The over-60s social scene at Caffè Nero continues to provide hours of entertainment and guess who’s in the thick of it…
Former regular Porridge-Loving Pensioner, once part of the fixtures and fittings, is now long gone, last seen shuffling off towards the local boozer.
Following ‘flowersgate‘ (in which he threw a bunch of flowers at Legs for refusing to take him to the hospital), there was another awkward showdown over some suits and shirts Malcolm had brought in for him (apparently Malcolm wanted some money for them but PLP kept making excuses). He hasn’t been sighted since.
Peter told me that Linda is a very shrewd antique dealer, who doesn’t take any prisoners. From what I’ve seen, I’d be inclined to agree. She used to regard me with suspicion as I chewed the fat with Peter and Malcolm.
Later, Peter told me that po-faced Linda is a naturally suspicious person but he said that now I’d cracked the ice, I’d be accepted.
‘Her bark is worse than he bite,’ he said.
He wasn’t wrong. The next day, Linda came charging over to me in a harried fashion, muttering something about her new iPad not working. I’m not sure what she wanted me to do so I smiled sympathetically as she patted me arm before charging off.
Apparently, she had bought some beautiful brogues many years ago that she couldn’t wear due to a problem with her foot and wondered if I’d like them.
I had to break the news to her that I have freakishly large feet (details here) so I wouldn’t be able to shoehorn my trotters into them. On news of this, she simply patted me on the arm again and charged off.
After his intense interest in our trip to Mallorca this summer, Malcolm went a bit quiet for a while. Peter told me that someone had insinuated to poor Malcolm that he was a bit of a pest. He had naturally upset him and he’d been sipping his cappuccino in solitude.
That all changed this week when Malcolm shuffled over in his fedora and asked if he could sit with me. We had a bit of a chat about his days in the Air Force in Egypt.
Malcolm has a wife who is virtually house-bound. His trip to Caffè Nero is his only trip out of the house all day.
‘If I didn’t have this, I might go potty,’ he said.
‘There was a woman with grey hair who I used to see every day heading to the Co-Op,’ he mused.
‘She told me that she only reasons she went shopping every day was that it was the only human contact she would have.
‘It’s not much fun getting old,’ he added, gazing contemplatively out of the window.
Fellow oldie Peter continues to regale me with tales of grief from deceased wife Brenda (there was a bit more sobbing the other day) while juggling the complexities of dating. The old devil has a potential three women on the go!
According to Peter, the dating rules aren’t much different for the over-60s than they are for teenagers. There’s a lot of text games going on.
One woman, I’ve nicknamed ‘Gates’, is game-playing to the extreme. Peter has to drive past her house in the evening and if the gates are open, he’s allowed in. If the gates are shut, it’s a Marks and Spencer’s meal for one back at home.
Peter keeps assuring me that he doesn’t want a replacement for Brenda, just some company. ‘Il companionata‘, as they say.
‘Linda says when it comes to dating, I’m not even in the junior school; I’m still in kindergarten,’ he said, wistfully.
But it seems Gates locked Peter out too many times because he’s now interested in someone else altogether – who he met right here in Caffè Nero.
‘My heart’s now elsewhere,’ said Peter, who only appears to converse in metaphors. ‘I never imagined anything after Brenda but lightning has struck and it’s like a bolt.
‘It’s a very complicated situation,’ he went on. ‘You’d think it would get easier in my twilight years but there’s a lot of emotional baggage.’
‘Don’t get in too deep,’ I said sagely.
‘It’s too late,’ lamented Peter. ‘My nostrils are only just out of the water.’