There are colder, more windswept and deserted places on Earth than Marine Parade, Gorleston-On-Sea in the depth of winter. But this was Easter Sunday and brave vitamin D-less souls were fed up of snow, patronising weather forecasters and the possibility of being eaten by polar bears - so were venturing out because by golly we're British. And the British like both tea and value for money.
We were lucky to bag a table as the place was full. This could well be because once the wind has made a reasonable attempt at ripping your face off, what you need is shelter and anything warm. A pot of tea and a cappuccino did the trick for the adults and a banana milkshake for the grandson to whom failure in the face of adversity was not an option.
As I sipped and the colour returned to my cheeks, people watching took over. On one table was a retired couple facing each other with the Sunday papers spread before them taking their time. She was blonde with make-up immaculate. He a tad dishevelled and un-shaved. Perhaps she liked that.
I also watched the staff. Cleaning the equipment. A small, young team that didn't seem to need telling the microwave should be cleaned inside and out and the toilets should have soap in the dispensers. Basic stuff you might say, but this is a small, busy sea-front cafe where it would be easy to miss the essentials.
I liked the background music not too loud. The pictures on the wall tastefully sea-sufficient and the general air of all being well in the world when it isn't. That's what comes of reading the Sunday papers.
Sufficiently revived, we re-donned thermals and after advice about frost-bite from a guy with a beard that wasn't Ranulph Fiennes, we headed out of our oasis of warmth and buttered tea-cakes onto the prom. I told the girl on the desk that we may be some time. She looked as confused as Captain Scott would have as he watched his friend walk into the blizzard.
This is a little gem. They run it properly and it would be easy not to as the general standard of sea-side cafes in the UK is appalling. It's a refreshing change to find a diamond in the rough. A polar opposite you might say.
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