Down the road from where I live is a little bakery.

I sneak off there - my current girth would suggest it's a fairly regular occurrence - for a coffee and potato-topped savoury most days.

The place is literally five minutes there and five minutes back, which means the bloke in control of the machine has the perfect five minutes to make my coffee so I can get back just before my morning tea break ends.

That makes a daily visit a no-brainer in my book.


Anyway, over time my whirlwind visits have led to some interesting interaction with my mate behind the coffee bar.

It started with me bursting through the door and telling him a joke as he made my cuppa.

Lately we've been discussing all manner of things from the weather - "It's so cold I think the potato on my savoury might be frozen" - to politics - "Simon who?".

Then the other day he took things up a notch as I walked in. "I want you to find me a girlfriend," he said.

Now, obviously, I was a little surprised at the request.

Firstly, our relationship has not previously strayed beyond the professional, basically in case he is distracted and my mocchachino becomes a soy latte or some other insipid caffeine-based beverage, heaven forbid!

Secondly i wondered what about me made him think I would be able to fulfil such a task.
I mean, did he think my winter-sensible, fleecy-lined tracksuited appearance indicated I was some sort of suburban pimp wih a long list of ready, willing and able ladies to step into the role he was offering?

Having said that, my East End of London roots started rumbling deep within, and I spied an opportunity for gain.

"How about I find you a girlfriend and you give me free coffee for a year," I ventured.
"Six weeks," he shot back, deadpan.


For a brief moment a friend came to mind. She had casually mentioned a few days before it would be nice to have a special someone to share outings, go to dinner etc.

I wondered what she would think if it all panned out and she discovered I'd effectively traded her for six weeks of free coffee. I mentally slapped myself hard.

"Three months but with a potato-topped savoury thrown in" I threw back with a laugh as I gathered my cuppa and headed home.

Later I filled Mrs P in on the brief moment of jest and learned a bit of a valuable lesson.
Yes, she agreed there was a humorous side to the chat, but pointed out it was not really appropriate even if I viewed it as "guy talk".

She's right, of course. I do agree women have had enough and sometimes we blokes, even old farts like me who mean well, forget ourselves.

So in future i will try harder and try to stick to bringing jollyment (is that a word?) to our world.

But to sum up the little chat with my mate at the bakery. Quite simply it all boiled down to one thing. We both wanted something. I wanted coffee and he wanted a girlfriend.

Except I think he might have wanted a bit of sugar with his.