Motorway Madness, or Coffee Calamity . . .

I am fed up to the back teeth with coffee in cafes !

You are ?

Yes I am. Totally fed up.

What’s brought this on all of a sudden ?

The Lunchbox.

That nice little place ? Usually very good. Whatever did they do wrong ?

I went in for a coffee and a piece of flapjack . . .

Mmmmmmmm . . . lovely . . .

. . . and the girl had all the cups lined up, in their saucers, with the coffee in the bottom of the cup and she shot the hot water in, asked me if I wanted milk, gave me a plate with the flapjack – and that was it !

Sounds excellent to me.

But it wasn’t. It took longer to pay than it did to make the coffee.

Sorry, you’ve lost me.

Coffee making is like writing a paragraph of fine prose, like composing verse, like a theatrical performance.
(Arm waving.)
It should have drama, spectacle, noise, expectation, anticipation. The customer should watch, should participate, should be enthralled. I cannot put it better than that, I am too overcome with emotion.
(Puts his head on his folded arms on the table, and sobs uncontrollably).

Crumbs ! You’re sure you’re all right ?

Doh, I ab dot alright.

– – – – –

Some weeks pass . . .

– – – – –

I’ve done it !!

Er, done what ?

Invented the new coffee making machine !

Oh ! Er ? Did we need one ? Oh. Oh. Yes. Sorry. We did didn’t we – too quick – no drama and all that ?

This beeeautiful machine makes coffee like you have never tasted before.

Good. Wonderful. Um. Can we try it, or isn’t it ready yet ?

It is in my garage, come with me.

– – – – –

My word what a complicated affair. You’ll have a job getting that on a counter !

This is just the apparatus ! When it is all encased in chromium and plastic it will look bellissimo.

(Gets out coffee jar and starts work . . . )

– – – – –

Seems a bit of a long job ?

Ah ! but if you want good coffee you have to . . .

. . . have a bit of drama. Yes, I see.

– – – – –

(Hissing. Steam. Banging noises, . . . )

– – – – –

There ! Try that !

Not bad. Not bad. I think you may be on to something . . . Could perhaps be speeded up a bit when you get to the production model ?

NO. NO. Never! For good coffee you need drama, theatre, spectacle . .

. . . and noise, expectation, anticipation. Yes. Yes. I remember. Well, they’ll certainly get all that won’t they ?

* * * * *

And so, ladies and gentlemen the Costa coffee machine hit the world and we have all been queueing forever ever since.

(Except that some of us go to W H Smith and get a diet Coke ‘cos it’s quicker.)

Costa Coffee Machine

About The Author

Born 9 December 1933. Former Royal Air Force person. Retired Church of England Clergyman. Father. Grandfather, and now, Great Grandfather. Citizen of Europe and Fervent Remainer. Thinks that Members of Parliament and especially Ministers of the Crown, who lie to Parliament should be brought before a public tribunal where the evidence can be heard, and examined, and suitable penalties awarded.
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