I love cafés, everyone knows it! They are fabulous places, the rich aroma of freshly ground coffee wafting through the air on the first push of the café door, or the buzzing and beautiful noise of the diverse community that sits within. Each visit seeming to provide a different snapshot of life.
Even now, as I tap away on this keyboard, stressed parents attempt to calm their howling baby and a bunch of teenagers are huddled in the top corner, only lifting their heads to mumble the odd word as they push buttons on their mobiles. At the far end of the café, a business meeting looks to be taking place; a carer in uniform pushes their young male charge through the door; two female friends look in deep counsel across their table; and it’s obvious a joke has just been cracked given the sound of hilarity coming from the two elderly gentlemen at yet another.
To many of you it may seem sad, but I come here often. Friends even refer to it as my ‘office’. You see, life is busy for the modern woman. I’m a teacher, SNP activist, former parliamentary official, active volunteer, wife and mother…and this is simply my sanctuary! It’s my time to think, to tidy up on work or even, yes, to relax. But mostly it’s my place to write and to people watch. I love them both!
Recently, I sat here to make a decision…to enter the selection process for SNP candidacy in the Scottish Parliament elections next year. It felt utterly the right time to step forward and use the rich balance of skills gained from my teaching and parliamentary careers, plus those from wider life, and to be a voice for the people here in Edinburgh Central, this constituency which has been my home for the past 16 years and which I love.
Now that ballot has closed and I am privileged to have been selected as that candidate. As a progressive, who sees politics as life and wants to involve everyone, I promised from the outset of my Holyrood campaign to do things a little differently. So, Café Bites is but just one way to do that.
Being the café lover that I am, I thought I’d use this vehicle for sharing some of my policy views. A tad light hearted in part, the blog seeks to link everyday experiences with some thoughts on real life issues. The challenge, and it’s a big one for me, is to say it in around 500..ISH words! Just a bite, not the whole cake!
Go on, have a read. And just maybe, with a cup of coffee!