Dot writes: here’s a thing that irritates me: ordering some standard item, which I am craving, in a cafe, and having them serve it in a silly gimmicky way. Tea is a particular victim. I hate that habit in cafes of continental pretensions of serving you a cup of hot water and a tea bag – which is a rubbish way to make tea, and I think they only do it that way to tell you that if you were as sophisticated as them you would have ordered coffee. The cafe in Waterstones on Dawson St has an interesting variant: the tea is served in a cafetiere, with the tealeaves floating loosely beneath the plunger. After a bit you decide it must surely be brewed, put the plunger down, pour – and get faintly brown hot water with escaped tealeaves on top. One of the cafes in Dalkey has branched out from ruining tea to ruining bagels. They toast them in a sandwich toaster so they come out flattened with a pattern of little ridges. If your child asked for bagels, would you give them a panini with a hole in it?
As you can tell, the part of my brain not taken up with planning the boys’ naps is devoted to matters of great public importance.