Nature watch in the city

… or lack thereof, at least for a while.

The Moroccan tea room and cake shop where my dad and I occasionally have tea together is an amazing place. The ladies that work there are dolls. Tea is lovely, made from fresh mint and with just the right amount of sugar. And the cakes are the most fabulous Moroccan cakes in town. It’s not very hard to make North African cakes when you’re not too dedicated: just pound together some almonds and sugar, dip the result in glucose and stack them on shelves, and if they all taste the same, well, it’s the customer’s problem. Well, what happens in that shop is the exact opposite: they put a loving care into making all their cakes subtly different, even when they mainly use almonds and sugar. And they dip them in real honey, not glucose.

Now for all summer, the tea room attracted a very particular sort of customers. A swarm of bees had apparently settled near the place, and there were bees everywhere, in and out of the shops. Flying around the window. Gathering on the tables to lick the honey from the empty paper cups. Sometimes licking the honey from the cake you held in your hand without waiting for you to have a bite, and so engrossed that you could bring the cake inches away from your face to watch how they did it and they didn’t care a bit. Did you know bees have a kind of long forked tongue they use to lick at their food? They dart it back and forth, like cats drinking. And they won’t stop even if you ask politely. I did tell you the cooks in that place use good honey for their cakes.

There are no bees now, even if you still don’t need a coat to go out. The figs are all fallen from the trees and their liquor seeping into the ground, and they’ve put the chestnut booths back into the streets.

Autumn is here for good.


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