I realise there’s not been much of an update on the Caffè Nero soap opera for a while.
In all honesty, it’s been pretty quiet: Porridge-Loving Pensioner is long gone, sadly. I suspect he might have been carted off to an Old People’s Home and I doubt we’ll ever see him again.
Weepy Widower Peter is still moping around and is even more forlorn than usual, after being dumped by his wholly-unsuitable love interest. Peter spends a lot of time lamenting his lost love, banging his fist on the table and saying, ‘I’ve been a damn fool.’
I don’t like to tell him that the 30-year age gap might have been a problem.
‘Back in the day, I was Cock Robin,’ he told me. ‘I had a 50 inch chest and 18in biceps.’
Peter believes that the reason for being dumped is that his love interest already has a boyfriend, who according to Peter is a controlling psychopath.
‘He’s a bad bastard,’ Pete told me. ‘I can sniff out a rotter a mile away.
‘The problem is she’s being controlled by that man. All these women are. I know because I watched a programme on Panorama about it.’
In the background, Loopy Linda is still stomping around, tutting at small children and falling out with Peter (‘he’s a petulant child’). She has also developed a fixation with the fact I’m from Lancashire, where she spends a lot of time dealing her antiques.
Yesterday, she came up to me and said, ‘I was in Last Drop Village yesterday and I thought of you.’
I stared blankly at her for a moment as she stood smiling at me intently, awaiting some acknowledgement of this.
‘Ah, Last Drop Village,’ I said, weakly. ‘I only know it vaguely.’
‘Well, it was a complete dump,’ she said savagely and turned on her heel.
Enter Mad Malcolm stage left, resplendent in his best suit. Malcolm has been schmoozing with a younger woman, who he sips lattes with. I think this is a bit dodgy, given that he has an ailing wife cooped up at home.
‘Malcolm thinks he’s the oracle,’ observed Peter bitterly. ‘He rocks up in his flashy overcoat. It’s all one big ego trip for him. He just wants the attention.’
I’ve developed a bit of a fixation myself… with Ginger Colin Firth, who I’ve renamed ‘Frazzled Firth’.
Frazzled Firth is usually in Nero at the weekend, attempting – and failing miserably – to control his two sticky-fingered children who seem to spend most of their Saturday morning hurling bits of cake at him.
Meanwhile, his glamour puss wife breezes around in the background, with perfectly blow dried hair and ruby red lips.
I also vaguely know Firth from the gym. He’s part of a crew of men who do a rowing session at 6am, including previous blog stars, Big Grey Man and – perversely – my old Nero nemesis… Legs!
Yesterday, Firth was sat with his head in his hands on the sofa, while his two unruly children were using him as a human punchbag.
Glamour Puss Wife was hovering somewhere in the background, perfectly made-up as ever. She dropped off a tray of coffees and muffins, and then went and sat on the other side of the room to enjoy a civilised coffee with her friend!
‘You look like you’ve got your hands full,’ I said to Frazzled Firth.
‘Tell me about it,’ said Firth, wearily.
‘Our house it too small, the kids are hard work and I’m trying to get my business off the ground.’
I looked up to see the Glamour Puss Wife shooting daggers at me.
Peter told me that Firth’s wife is a high-maintenance career woman who leaves all the child care to him. Their marriage, he claims, is being held together by a thread. Blimey!
But back to Peter. After his latest love disaster, he’s back on the prowl. Sometimes, he dines alone in his favourite Italian, looking for people to talk to.
‘You’d think dating at my age would be easy but it’s more complicated than ever,’ he sighs.
‘The thing is I’m just looking for friendship.’
He gives a wink.
‘Well, that’s what I tell them,’ he says, adopting a suggestive tone.
‘But never say never!’
‘Hey,’ he suddenly says. ‘You won’t tell anyone about any of this, will you?’
‘Of course not!’ I say, innocently.
‘I mean, who would I tell?’