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Back in St Nicholas' park cafe Warwick - thinking of girls and smoking 30 years ago

Tom Winnifrith
Tuesday 19 September 2017

St Nicholas' park lies next to the river in Warwick. A small and rather run-down cafe in its heart lies about half way between my alma mater Warwick School (then) for Boys and Kings High School for Girls up in the centre of the old town. On Monday I had an hour to kill as my father suffered a routine check up at the Hospital and so I enjoyed a coffee and tapped out an article in a place I last visited more than thirty years ago. It has not changed much although a charming and rather pretty oriental waitress brightened it up a bit.

My memories of the cafe three decades ago were of smoking and girls. It was where, as a sixth former, you could head out for some tobacco in a "safe space" and where you could also meet young ladies, or rather, preferably not so lady like girls from King's High. Lizzie, Claire W, 'Toria and ten Benson & Hedges... what more could you ask for?

These days middle class teenagers might all regard dope as part of sensible balanced diet but they would rather eat their own faeces than smoke tobacco. It is like not accepting the normality of transgenderism. It is just not socially acceptable. As for girls? Warwick now teaches both girls and boys in the sixth form although I am sure that most of the girls are far too mature for sex-starved 16 year old boys.

But in theory there are girls on tap back at the old school. The cafe in St Nicholas' Park has therefore lost its lunchtime purpose altogether. And sure enough the only other folks in the cafe were a couple of young Polish mums and a few gentlefolk even older than me. And, of course, the rather attractive waitress.

The cafe itself was unchanged in appearance but everything else has moved on so very swiftly.

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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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