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Back Buzz - October 19, 2013

pumping heartLa Brasserie, 25 Kirkgate, Ripon, North Yorkshire

A couple of months ago we went up to Scotland for a wedding. Driving back to Sheffield we decided to avoid the motorways and took the more interesting A roads down through North Yorkshire. By late morning we stopped in Ripon for a coffee.

Originally known as Inhrypum, Ripon is the fourth smallest city in England and just over 1,300 years old. By the end of the 1400s it had a thriving wool and cotton industry, and during the 16th and 17th centuries it was famous for its production of spurs. Today Ripon is visited by tourists interested in its impressive cathedral and its market square, not to mention the Ripon Racecourse.

We parked beside the cathedral and wandered into town searching for cafes, and we quickly decided the obvious choice was La Brasserie, located just across from the entrance of the cathedral. We walked through the double-sided cafe to the rear counter where, in the interest of doubleness, we ordered double macchiatos. As the side we were in was a bit dark and rosy rich, we decide to sit in the other side of the cafe that was a bit brighter, with red chequered tablecloths and views of the Cathedral. We sat on stools at a tall table and took in the amusing decor. Empty wine bottles were everywhere, and the walls featured, along with scenic photos, framed quotes about the advantages of alcohol consumption.

Our espresso macchiatos had an unusual presentation, as each of us was served a cup with two shots of espresso and a pitcher of cold milk. It brought to mind breakfast coffee that I'd had at hotels in Paris, so I treated mine as a French morning coffee. In the interest of having a more macchiato experience Andrew attempted to balance his cold milk on top of his espresso, but the experiment failed miserably as the milk plunged into the coffee. (I could have advised him of the folly of this antigravitational attempt, but I think he was just wishing for a bit of magic.)

Still, it was a very nice coffee, and it was served with a tiny square of dark fudge. The food menu on the board outside looked very nice and not too dear at all, with all sorts of seafood and vegetarian options and mains and paninis and small plates.

If you're in need of a toilet as you're passing through or near Ripon, you really must stop into La Brasserie at least for a coffee, because the toilet seat in the Ladies' is the most amazing seat I have ever seen or had the privilege to sit on. Andrew corroborated my excitement after visiting the Gents' and finding an equivalent throne. I have to give top marks to La Brasserie for truly exciting toilet experiences. One could hold court in such a setting.

Speaking of holding court and other meetings reminds me of a recent series of Facebook postings about the latest in Businessspeak:

"Going forward" has officially replaced "ongoing" on my most infuriating stoopid management speak list. Innit. So who's calling the shots on this strategy safari? We need to think outside the box on this one. Blue sky thinking. We need to identify the players first and then run it up the flagpole in a convenient timeframe. Let's park that for now. We can touch base at our next meeting.

Y'know, the pre meeting for the planning meeting about the forward planning. Meeting. cough. Don't be a bottleneck ... I think we should act like professionals and put the whole ball of wax on the back burner. ... at least until we receive the 360 feedback from our action plan.

We don't want to let the grass grow too long on this one. This needs to be actioned ASAP!!!!!! Yes - run it up the flag pole and see if anyone salutes. At the end of the day, we have to move with the cheese. If we can stop using all of these management clichés then we will find that we can punch well above our weight.