The following article has made me thing about my membership of the coffee club.
Everyday I used to drop into my local coffee shop for a coffee before work. It gave me time to spend a few minutes scribbling a few notes/pages of the next novel. The same faces would be there every morning and smiles turned into hellos turned into conversations turned into friendships. The Costa Club.
These days conversation often replaces quiet writing and I wouldn’t change it. After all isn’t the spoken word just as important as the written word?
The article comes from the BBC News website.
If you were lonely, would you talk to a stranger?
If you were lonely, would you go into a cafe and sit down for a chat with a complete stranger?
That’s the idea behind the “talking tables” initiative.
Sainsburys supermarket has designated some tables in its cafes as places where you can have a conversation with a stranger instead of sitting alone and feeling isolated.
It comes as the government launches its “loneliness strategy“.
But what’s really revealing is to hear what shopworkers see of the loneliness of their customers.
There are about 20 Sainsbury’s cafes piloting the “talking tables” idea, including the branch in Fulham, west London.
Edward Collet, who works on the welcome desk, sees people every day who come to the supermarket for company as much as for shopping.
He says some are bereaved husbands who relied on the social networking skills of their wives and are now trapped in “solitary lives”.
They don’t want to be “stigmatised” as lonely, he says, and might crave company, but don’t feel able to ask for it.
Edward says they come up to the information desk for a chat about shopping – or even call up the helpline.
He sees shoppers who will wait until they can be served by a particular check-out assistant, because they see them as friends and this is a moment when they can swap a few words.
It’s their chance for some human interaction.
There are also young mothers, cut off from the adult company of work, who, Edward says, can seem quite angry, which he puts down to their feelings of isolation.
With so many public places closing, whether it’s post offices, libraries, churches or pubs, he says, the supermarket has become one of the last places people can still meet and feel safe.
He sees those at risk of chronic isolation – where people lose contact with the outside world and “basically die inside their houses”.