With a name like Café Continental, you might assume that you’d be able to buy croissants fresh from the oven for breakfast. You might even assume you’d be able to enjoy an espresso, cappuccino or latte to go with it. But you’d assume wrong. This café is about as continental as a cheap scotch pie with added gristle.
Having dropped my car off to get its 37,500mile service (quite why Mazda chose every 12,500 miles as its service cycle is anyone’s guess) first thing in the morning, I needed somewhere out of the cold to sit until the library opened.
For 20 minutes I sat near the bottled gas heater, cradling the cup and sipping the dishwater-like substance, which, rumour had it, had shared a pot with a teabag at some point in the distant past. The conversation between the owner and one of his regulars covered such diverse topics as the exorbitant amount of money the local council charges for business rates, the decline of tourism in Dumfries, the fact that the council paid for, or at least subsidised, a bus to take people out to Tesco Superstore on the edge of town, but not to his café, and the fact that even recovering alcoholics should be presented with a clean cup and table when coming in for a pot of tea.
Then the customer says, “Ye ken whit annoys me? The smoking ban disnae happen in England ‘til later this year, but we had it last year. Why didnae they have the ban at the same time as us, ye ken?”
“Aye well,” begins the owner, “it just means they’re smoking for an extra 12 months so it’ll kill a few more of them aff.” Hearty chuckle.
“Aye, I shouldnae complain,” laughs the customer.
Just the kind of culturally tolerant, cosmopolitan attitude you’d expect in a Continental Café I guess.