Margaret and I work together, although our circumstances mean that neither of us is in school at the moment so it was a real pleasure to have the opportunity to catch up. EFL attracts all sorts, but one common theme is to use the job as a means to travel. Margaret is definitely a traveller – she’s been everywhere. Since we met just five years ago, she’s worked in Korea and visited South America and Hong Kong.
Self effacing and modest as ever, Margaret never seems to make any big deal of her experiences, but she’s always good for interesting information and entertaining facts about places I’ve never been and sometimes never heard of. Today’s golden nugget was that Japanese uses ‘counter’ words in addition to numbers which must be included whenever you talk about a number of items. The nearest parallel in English would be a word like ‘loaves’ – we say I bought three loaves of bread, not I bought three breads. In Japanese, you have to use a counter word every time you use a number and there are lots of different ones. Most counter catergories are straightforward, for example ‘long, thin things’ includes rivers, roads and railways lines. But what entertained Margaret and I is that some things are not quite so obvious, for example pencils are included in the rivers and roads category. Best of all is that there is a counter category for ‘small, green things and rabbits‘. Rabbits? Really?
The menu in this cafe, along with its sisters in Langland and Caswell, is a joy. It really isn’t that long since a cup of decent coffee and any food other than candy floss or chips wasn’t an option on the beach, but since the advent of these three lovely little cafes, that’s all changed. The coffee is good, and there is a nice variety of paninis, bagels and burgers. I had some ciabatta, olives, goats cheese, and a bowl of balsamic reduction and olive oil for dipping. Delicious and a bargain at £4.95. Margaret’s panini looked good, as did the mountain of chips she was given as a side dish.
The cafes tend to be staffed with young people, surfers maybe? This means that service can vary, I have wondered in the past if the two kids behind the counter wouldn’t just be better off leaving work and getting a room, but the boy who was working in Rotherslade on this day was charming and very efficient.
7 January 2015
Rotherslade Bay Cafe
Margaret was fine with meeting anywhere local but specified that we should have a view of the sea. I picked Rotherslade Bay Cafe as I know that in the summer, she likes to spend as much time as possible on the beach here. It’s a nice walk here from Mumbles but in the event, it was so stormy that it was a struggle to walk from the car park so I drove. Margaret is made of sterner stuff and had walked along the cliff path from her home in Mumbles. She is very fit, she walks or cycles everywhere. She also does yoga and suggested it might be a solution to an incipient back problem that one of my children seems to be developing. I’d never given it much thought, but when she mentioned it, I realised that Margaret has excellent posture, she looks like a dancer.
The cafe wasn’t empty despite the dreadful weather. The surf was good and I suspect some of the customers might have been reluctant surfers or possibly the friend or partner of a surfer. There were a number of people out on the water and more of us in the cafe looking on in wonderment. Margaret and I agreed that while we both love swimming, the sea and the beach, we are both just too scared to surf. The sea looked magnificent and, in the same way as a real fire, endlessly fascinating to watch. The Rotherslade Bay cafe has an excellent view but it also has a log burner, so I could have happily stayed there all day looking out of the window or at the fire.
We both swim in the National Pool and we both cycle, although Margaret cycles far more than me as it is her main mode of transport. She showed me a very impressive bruise which she had got while cycling along the track one morning when a runner who was wearing headphones had turned into her path and knocked them both over. She didn’t seem to be angry with him but was quite alarmed at how much her arm had swollen up. An x-ray proved that it was, as the A&E doctor put it ‘just a bruise’. It looked more like a blue and black tennis ball.