I can concentrate better in a cafe. Honestly. I'm not yet one of those who can write in cafes - the laptop is a bit too old and creaky plus I would feel rather visible - but reading / research in cafes is definitely the way forward. Frank's Bar in Norwich forcibly reminded me of the joy of a good cafe, which is why I was so delighted to find that Dulwich's Blue Mountain cafe has a 'cousin' opposite Gipsy Hill station. They're not entirely flawless - they make most of their money from morning and lunchtime commuters, not from writers in search of tea, so they close at four which is far too early. But they do provide a splendidly quiet but welcoming place to read, replete with nice tisanes and caramel shortbread squares.
I am clearly not the only writer to enjoy cafe society, as having finally tracked down a local writing group I discover that they too have a 'cafe caucus' as well as evening / weekend meetings - I look forward to discovering them on Monday.
While I'm here, I can't help but put in a plug for my other current excitement, Uniqlo. Specifically, their cord trousers. A few years ago I had a pair of cords from Gap. The cord was fine and soft, they fit like a glove and were the perfect smokey grey. I wore them until they died, then mourned. Finally I have a fitting replacement - in fact I have five. You may call that excessive, but I'm making certain I never run out again! I have black bootcut cords for work and green bootcut cords for lazing / country walks. In a more radical departure, I also have skinny cords. In case you are wondering, although happy with my figure I have never been able to get a skinny jean past my thigh, let alone my bottom. But Uniqlo's skinny cords are miraculously accomodating. And they don't cut off my circulation or give me a muffin top. This is why I am now the proud possessor of one pair in black and two in dark grey. I have worn them four days out of every five since purchase. They have single-handedly revived various shirts that I have ignored for years, as well as adding a whole new twist to most of my shoes and boots. Best of all, they were a mere £24.99 each (less in fact with a discount card I came across). Uniqlo also stock the perfect on-trend plaid flannel shirt to go with them, but that's another story.