gilest.org

In Mr Salvat's coffee room

One of the wonderful things about working freelance in a nice town in the west country is that I can take my laptop to a cafe to work.

So what, you say, I can do that in London. You can, yes, and the cafe in London will have wifi and be bustling and near the Tube and close to all the media contacts and editors anyone could wish for. But it wouldn't be the same as my location this morning; nothing could be.

I'm working in Mr Salvat's Coffee Room. It's a replica of a real 17th-century coffee room, located in a 17th-century building that was once a trader's mansion. The coffee room is just a room, with small seating nooks divided up for all the world like an office cube farm. On each table is a menu and a fresh cut flower. In the background, authentic 17th-century music plays from a less than authentic speaker mounted flush with the ceiling.

The waiter/owner enters wearing stockings and a suitably 17th-century shirt. He says: "Good day to you, sir," and writes down my order with a feather quill.

There is a real fire warming the room. I'm sitting next to it as I type and I'm roasting.

It's probably intended for tourists but what a wonderful place to come and work or read a newspaper. The house blend pot of tea is delicious and a bargain at UKP1.25 - cheaper than the crappy teabag-in-a-cup efforts you get at most smart coffee shops on most high streets.

There's no wifi. Mine is the only iBook in the establishment.

(25th February 2004)