Thursday, 21 January 2016

Coffee, Journal and Small Business

Around 18 months ago, we were delighted when five new businesses launched in Margate, not only because they removed empty premises from the High Street but, because they were potential coffee places too.

The first, in a former pub, took our coffee order and when I enquired after 20 minutes waiting were told they had forgotten us and 'gone upstairs'. God knows how, but the joint is still trading and has morphed into an entertainment and dance venue. We have not been inside since our first visit.

The next was a Balkan Restaurant, it was empty and mid morning when we asked for coffee. There were no English speaking staff but we did eventually get half a cup of lukewarm liquid that tasted of sterilising fluid. We left, never to return.

Almost next door was a boutique hotel with pretension. Despite the A-Board advertising morning coffee we were told that there was nobody there who knew how to work the coffee machine.

The 4th was branded as a 'chocolate bar' which is just as well as they served rhe second worst coffee we ever had in our home town.

And finally to Bentleys where we have returned every week for morning coffee and the occasional meal.
Bentley's High Street Margate

Let's figure. I reckon we've spent around £500 there since they opened. Sure it isn't a fortune and it is not all profit but the point is that the other four joints could've shared it. Could've. Should've. Didn't.

We have a soft spot for small business as we owned an hotel in Ramsgate in the 70's and a shop in Broadstairs in the '80s. Sharp eyed readers will see that I have added Baum-Kuchen and Wonder Pens to my list of favourite blogs. Take a look and you'll see why I can identify with them. As for La Vie Graphite ... I've been an avid reader there for some time because he is always entertaining, sometimes a bit heavy, clearly more clever than I could ever be and writes on a variety of topics.

And so to ,,, Journal of the Month,
Sometimes the only obvious difference between a notebook and a journal is the price.

After plating with various high-end brands like Midori Travelers Notebook, Paperblanks and Moleskines, I was delighted to discover something new to me at around $6.50 US or £7.00 in UK

May I introduce the Write Now series produced by Compendium Inc of Seattle?  I haven't seen them on retail here in Kent but Amazon can offer a small selection from the 41 versions that I have so far detected. They do seem to slip in and out of print from time to time and it is always worth checking the 'used' options where, even from the USA, postage is modest and delivery takes around a week.

The 120 or so pages which are fine ruled and feel about 80gsm are divided by eight double sided illustrations to help keep you awake, or focused, or to divide your entries by time or topic.

The flexible card covers are textured and, to me, the whole thing just feels right somehow.

And so to a final coffee stop which is more like an old-fashioned works canteen. It is in The Range at Westwood and although the ambience is missing it is preferable to the Harris & Hoole coffee shop in our local Tesco where words failed us on our only visit for coffee - how on earth can an outfit like that ever get a franchise like that? So we happily walk along the road past a few other units to The Range.

The Range snack bar at Westwood
Thanks for stopping by, please come back soon.