She’s Got a Ticket to Ryde (but didn’t quite make it).

One of my most favourite things is sitting in cafés on my tod, drinking coffee, pondering and scribbling in my little notebook. Sometimes I even throw in lunch! Today, I did just that. After an abortive attempt to take the train into Ryde, I ended up in Sandown in one of my regular café haunts, watching the world go by. I love these suspended moments when all I have to do is think. I love trains and buses for the same reason.

Today the windows of the café were clouded with steam; I watched the world passing through the odd patch of clear glass that remained and felt myself easing and slowing into that dreamy state, wondering why anyone would want to deny themselves this simple pleasure.

A very lively group of Welsh ladies came in. The great thing about living in Sandown is that the holiday makers keep coming all year round. In winter, coach upon coach of OAPs arrive and depart, and these ladies were some of this weeks visitors. There is something rather wonderful about constantly being around those on holiday. Folks who are taking time out of their ordinary lives – finding a place to be themselves – are generally a pretty joyful bunch to encounter. There is something incredibly infectious about happiness and the Welsh ladies had it in trumps! They fell through the door like a bunch of giggling school girls; one of them had just walked into a post, despite the fact – they told me – that this post had red and white ribbons tied around it and was ridiculously easy to see! They sat examining the bump on her forehead, cracking jokes and setting each other off into fits of giggles. Their ease with each other, and the joy they so obviously experienced by being together, was lovely. The café hummed with their presence.

I love this coming and going of humanity in cafes; of sitting and finding oneself a part of an ever shifting and changing scene. I find it a great way of ordering my thoughts and getting those creative juices flowing again. I feel incredible settled and at home in myself in those moments. You can be feeling blue and another’s happiness will feed and lift you; it’s one of those magical things that humans do for each other, often without even being aware that they have. My friend Tracey and I were recently talking about how people’s faces are transformed when they smile or laugh; lost in thought, faces can often look so serious or sad. When you smile at someone and they return that smile, it is amazing how beautiful a face becomes, regardless of age or sex. Much is said about anti- aging creams but joy on a face is an instant facelift; laughter takes years off.

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