OUTER SUBURBS 41 – SITTING IN DEB’S CAFE AND TAKEAWAY, ON A DULL FRIDAY (MONO + COLOUR)

 

 


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Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window, and click onto that image to enlarge it further – recommended.

A dull Friday morning.  But, of course, to those working a five day week, Friday morning is never dull.  It is enriched with the promises of both edible treats to celebrate the working week’s end and, equally, to celebrate the start of the weekend, when all good things in life appear – for a day or two –  eminently possible.  But, weatherwise, this was a dull morning, with low, dark overcast and no sign at all of the rising sun’s glow.  In just over a week’s time we’d be in winter and, meteorologically, this Friday morning was getting all set up for it.

And also, for those into consumerism, materialism and our incessant manipulation by the mass media – and also, of course, those who know it as just plain, simple, good old shopping – this was indeed a dark day.  Indeed (there’s that word again!), no day could be darker, for this was Black Friday, when many hope to grab bargains (why does the word “grab” seem particularly appropriate here … ? …) and so accumulate yet more, “happiness inducing stuff”.  The more of it we have, the happier we are, right?

Anyway, oblivious to all this mass hysteria, I’d had a first breakfast before dawn, and then set off on foot into the dark streets with the little camera in my pocket.  And after an hour or so – and seeing that it was a Friday – I dropped gratefully into Deb’s Café & Takeaway and ordered a second breakfast – a thick, “doorstop” bacon sandwich, and a mug of hot, strong, sweet tea – ah, Life’s Simple Pleasures!

I’d been into Deb’s before.  Indeed I’d been into Deb’s when it was packed out, with no room to sit down, and so been forced to look elsewhere for what the more cultured gourmets of my social circle term “a good plateful”.  What’s Deb’s like?  Well, its a little street café  staffed by women whom I take to be three generations of the same family, it opens at 7am and closes after lunch, and it specialises in good, solid, simple English food, much of it in the full English breakfast vein.

And I like this place for three reasons.  First, obviously, the food is good, and not expensive.  Then, the women are natural and friendly – there are no airs and graces here – and since many of the early morning clientele are builders, scaffolders and other workmen, the atmosphere can be humorous, irreverent, ribald and earthy – in a word, three words actually, real and human: this is not the place to go if you like pretence, café au lait and croissants.  And that’s the third reason I like this place: there is a complete absence of the usual marketing, hype and bullsh*t that is so often a feature of the modern commercial/retail world – these women simply produce good, enjoyable, basic food and, as you eat it, likely as not there’ll be some convivial chat, gossip and banter around ……

So, as I sat there, taken aback somewhat by just how much of a doorstop I’d contracted to get outside of, I looked out at the grey morning and the grey urban landscape.  In that moment, what could I see?  A woman, head down, trudges through the parked cars towards the at best uninspiring (except for Deb’s!!!) row of shops.  Down left of her there is a litter (trash) bin, while the shining metallic semicircles immediately outside of Deb’s are the backs of chairs set around tables, for those who like to smoke while eating.  And further away, the suburban landscape: houses, a single decker bus, and bare, pollarded trees.  Rather a bleak scene, but one which was amply compensated for by the warmth and conviviality of the café.

And, grey and bleak though that view may have been, it was immeasurably enhanced by the absence of any hint of the burgeoning greed and materialism of Black Friday.

I downed the doorstop with lashings of ketchup, drank the delicious tea, struggled to my feet, made it to the door, and lurched off, heavily and uncertainly, into the gloom.

The first image in the Outer Suburbs series, with context, is here: 1 .  Subsequent images are here: 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 .  Each will open in a separate window.

Technique:  TG-5 at 25mm (equiv); 1,000 ISO; Lightroom, using the Camera Vivid film simulation; Silver Efex Pro 2, starting at the Full Spectrum Inverse preset and selectively restoring some of the colour; south Bristol; 23 Nov 2018.

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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer working in monochrome, colour and combinations of the two - with a great liking for all sorts of images, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous in my photography, trying new ideas and working in many genres. And I'm fond of Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

9 Responses to OUTER SUBURBS 41 – SITTING IN DEB’S CAFE AND TAKEAWAY, ON A DULL FRIDAY (MONO + COLOUR)

  1. Sallyann says:

    Lots of great words, but even without them the picture says it all… Deb’s cafe is holding onto the colour in a rapidly greying world. 😊

    Like

  2. bluebrightly says:

    I like your description of the working person’s Friday, when all things seem possible. 🙂 I’m glad you’re oblivious to the mad pursuits of Black Friday, and glad too that you introduced us to the “doorstop” sandwich – wow. I like the selective color here – it works well. As much as i love great espresso and well made croissants, I am completely with you when it comes to the pleasures of partaking in anything down-to-earth and without hype. Lurching off into the gloom! Adrian, you’re having fun, thanks for inviting us along!

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Yes, after work on Fridays, the world is our’s, limitless possibilities stretch out ahead; that gets a bit muted on Saturday; and Sunday can be overshadowed by thoughts of what Monday holds. Glad to know that you reject hype too! And, yes, I was having fun, both being there and writing the post! A 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You made me smile too.
    I very much enjoyed seeing and reading this one. Cheers.
    In Sheffield we used to have a covered market called Castle Market and along with all the trappings and stalls you would expect in a market selling fruit and veg, meat and fish, tools and toys there were some great cafes where much like Debs they served everything you might want from a traditional British cafe. One of the cafes called Sharon’s was celebrated on the cover of Richard Hawley’s album Late Night Final which can be seen on this link:
    https://richardhawley.bigcartel.com/product/late-night-final (Sharon’s was his favourite cafe 🙂
    Of course the name of the album also celebrates the name of the final edition of the local newspapers which in most town no longer exist. I have memories of street newspaper sellers shouting “final” as they tried to shift their last few copies before heading home.
    I’m not one for nostalgia for nostalgia sake but the more traditional style of British cafes where once the only coffee on sale was coffee (not a matt-flat-white-withsprinkles-togo) and the only tea was tea are in decline. It wasn’t just about simple tea and coffee but something more honest. Things weren’t dressed up to add value! That is of course in business terms ‘charge as much as possible for as little as possible’!
    Someone visiting Sheffield a few weeks ago stopped me in the street and asked where they could get a greasy full English breakfast. Clearly they didn’t want a Costa or Starbucks and then I really struggled to think where in the centre of Sheffield they might find a cafe with such fare on offer. I managed to make a recommendation but I really had to think!
    Sharon’s in the old Castle Market closed when the whole place was set for demolition. They moved some of the eateries to a new covered market but placed them all together in one big eating area so any atmosphere of the old market has been completely erased. The food may not have changed but eating in a cafe is also about atmosphere, banter, and a sense of identity.
    I think if I was ever in your neck of the woods I’d pop into Deb’s for a cuppa…
    Hope you are having a great weekend.
    Best wishes
    Mr C 🙂

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Mr C, thank you indeed for these words and for the link – I’m very glad that you enjoyed the post. And I agree with all that you say about cafés – in essence, I think two of your phrases say it all, i.e. “… something more honest.”, and “Things weren’t dressed up to add value!”. I’m so tired of modern marketing bullsh*t >>> LOL!!! and as I get older, I teeter more on the verge of translating my feelings into words when the occasion arises! 😉 Adrian

      Like

  4. geezer94 says:

    I had to smile when you mentioned ‘doorstop’ sandwich. I immediatly thought of a Bacon Butty of which I learned of from a BBC television series and a friend of mine from the UK.(Devon area). Enjoyed your blog post to no end and look forward to reading more. And, I am also a small local diner personage. Thanks for my early morning smile. g (Kentucky USA)

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Hello John, very glad to have made you smile!!! 🙂 And very good to meet another “local diner” enthusiast – I would visit more of them, but I need to watch what I laughingly call my waistline! Also, this blog is mainly about photos, but I do enjoy writing very much and, when a subject arises, I always let myself go. Adrian 🙂

      Like

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