We went on a recce at the weekend, for locations for my next book. The wind was howling and the rain tipping down. Perfect conditions for standing on a cliff/vast stretch of empty beach and taking photos with my hair whipping across my eyes, rain soaking my jeans. In fact, it played well for the story I’m telling, the miserable day lending a sinister quality to the place, which will come in handy as a backdrop for the house on the cliffs I’m inventing.

Anyway, things were going pretty well, I was excited by what I was seeing. But trips away from home these days, especially to this rather isolated spot, have major inconveniences, if you’ll excuse the imminent pun. Because there were no conveniences. Something you’d never have given a thought to back in that rosy past when everyday aspects of our lives were so thoughtless and casual.

But, here I was, beachside, and buying a cup of coffee – more on that later – at a food truck positioned by the side of the road, and I needed to pee. ‘Where,’ I asked the person cooking sausages to put in buns, ‘is the nearest toilet?’ Waving a hand vaguely to the east, she replied, ‘Oh, about a mile that way, I hope you’re not walking!’ Bloody good thing we weren’t.

Relief!

Off we drove along the coast, clutching said coffee, getting a bit more desperate with every passing minute. Could we find the damn place? No. There was no one about to ask, obviously, on such a filthy day, as we scanned every building for some sign of relief. Finally, hidden behind a hedge in need of trimming, we found it, only the disabled area open. Phew! No wonder everyone is peeing in peoples’ front gardens in recreation spots this summer. We were that close!

 

Coffee to die for

So, back to the coffee. When we finally had the peace of mind to drink it, it was absolutely delicious. The best cup of coffee I’ve had in years. Decades, perhaps. It was cold brewed, apparently. I didn’t know that was even a thing, but apparently – as further research has revealed – it removes around 67% of acidity from the brew, makes it more mellow. You soak grounds in cold water, store it in the fridge, then use the concentrate to make hot or cold coffee. There’s simple equipment you can buy – more research needed. But has anyone out there tried it? Love to hear if you have.

More from Hilary’s weekly ramblings