As a newcomer to Southsea, I have spent the last year discovering some excellent spots for creative writing. A lover of coffee and all things calorific I am often seen in its excellent coffee shops which offer great views of the sea (The Coffee Cup Eastney Esplanade and the Beach Cafe), fab sofas (The Garage Lounge, Albert Road), great cakes (The Ninth Hole) and even some records I actually remember (Pie and Vinyl, Castle Street).
Coming from leafy Hertfordshire I was concerned I would miss the rolling hills and pretty villages but the somewhat eccentric but always friendly characters here on the South Coast have more than made up for that. I’m not sure if it’s because it’s a port and holiday destination but if you sit for more than five minutes or wait in a queue for a bus, just about everyone chats to you. This has given me some wonderful material for characters and dialogue.
Mind you I have had to deal with some collateral damage along the way. Staring at the rolling sea is not a good idea when carrying a tray of coffees and danish pastries to the comfy but very low Directors’ chairs at the Coffee Cup. I failed to see the step down on the beautiful new decking and ended up spreadeagled across the floor wearing my Apple Danish delights and sporting some unusal coffee-coloured downlights in my hair. Several people, including the staff rushed to my aid and a fresh order was produced without fuss. After finishing, I grabbed my oversized shopping bag to hide the embarassing stains and hobbled down the esplanade homeward bound.
On the other hand, I have also found real gold in them there hills, or more precisely, Debenhams café. As I set my tray down and prepared to get my notebook out, I noticed something sparkly under the menu. An impressive gold ring with a stone to die for. My imagination went into overdrive. Was this a rejected suitor? I could almost see the distraught boy sobbing into his soup of the day. Or could there be a stick-thin fiancee trailing through the kitchen department looking for gadgets to liquidise her latest batch of mung beans and tofu? I ran to the counter and handed the lost ring in much to the surprise of the till staff. I pointed several times to my table so they would recognise any distressed owners that happened to return.
Despite putting on about a stone in weight since I moved, its been a discovery of delight. Southsea has given me a renewed enthusiasm for writing and I still have plenty of venues to try.
Anyone for another muffin?