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I’m not one of Nature’s natural early birds. Mornings, early mornings, though beautiful, are not my preferred diurnal habitat. Hitherto in the normal way of things, I only saw early mornings if I’d stayed up through the night – a not unusual occurrance if I had an essay deadline, or when muse-ridden. But now twice a week (at least during term-time) I’m at work by 8 in the a.m. Big deal you might think. But the Bookshop doesn’t open until 9.30. So it’s a big deal to me. There is a certain glow of virtuous satisfaction to be had, and it’s certainly useful to be able to get ahead of the working day before the doors open to the general public. But the night owl , dominant for so long since my daughter stopped requiring my presence before a reasonable hour, is suffering. The more so since my recent bout of unwellness which has made coffee anathema to my body – though not my mind. Caffeine is still available to prop me up, in the oh so retro form of ProPlus tablets (staple of my student days during A’Levels), but they just don’t compare to the leisurely, hand warming comfort of sipping a latte, contemplating the waking world through its aromatic fumes. The lattes will return soon (a week without them and counting), but this early morning malarkey is here to stay.

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