Palma de Mallorca

Day 0 – The Night Before Welcome to Birmingham International Airport Car Park. Auto number plate recognition in operation for pre-booked customers, the sign read. Emmy waited. The barrier did not move. She was, of course, a pre-booked customer. Emmy booked everything as far in advance as humanly possible. And yes, her car was filthy […]


When the rain won’t stop teeming and the unforgiving arrow of winter still cuts through the air, retreating into a cosy cavern of tasty food is an ideal way to salvage a Sunday. Such was the conclusion reached by Emmy and Vernon on an early March weekend. Vernon creaked open the door to Bill’s restaurant […]

Caffe Nero

It felt like New Year’s Day. It wasn’t, of course. It was Valentine’s Day, as proclaimed by garish cerise balloons dancing in the breeze around Leamington. But the rejuvenating sense of new dawns that typically occupied the first day of the year mysteriously crept into this February morning. Something about the way the pale blue […]

Shopping Local Part I

“Now these are divine”, the lady serving in Aubrey Allen smiled with a glinting eye, carefully packing the praline quail eggs into a paper bag. Emmy grinned with confident anticipation that Vernon would agree. The chocolates were another filler for his stocking which was, until a mere half an hour ago, at risk of hanging […]

Christmas Lights Switch-On

Happy anticipation caused Emmy’s leg to jiggle underneath the table. She checked her watch. “Fifteen minutes! Let’s move.” Vernon’s eyebrows raised a smidgeon before his mouth pursed in concentration and his entire attention was diverted back to his iPad. “How can they ask that much for that garden…?” he grumbled. Emmy uncrossed and re-crossed her […]

Jephson Gardens

Snap. Snap. Focus. Snap. Yikes…toppling off-balance…snap. “Beautiful, yes?” Emmy jumped as a voice disturbed her floral photography session. She looked up from her decidedly inelegant position, crouched uneasily in the dirt, her handbag and camera case sprawled across the footpath. “Yes! Dahlias are one of my favourites, especially dark red ones” she smiled. “Almost finished […]

Cote, Regent’s Court

“Table for 7 on Saturday night, please” Emmy said to Cote’s maitre d’. She was unsure as to whether the maitre d’ recognised her – Emmy did come here rather often, after all – but either way she treated Emmy with her usual friendliness, politeness and efficiency. “Of course,” she said, “is this for any […]

Costa, The Parade

Within the realm of simple pleasures, one of Emmy’s favourites was a barista knowing her drink order before she spoke. She walked through the door of Costa on the Parade, armed with her laptop bag as usual, and as she reached the counter the server asked “ice or no ice today, madam?” This was in […]