A buzz often went around the tea-rooms when the hikers descended upon the courtyard each Thursday from out of the surrounding woodand. They were such a jolly, noisome bunch, full of joy de vivre and bonhomie, eager to engage with all and sundry, to be provocative and outrageous. The staff was energised and up to the challenge, having chaffed with the endless parade of conservative matrons and well-heeled young mothers.
They were known for their sweet-tooth and their proclivity to dispense with any tug of the forelock to the nutrition-nazis and order straight from the desserts page, ensuring that this table in particular sampled the entire offering, waxing lyrical on the tartness of the lemon, or the fineness of the mousse in between the analysis of the mining tax or the meltdown in Europe. Their mock outrage knew few bounds when it came to political ethics.
Their enjoyment was infectious.