Where to Write (WTW): Good places to write. Places I like to write or have written, from libraries to cafes to park benches starting in London and going further afield. Following recommendations, geographical convenience and my nose for good coffee and cake.
(St Katherine's Precinct, London/Saturday,12 midday on)
I checked the criteria (in no particular order):
- Accessibility: A community cafe and project within a stone's throw from St Katherine's docks for the marine folk and around the corner from the Number 15 Bus or Limehouse Station. All is at ground level for buggies and wheelchair users (apart from picnic tables on the incline outside). Open Monday to Sunday 9-5pm.
- Breath-ability: It's very airy with heaters for colder weather but depending where you sit inside, the sun may hit you making it uncomfortably hot when eating. Two areas inside for writing, with the reflective space being less busy. Loads of fresh air outside of course.
- Decor: As a Yurt should be, hessian flooring, round wooden latticed structure with material lining (see below).
- Furniture: An eclectic mix of converted boxes, crates and benches with up-cycled pieces and in the reflection area, white garden furniture (perhaps for ease of converting room to other uses but rather flimsy and unstable for writing and eating from ie. required readjusting with either a well placed foot or folded up leaflet to prevent movement/wobble). There are plenty of cushions for extra comfort.
- Music: A mix of languages and styles that fade into the background with the buzz of conversation and the trains passing overhead.
- Sockets: I didn't expect any but there were two within easy reach.
- Space: There was less room in the main tent where, movement around the room is restricted by the layout. The reflection area tent has a lot more space, with tables only around the edges and the centre space free.
- Service: One person takes the order and gives you a wooden spoon number in a bottle, even for just a couple of coffees which means waiting for longer than normal for your coffee. Perhaps this is to prevent spillage or because of the busy layout.
- Food: Good variety of sweet and savoury but all the menu isn't always shown. Great veggie brunch with sourdough bread, poached eggs, mushroom, tomato, bubble & squeak and beans (not ordinary baked beans but with a twist). The portion size was perfect and everything was cooked beautifully. The only gripe I have is that chopped parsley was sprinkled on as a garnish and I dislike raw parsley. Next time I will say 'hold the parsley', which I would have done this time had I known. Why do chefs do it anyway? I asked for what was on the menu. It didn't mention parsley. I didn't expect parsley. I got parsley. How is this OK? It is an ingredient I did not order. Do I have to say I don't want parsley? What else do I have to say that I don't want? I guess most people like parsley and it doesn't ruin their meal if they have it.
- Drink: Good Americanos, small but cup handles not disastrously small (and came with a mini chocolate egg). Water containers and glasses at far side of counter available for the table. The kind of place you can sit and write for hours for the price of a coffee.
- Wifi: Available but limited.
- Toilets: Available and clean.
- Guilt: A community space which tries to source food locally, is growing veg, pay staff a living wage, try to keep menu affordable with surpluses being reinvested into their community work. Zero guilt needed.
- Writing: The space is so unusual in a densely populated area of East London that it is like an little oasis of tranquility (apart from the trains passing by overhead).
- Creativity Rating: Overall 7/10 for writing. If the seats and tables didn't wobble so much it would have been higher (and if I'd not got parsley on my plate when I didn't order it).