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Now I like coffee as much as the next person but in my little village there are six cafés, with two more planned, I hear. That’s one café for every 1,800 of the population. Surely, that can’t be sustainable even if it does give diversity of choice.

Personally, I prefer the privately owned small outlets rather than the larger chains but the very reasons I like them, might be a cause of their possible demise. They are less busy, so quieter; the Yummy Mummy brigade with their pushchairs and wailing kids seem to prefer the chains (thank god), but they are regular spenders that the small cafés miss out on. Often, the smaller places don’t have wi-fi and that’s a major deficiency now, especially for a writer.

On the other hand, sometimes it’s good to frequent the multiples just to people watch. What is that meeting all about, are they plotting against someone; why does the man of that couple keep looking over his shoulder, are they married but not to each other; that lady looks lonely and sad, I wonder if she’s recently bereaved?

So, what’s the verdict, large or small, private or corporate, or do both have their place in our time? Probably, but eight in one small village?

Ken Balneaves wrote, The Greatest Gift, available at http://amzn.to/QF7RLd (US), http://amzn.to/O12kgX (UK)

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