Usually when I go out to a café, I’m working on my screenplay. It’s gonna be big someday, I’m telling you, but today I was so distracted. I went to see an opera last night, and I got so swept up in the lyrics and story that I’ve been daydreaming ever since. Just something about the way everything was so flawless and blended together really hit me where I live, and now I can’t stop thinking about it.
It was one of those modern operas, you know the ones. A man and a woman were separated by their families, who both operated places around Melbourne that did last wills and testaments and everything to do with them. Like, attorneys and lawyers…you know, some of the singing was really hard to understand, with all the warbling. Beautiful warbling, mind you. And then I don’t actually think the Melbourne will scene is quite that cutthroat. I guess they had to amp up the drama, and oh boy, there was SO much drama. Stabbings and verbal jousting and twelve-minute solos about how much they hated each other, which was actually a lot.
Anyway, there were six acts, and throughout all of them this boy and girl met, fell in love, were separated, grew up to take over their family businesses, became bitter business rivals and eventually met while struggling to get the same client, realised that they really were still deeply in love and finished with this 24-minute extravaganza where they defied their families, shut down the business and ran away together.
Ah, man, so epic and glorious…I’ll never forget it. Not sure what actual people in Melbourne who do probates and stuff would think, but it’s such a good opera, maybe they don’t care.
Oh, and, uh…good coffee!
Okay so I know it’s probably just one of those silly things that Johnny does to make us all feel kind of important (and actually just thinking about it, it’s probably a nefarious plot to get us to come into work early) but I can’t help but do it anyway. There’s no way my competitive spirit is ever going to let me back down for this one, and I know my cursive is like a billion times better than Marissa’s. I just have to be the first into work every Monday, because the first person in on a Monday gets to write the menu on the blackboard for the week.
It sounds silly, I know, but it’s kind of fun to just zone out for an hour (believe it or not it usually takes about that long) and just get creative. Sometimes I pretend that I’m working for this massive signwriters company in Melbourne and that writing about ‘krunchy kale’ in spiky green letters is just the beginning of my morning. Not that I have anything against working in a cafe, it’s great and I totally respect people who do it for a living because oh my goodness it is so much work, but I kind of want to do something … I don’t know, I guess, more with my life. Do more than just fetch your soy latte with almond milk every morning, you know? And sign writing, even though it’s nothing more than a chore to most people, is just something completely different I can do with my day. Plus, we have these adorable little magnetic clip on signs saying Melbourne and stuff like that that it’s super fun to throw at the wall. Just to relieve a little bit of the stress about the week ahead.
So yeah, you can bet that I’m the first one to work just about every Monday morning, but it makes me happy, okay? So just let me be.
Yeah, don’t worry about me. I get allergies, but whatever, just leave the place as it is. I’ll just sneeze all over everyone’s food and serve customers with watery eyes. REAL good look, yeah, totally.
This place is just so dusty! I get that it was renovated pretty recently and there’s still sawdust all over the place. Some people have even said that it gives the place a rustic air…so, whatever floats your boat, but it’s not for me because I have to keep breathing it in and it’s gross. I keep telling Johnny that we should get some steam cleaning. Places in Melbourne that do that sort of thing are absolutely everywhere, and I would know because I’ve lived in like six share houses and you can always get a steam cleaner at a moment’s notice. How do I know that? Oh yeah, because everyone always ditches me and leaves me to take care of the cleaning. Ugh, share houses are just the worst when someone refuses to pull their weight. You know, I don’t think Prue did her share of the vacuuming once. Not even once. How hard is it to pull out the thing and push it back and forth for twenty dang minutes, Prue? No, too busy bringing boyfriend #74 home and smooching on the sofa so none of us can watch TV? Totally fine, don’t worry about it!
Yeah, anyway, this place could be cleaner. I don’t care about rustic; in fact, I can’t understand why anyone would come here to drink coffee when they’re getting a nose full of sawdust every time they breathe in. No one else seems to be having this problem, but I’m an actual employee. I’m more important! So yeah, Melbourne’s finest carpet dry cleaning, please. As soon as possible would be good, lest I go on strike.
Some people don’t believe in fate. Those people are obviously unaware of how I walked into this place and fell instantly in love with the white chocolate mocha. I’ve read a few books on Greek mythology, and the gods are always eating this thing called ambrosia. That’s pretty much what I imagine that it tastes like to us mortals. So…so…good.
And I can drink it without feeling guilty, because I spend ALL day walking. Perils of being that one real estate agent in the office who jumps at the chance to be useful. I’m new to the job and I’m pretty sure everyone is taking advantage of me, but I don’t care. I’m scurrying all around the place, meeting new people, seeing new places and life is great. Truth be told, I’m trying to live up to my Grandmother. Weird thing to say, I know. But she was one of Melbourne’s first property advocates, people who help other people buy homes (but not in the same way as a real estate agent). She was a true pioneer in the field, and since people hadn’t even heard of the service before then, the business didn’t really pick up for years. But she kept plugging on! And I guess Grandpa was a good sport about the whole thing, working his ordinary job while she tried to be a career woman and didn’t bring in any income to support the family. They were a persistent generation, surely. But now that people respect the profession, it’s something I feel like I really want to do. I have the genes for it! But for now, i have to work my way up. So that’s why I walk so much, spend most of the day in my feet and come back to the cafe all battered, bruised and ready for the white-chocolate mocha of my dreams. I’ve EARNED it. And I’m pretty sure the Melbourne buyers advocates of today still do a lot of walking- most of their job is looking at properties- so hopefully I can continue the habit once I’m at the top of the ladder. They’re so good, you guys…
If things keep up like this, I’m going to need some more staff. Didn’t expect the cafe to blast off quite like this, but I’m not complaining! Again, maybe it’s just new. I’m learning on the job, as well…so it’s probably just a matter of time until I spill sugar in someone’s food and the place gets shut down. Ah well…it was nice while it lasted.
You’d be surprised how long the simple things take when they’re being set up. Everyone kept telling me to go into something like deep-fried ice-cream, or an oxygen bar. Something new and hip. Apparently hyperbaric chamber places in Melbourne are the rage right now, or…something. Not that I have incredibly high standards, but maybe I do, and I wanted to stick to it being a cafe. Actually, yeah, I just have really high standards.
Plus, I like to make coffee. I’m no expert on oxygen therapy, and I’m not going off to do some study so I can open a shop where people come and get oxygen. I’m sure there are places in the city that offer that service…meanwhile, I’m filling a niche.
Anyway, I’m rambling on about oxygen. All I know is how to protect things with layers of glad wrap. Though also, most of our food is made fresh either to order or that morning, so it’s not like I’m just hoarding the lemon slice for weeks on end. My food packaging skills are pretty great, so it’s not like I couldn’t. But I don’t.
So that’s another long and boring story of how this place got started, and how it could’ve perfect for oxygen therapy, Melbourne’s finest even. Almost, but not quite. Tune in next week to hear how I managed to win over the lady who owns the wool shop next door, even though there was so much noisy renovation over the last few months. She’s just a lovely old dear.
I’m in love with Johnny. He won me over with the very first sip of his delightful coffee. Then I realised how spunky he is and I was head over heels. I notices that he’s been getting into plants a lot lately. He’s been putting pots of herbs and flowers around in the cafe which I think is a charming idea and also just makes me love him all the more. So I decided that maybe I could get to his heart by giving him some flowers.
I’ve been looking at roses for sale on the internet but I don’t know if Johnny likes roses. Plus I’m thinking that maybe I’m subverting the gender roles too much by giving a guy some flowers. This would be particularly obvious if I give him classic flowers like roses. So if I’m going to do something really geeky like that perhaps I should opt for some less conventional flowers. Like tulips or daffodils. But no, they’re too feminine. I need more masculine flowers like perhaps hellebores, something darker and woodier.
Then again, roses can be masculine if you choose the right ones. You wouldn’t go with iceberg roses, perhaps something with a rich colour like brindabella roses. I’m going to plant them and grow them myself so that they really come from the heart. I’m sure he’ll notice the difference compared to the store bought ones. There’s always something wrong with them when you get them from the florist. Like they’ll have some of their petals gnawed at the edge or they won’t have any scent. That’s the trapping with florist-bought roses and flowers. I mean, the first thing anyone does when they receive flowers is smell them! But all the flowers at the florist completely lack scent. That’s why it’s much better to grow them yourself. Plus they mean more than they come from your garden.
I’ve been in the hospo business for about twenty years now and I’ve tried a bunch of different decorating techniques. In the nineties when everything was sleek and shiny, I had a trim little bar and then in the early 21st century when retro was coming back in fashion I had a garages style restaurant. These days, the bohemian style seems to be in. you can slap any bits of furniture together and have successful décor.
Throughout the years I’ve also experimented with greenery and now I think I’ll get back into it. I’m going to buy spring flowering bulbs from this online retailer and start planting again. They’re going to make the cafe look very sweet. People also don’t realise that going edible plants and herbs works magic for your cafe. Put them in the window sill or at the front and allow your customers to pick from them. They like that because it’s interactive and quaint. Especially in Melbourne where quaintness and cafe culture go hand in hand. Add a pinch of mint to your chocolate cheese cake or a sprig of lemongrass to your herbal tea.
As far as decorative plants go, I’m thinking I’ll go with daffodils. It’s not hard to find daffodil for sale and yet here aren’t many beautiful flowers featured around in cafes. I know that as soon as I get mine started everyone else is going to start jumping on the bandwagon. That’s the only bad thing. As soon as everyone has flowers in their cafe it’s not going to be my unique gimmick anymore and I’ll have to think of something else. Maybe I’ll go the opposite and start growing weeds. I’ll use edible and flowering weeds which can actually be quite attractive. You’ve just got to know what to get.
Last time I visited Johnny’s cafe I decided to treat myself to a slice of the mars bar cheesecake, it was absolutely delicious and I highly recommend it to anyone. However, I recommend you find a quiet corner in which to eat it as I stupidly decided to sit on the communal table. I had assumed the young girl next to me was a functioning adult but how silly I was. Just as I took my first delicious bite she started yammering away on her mobile about complete nonsense in an incredibly irritating shrill voice. From what I could understand she was pretty upset that her selfish parents had arranged for some timber window repairs in Melbourne. Apparently they had not taken into account that she had planned to have friends over and their window repairs would not go down well with the crew. Aside from how entitled and quite frankly, stupid she sounded, the way in which she spoke was so grating I could barely enjoy my cheesecake. She blabbered on for about twenty minutes about the timber window repairs and how she felt they were unnecessary, she didn’t even like the windows in the first place. I had half a mind to tell her she should appreciate her parents not just putting, but repairing, a roof over her head but if there’s one thing I know about young people, they don’t listen to old people. I suppose something useful did come of my afternoon at the cafe, later that day a dear friend of mine told me she was planning on doing some home renovations and did I know anyone who could supply timber windows in Melbourne. After I was done laughing I passed on the name that was emblazoned on my brain from the shrill young girl saying it over and over again at Johnny’s cafe.
I love being one of the first to try this place. Johnny’s only opened…what, a month ago? And I was one of the first customers on the first day. This suburb was a cultural and coffee dead zone, unless you wanted to get it from a machine at the supermarket, so I can’t tell you how relieved I am to have something like this here. I NEED to work in public places, which people think is made because I work from home for a company in Hungary. Work in your pyjamas all the time! Nope…I need the vibe. And Johnny’s has it all, mostly.
I do have a few suggestions. And just last week I was writing on the benefits of having a roof tile repair expert from Melbourne come and check out your roofing situation, because people have been dealing with serious injuries from loose tiles, especially in storm season. This place has some nice timber beams inside, but I noticed on the path outside that there are loose tiles smashed on the floor. It might not be so popular if someone was heading in for their caffeine fix and got clocked on the noggin. Of course, you’ve got Irma’s Wool Supplies and that model plane place on either side, so it could easily be their problem. But still, roof tile restoration. It’s where it’s at. I bet the roof tiles on here are brand new.
I learn a lot of weird stuff from my writing. Just last week I was writing an article on mixing your own makeup, even though I’ve never worn makeup (except for that one school play, where everyone wore it). I also wrote an expose on why Thomas Edison wasn’t the true inventor of the lightbulb, when I’m not usually into history. This job takes me to strange, exciting places, I go on a bit of a knowledge bender for a week…and this week, it’s roof tiles. I’m practically an expert on proper roof tile restoration practices around Melbourne, so maybe I can help out my favourite café. Until I start writing on ballet techniques, or something.
I guess this place has a nice bit of an airy feel. And by that I mean it’s, like…I don’t know, nice and airy, whatever. Like you’re outside. All the pot plants really do help to create that illusion, or whatever.
I’ve been spending a lot of time in here, but that’s less to do with the coffee (which is pretty great, I’ll admit) and more to do with how I don’t want to be around my relatives. When they’re not discussing the family business AGAIN, they’re at each other’s throats, probably in relation to the family business. I miss my barns. Oh, and then we tried appeasing grandmother by building her a granny flat. Building in Tamworth requires permits, you know. We didn’t just knock a cubby-house together and call it a day, because we actually care about our elderly relative’s well-being. But then she acts like we’re uprooting her to the ends of the Earth, and rants about how she doesn’t want to leave Melbourne because it’s the centre of culture. Her words, not mine! And then we ask her exactly how she benefits from all this ‘culture’, and Granny doesn’t know because she hasn’t gone to see a play since the 70’s when Cads first started showing. I think it put her off forever.
So now we have an empty granny flat that is probably going to be turned into a storage house. I TOLD everyone that Granny wouldn’t want to move all the way to Tamworth. But they’re all caught up with this family business rubbish. I certainly won’t be taking it on; my brother is the businessman of the family. I want them to leave me alone, they won’t, and so I’m sitting here in the coffee shop, staring out the window at the bleak weather and pretending I have homework. Maybe we can convert the flat into a teenage retreat. Tamworth is ALL about teenagers and retreating, probably.