Farewell to a haven: of writing, of coffee, of friends

All photos courtesy of The Blend Café and the generous people involved in its being… 

Big blend bit

Something is about to happen that has never happened to me before.

I have never in my life felt, “There is only ever going to be one place in the world like this. And it is this place.” Until this week. For the first time, I feel exactly like this. And now, just when I have worked out what I feel, this once-in-a-lifetime-place will be lost to me, perhaps forever.

The moment I have finally begun to realize how significant it has been to me, in a matter of days it will cease to exist.

For love of coffee

For it had become my home away from home. A place to think. A place to read. A place to write. A place that had been lovingly and painstakingly put together, every detail thought out; it was in itself a work of art. Most of all it was a place with people who were not only friendly, but genuinely cared; people who had become friends, however unexpectedly that had occurred. And it had brilliant coffee. Every other coffee was so spoiled for me, I would rather go without than have anything else.

Typewriter

For love of reading

I had begun to take my daughter there for mummy-daughter dates to read to her. She would have a little cup of milk with a teaspoon (because mummy has a teaspoon with her latte). Sometimes she would have a heart cookie, sometimes cheesy toast. She would put the sugar in my coffee, learned to pay using my credit card; I would cuddle her and read books. Meg once made a butterfly for her out of heart cookies, icing sugar and raspberry coulis. From that day she loved Meg. Meg also gave her foam with rainbow sprinkles out of the blue. It was that sort of place.

Butterfly and book

For love of writing

Sometimes she would just want to play with stickers and I would get to write. I wrote my first and only novel there. (I also wrote at home and the train, but so many new ideas started at the café in scribbles such as Frank Vaughn, the Vienna World Fair, that fight between Jo and Laurie…) I’m fairly certain I would not have written The Courtship of Jo March had it not existed, had it not been somewhere I could bask in the old world surrounds and music and write with joy. I couldn’t have written it without their careful and kind service in this lovely place I could retreat from routine and simply imagine.

Coffee

For love of art

My husband bought a painting for me from the café for our wedding anniversary, depicting a journey through a beautiful landscape. It’s special to me for so many reasons, for it represents a promise of things that are, and things that are to come – that we would journey together through this world, this lifetime, on many adventures. This now hangs in our dining room, and I smile at it every day. If we could afford it I would buy twenty more such works of art from the owner and give them away as gifts.

Giant coffee machine

If you’re thinking, “A café sells paintings?” Yes, this one did. The place was full of beautiful art. Even the mirror had been handmade. (I’m pretty sure the benchtop had been too, a real to life version of the Giant Coffee Machine.) There were shelves of books, a window seat, an old fashioned typewriter, an Iron Man mask. I don’t think any other place in the world has both an antique typewriter and an Iron Man mask…

Moreover, the owner of this café – the one who painted the paintings and procured the typewriter and provided the books – was the same guy who made the breakfasts and drinks with names like Tesla’s Flame. Without being asked, he promoted my book and took the lovely photo I’ve used in social media posts ever since. (Thank you, Greg Bridges. You deserve to be a rich and famous artist. P.S. Readers, here’s a link to a brilliant art collection almost beyond imagining.)

Cafe

For love of friends

I don’t really know why the café is closing. I’m almost afraid to ask. I think part of me feels that if I don’t ask, it won’t happen, that perhaps it is not really happening even as I write this. Perhaps today really wasn’t the last day I would go to work after having stopped by for my morning coffee. Perhaps this time next week, it will still be there, and we would still see friends. Perhaps my daughter and I will take our morning walk, and we will cuddle and read on the red velvet couch, I with my coffee and she with her milk.

I have no new words for how I feel – I can only borrow these words from You’ve Got Mail, “The truth is, I am heartbroken. I feel like a part of me has died.”

Creme and flower

To all the staff at The Blend Café, thank you.

Thank you for the way you have enriched our lives in more ways than I can say, in more ways than I even know. Thank you for the way you have served us so well.

You didn’t merely prepare food and drinks. You brought joy and delight to us. You surprised us.

You made a place for us that was like no other, and will be like no other. You created a haven that was so pleasant and homely it was always hard to leave.

Thank you for your generosity, your timely encouragement, and your cheerful and courteous greetings.

Only once in life is such a place, with such people, ever found – and how grateful I am to have had this time with you all; it has been so wonderful, it’s felt only a short while, and I wish there were more time.

How you will be missed. How dearly and how sadly you will be missed!

Yours sincerely,

Trix Wilkins

Author and book sale PIC

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