated further by when viewing the TV screens that show rolling sports coverage. Expletives pepper the air, but this is to be expected when the subjects of derision and triumph are teams that have been lifelong obsessions for the patrons. The food is good, the sporting results not always so, but the sense of kinship is palpable, without fail.