Day 20 of 80 — Apricot

Around London in 80 days

In these uncertain times, I need a lifeline and a horizon so I have — somewhat arbitrarily I’ll admit — set a date. April 1st will be my horizon ; my lifeline will be the 80 days separating me from it.

And as I cannot go around the world right now, I give you A Mad Belgian’s “Around London in 80 Days” : eighty impressions of London, eighty stories, places, thoughts from my experience of this wonderfully mad and maddening city.

Day 20 : Apricot

On a little London corner, tucked between Tottenham Court Road Station and the now gone Enterprise Rehearsal Studios, there was a tiny Turkish café named Apricot. They sold delicious fresh food and heavenly Chai lattes. I was often in the area, the place was often opened late, and so I got used to going there when I fancied a respite from the busy city. An alternative to the pub if I fancied a quiet read with a hot drink for a change.

Over time, I got to know the owner, a very open bearded Turkish man. We talked about anything, about everything ; we did not always agree, far from it, but became friends. And when times were hard, in my early days in London, he would always look out for me ; helped me find a place to live, said there would always be food for me there if I needed it. The place felt like a home away from home.

Sometimes, when the sun was shining, I’d sit outside, on the tiniest terrace. And meet other regulars for this central London treasure ; once, another musician turned up, on a break from Denmark Street, and we had impromptu jams over cake & coffee.

Then the redevelopment came, and the rehearsing studios, the shops, the 12-bar club, the Alley cat, and my dear Apricot went. But fond memories of that place accompany me in every step of my new London life.

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