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Coffee-time counsel

January 16, 2010
Crackenback Cottage Maze

Sign on part of maze

En route to our hedonistic hiking location we traditionally stop for lunch at the historic and delightfully rustic Crackenback Cottage and Restaurant. We’ve noticed over the years that they seem to like to tease their guests with words and ideas…and of course these particular guests are not averse to that!

My first example though comes not from the restaurant but from the maze on its doorstep (in the same complex): See right. Now, that’s a bit too deep for me at lunch time!

But, back to the restaurant. Some years ago, under previous owners, the restaurant’s paper napkins contained the fun little promotion:

There being no place, like this  place, near this place, this must be the place.

And then this year, with the current owners also clearly interested in entertaining their guests, our coffees came with a little quote tucked under the cup. Here are the two we received:

Use soft words and hard arguments. (English proverb).

Fair enough…but then…

Use your enemy’s hand to catch a snake. (Persian proverb)

Oh dear – not such lovely counsel from a pretty cafe! Anyhow, from what I am reading now about the English in Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall it would not have surprised me if the latter one had been ascribed to the English. Here is Mantel:

The English will never be forgiven [by the French at least] for the talent for  destruction they have always displayed when they get off their own island…

…and she goes on to chronicle the havoc wreaked by English armies not only against armies but civilians. But this is a long way from coffee-time and hedonistic hiking, and so I shall leave that for another day …

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