I’ve been thinking about the situation we’re in at the moment veering from regional rules to complete lockdown and with Christmas coming up.

One of the things that has happened is some old friends getting in touch for the first time in a long while. That’s such an absolute joy! Have you noticed the same thing?

People often start an email or text message with – you probably won’t remember me but… and although I’m getting old and forgetful, I mostly do remember people’s names and often, since I used to be a portrait photographer, their faces too. Sometimes it’s tricky when you meet people on the street behind a mask though!

We have a delightful Italian cafe round the corner from where I live and it has been a great place to meet up whether outside on a bench or sometimes inside when regulations permit. It has the best coffee I know of in the UK and also sells take away Italian food made by Rita in the tiny kitchen at the back of the shop. Mmmmm…. parmigiana!… Pesto… fantastic gorgonzola that needs to be served with a spoon.

My husband, Brian, recently had a birthday and we ordered a gorgeous cake, stopping off at the start of our long walk to take 2 slices with us. We thoroughly enjoyed the walk with the anticipation of Rita’s blueberry and pear cake with coffee after a couple of hours.

Better still we were able to collect the remains of the cake on our way home. Just as well we did a good long walk that day. Here’s the whole cake before we set off, a terrible picture I know, snapped in haste so as not to impede the retailing of other lovely items to other customers.

If you live nearby you’ll probably know the cafe which is called Annare after the owner’s Grandmother who inspired his interest in creating wonderful food.

Whew, I just spotted they make hot chocolate too! Have a look on their Instagram account here