Diary: at the Waterstones Cafe

Scarlet Rowe 25 October 2021

It’s 9: 52 am and I find myself in Waterstones Cafe.

I love Waterstones Cafe, but I do not love the morning. The fact that I am even awake is, quite frankly, miraculous. It is a rare occasion when I am up before midday, and a particularly rare occasion when I am up before 10 am. Anyone who knows me will confirm this statement to be true.

Before you (don’t) ask, I did not choose to wake up at such a functional hour, I was woken up and, for once, couldn’t get back to sleep. So, since such a series of events has led me to being a somewhat functional person in Waterstones Cafe in the morning (which is terrifying) (emphasis intentionally added), I thought I’d start the day by writing an article so that I feel productive, but actually further procrastinate the start of work.

I am a big fan of Waterstones Cafe. Spending money on arguably overpriced coffee and hot chocolate for the *vibes* is something that I can fully support. I also learnt just yesterday that if you buy an English Breakfast tea for £2. 30 (if you are one for the details), then you will be given a deceptively small looking teapot that, remarkably, contains four whole cups of tea. Granted, the cup size is quite small, but that makes getting to the end of each cup oddly satisfying and dangerously addictive. In my case, it also gives me an excuse to have four sachets of sugar, as opposed to one, which is of course very unhealthy, but nevertheless enjoyable and sweet. While I am on the topic of drink, I may as well transition to the topic of food.  This morning (yes, you read that right, I am awake in the morning), I ordered a pain au chocolat from the cafe. It was large and tempting looking and hidden away in a sea of croissants, and I thought that since I am up at such an hour, I may as well secure nourishment to get me through the pain. While the pain au chocolat started off promisingly, things quickly took a turn for the worse, as I discovered that it only contained chocolate in the left hand side. Yes, you read that right. No, I don’t know what to say either.

(Takes a deep breath, before bravely and stoically continuing to type.)

This painful and shocking fact, understandably, left me feeling desolate and bewildered, as, in my opinion at least, the least that £2. 70 pain au chocolats can do is fulfil their job description, and contain chocolate on the left and right hand side. However, I will add that all hope is not lost. I enjoyed my cappuccino greatly, as I was in desperate need of a caffeine boost to stop me from falling asleep in public, and it did the job perfectly. Despite the somewhat traumatic experience with the pain au chocolat, it is now 10:14 am, and I am really warming up to the day. I am, most importantly, still awake. All thanks for this unusual state of affairs are owed to the aforementioned cappuccino.

Unlike the food, the atmosphere of Waterstones cafe can always be relied upon to be cosy and pleasant. Benefits include the fact that it makes me feel like I am bookish person even though, in reality, I am alternating my time between stringing this article together and checking my Facebook feed. As it stands, the cafe is still strangely quiet, as I usually rock up at about 2 pm when it is in its prime of life and I am lucky to find even one table free. There are perks to this calm, however, such as the fact that if I choose to work, I will actually be able to concentrate. In addition to this, the coffee machine is not screeching every two minutes which is a welcome break from the norm. Although I understand coffee is part of the essence of life, the coffee machine can get a bit much when I am really trying to immerse myself in Taylor Swift’s Folklore Album but then keep getting reminded that no, despite my best efforts, I am not a witch in an ancient forest. Far from it, I am a student in Waterstones Cafe pretending my work doesn’t exist on day four of term. Sometimes “expectations” versus “reality” can be too hard-hitting for my liking, and this is one of those times.

In other news, then, I have just glanced up from my laptop and noticed various house plants scattered around the cafe, which add a nice ambience to the place. Unsurprisingly, I’m not one for houseplants myself, being incapable of taking the responsibility to look after them, but I appreciate it when other people are, even though, on second thoughts, these houseplants are probably fake. I had a conversation with a friend the other day who is vehemently against fake house plants and flowers, and I am wondering if this is a controversial topic? I’ll admit that I have recently and unashamedly purchased some very fake and non-authentic looking pink flowers from Home Bargains on my back- to-uni-shop which I always get carried away with. And before you tell me, yes, I know, I am getting to that classic point in the article where I have completely gone off the relevant topic which is really, in short, to tell you to come to Waterstones Cafe if you haven’t already. Despite its one-sided pain au chocolat flaws, it is still a great place. However, I will leave you with a warning note, which is that if you take up all the seats by the windows, I will not be pleased at all.