I love bookshops and I love cafés so it’s great when the two are combined. I had some Christmas cards to address and post, and decided to sit and have a coffee or two while I organised my post. The café and the bookshop were very busy, and there was a bustle of noise and lots of voices – chatty people behind the counter, a family deciding what to eat and drink, a Greek lady talking to a friend’s little boy who answered shyly and hesitantly in Greek, loud voices, laughter, happy people…

Suddenly “Wah!” a baby screeched in the annoying way babies have, at the perfect pitch to pierce your ears if they aren’t already pierced… Well, OK, I thought, be patient, babies are people too, they can contribute to the general babble of voices…

“Wah!” and then “WAH!” a woman replied louder than the baby. “Wah!” – “WAH!!

Good grief, surely this wasn’t going to continue? “Wah!” “WAH!!!”

“Wail wail!” “WAIL!! WAIL!!”


I looked over my shoulder and squinted between the displays of calendars, and there was a woman probably of about forty-ish, with a baby who looked about one and a half squirming in her arms. I don’t know if it was her child, I guessed though that she was looking after it for someone else, her daughter maybe…

Oh well… I carried on drinking my coffee and writing addresses as the racket continued from behind me, this dialogue, if you can call it that, continued between baby and woman. The baby was becoming more and more excited and so was the woman.

Maybe I was feeling a little intolerant, there’s a lot to organise and as I am so very good at being absent-minded and forgetful and at getting distracted, and it all was making me feel… not exactly stressed, but certainly not quite my usual laid back tolerant self. To be fair, I did notice other people looking over towards the woman so it wasn’t just me who was finding her a little inconsiderate.

I have to confess that by the time I gathered my things and headed into the book part, my head was ringing, and I was sufficiently distracted to forget what I wanted to look for…

Oh well, I’ll just have to go back to the bookshop again and maybe have a more peaceful cup or two of coffee! ‘Tis the season to be merry and all that!

And here is a different sort of WAH!


  1. Isabel Lunn

    If you like bookshops and teashops next time you come up to the Manchester area you must visit “The Art of Tea” in Didsbury village. Tea shop at the front and second-hand bookshop behind. What better combination?

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Isabel Lunn

    Dear Lois,
    I had a simillar experience in a café a couple of days ago. I’d gone to lunch with Michael’s brother and his wife in a little café in Chinley where they live. We’d been enjoying our lunch and chat, catching up with news when two couples came in with associated children – a screaming baby. and 3 little ones ranging from about 2to 4 years old. The baby’s pram was wedged into the back of my chair and the toddlers began to run around the fairly confined space whooping. Conversation became impossible. I mouthe to Bob and Marian that I could do without the row. They laughed and said, “You’re all the same you ex-teachers, you don’t like it when you can’t control the situation” Well, maybe, but I find it anti-social when people let their children run amok, disregarding the comfort of others. Call me a grumpy old woman, but in a public place surely this kind of thing is inconsiderate?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lois

      I agree so much! And I don’t think it is an age thing I think as you say it’s about being considerate to others. It’s as if their conversation with each other has priority over yours, they are child-free to chat while their children are beyond irritating to everyone else! Did you see a café owner in London has banned underfives? Good for her! she said it was actually dangerous to be serving hot drinks and hot food with prams, buggies and free-range children.
      I did see some great parenting in the summer; we were meeting a friend at a pub, sitting outside, and a dad, two children and grandma arrived. They all sat down with drinks, then lunch was brought and the little girl, about five, began to make a fuss, shouting and being rude and silly. Dad immediately stood up, picked her up and walked away with her, leaving grandma and boy – and us – to enjoy our lunch. He returned ten minutes later with a quiet little girl, who sat down with her family and happily settled down to her sausages or whatever it was. As we left, our friend congratulated the man on his children – but really he was congratulating him!


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