Café W – Waterstones, Bath

One of my two favourite writing spots. It has pretty much everything you could ask for, including other writers. How do I know? You can just tell. There’s a certain sort of frowning concentration, punctuated by bouts of staring into the middle distance, usually followed by a frenzy of frantic typing, as inspiration strikes and fades once again.

The people who work there are lovely. They can’t do enough for you. They are also booklovers – some seem to work interchangeably in the café or on the bookshop floor, as the need arises.

She’s trying to look like
she’s working again.

I’ve been going in there to work for a good three or four years now, since it was a branch of Costa, and my love affair with the place is still going strong. It’s a particularly good place for me to work at the moment, while I try to juggle editing and looking after a 4 month-old, as it has a large, comfortable sofa, with a table just the right height to type over the top of a sleeping baby on your lap – should you be moved to try such a thing!

The sofa is right between the entrance and a small flight of steps up to the non-fiction books, so there are plenty of comings and goings to occupy the baby, who likes to people-watch. And if you’re flying solo, a spot of people-watching can be just the right sort of distraction for IMG_2382_Fotorwhen inspiration isn’t so much striking as wandering in, going ‘meh’ and wandering back out again.

There’s an ever-changing wall of books almost opposite – handy for when inspiration can’t even be bothered to show up and say ‘meh’, as you can wile away the empty minutes by imagining your book in pride of place, right in the middle of the display*

*Even if you have to sneak it in and put it there yourself.

If the sofa doesn’t appeal, there are two separate seating areas. The main room tends to be busy, with a fairly steady stream of customers, while the smaller L-shaped area provides a quieter nook for the writer who likes both company and quiet, and can’t decide which need should take precedence. There are several tables next to the large windows, offering yet more gazing-into-space opportunities. The one in the corner of the main room is particularly coveted, since it overlooks the no waiting sign outside the bank opposite, and there’s a constantly replaying live show involving someone pulling up, looking furtively around and then dashing into the bank, whereupon the traffic warden emerges from the entrance to the nearby shopping arcade at a mad sprint and tickets the car. IMG_2383_FotorArm waving and shouting inevitably ensues.

Entertainment aside, there’s a large selection of teas and coffees, and a small food menu, and the prices are reasonable. It has a loyal following of regular customers, so you get to know people to chat to in the lull between bursts of inspiration.

I can’t honestly think of any downsides.

Actually, I mean, yes, there are many, many downsides. On no account should you go there. It’s a terrible place, terrible I tell you. Particularly the sofa.*

*This is all absolutely true, and in no way intended to ensure that it never gets so busy that I can’t get the sofa.




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