My story begins during a visit to the Christmas markets in the vibrant city of Manchester.  My kid and I wandered into an off-the-beaten-track coffee shop, lost, tired and cold.  It was pretty busy and as I looked around I could see only one vacant table right next to the counter and in a corner.  This suited me fine to get out of the hustle and bustle of the market visitors.

During the winter-wear de-robing process I was vaguely aware of a ‘person’ sitting at the adjacent table, I say ‘person’ here as I was completely unaware of their gender, just of their presence.  As we sat down and checked out the menu, in my peripheral vision I could see the plate of food the person was eating.   I turned to the ‘person’ to speak to them and only then noticed it was a Man.

“That looks delicious, what is it?” I inquire.

“It’s their speciality, pancakes with maple syrup, a client told me about this place so I thought I’d try it out on my break” he replied.

And so we got chatting.  Food, always a good ice-breaker.

He told me where he worked, where he was from (not the country we were in), his age (some years younger than myself) about his single status, his odd dating experiences in the city.  Of course, the whole topic of dating pricked my ears as I’m always keen to hear about other people’s views and experiences.

Soon, it was time for my little ‘un and I to leave, I got my purse out of my bag and stood up when the Pancake Man said “please, let me pay.”

“Wow, are you sure?” I asked, stunned that a stranger had offered to pay my bill.

“Yeah sure” he said smiling, “manners cost nothing do they.”

“Thank you, thank you so much that’s really nice of you” I said, still taken aback.  “Listen, it’s been really nice talking to you and I was really interested in the things you were saying about your dates”  I started fishing around in my bag for some paper, “I’m working on something at the moment to do with dating, why don’t you email me, maybe we could talk some more…over coffee, my turn next time though”.

I handed him the note with my email on, said my goodbyes and walked out of the café thinking to myself “what a really nice guy, I’d love to chat with him again I hope he gets in touch” then as the cold November wind caught my breath I turned my mind to how the heck we were going to find out way back to the train station!

To be continued….