For four or five years I've been meeting friends for coffee nearly every Monday morning, first with just Little Feet and then with Big Grin joining us too when she was born, and then without Little Feet as she went to Nursery and then school. Over time the friends have changed too: people have come and gone and the numbers have waxed and waned. The day we had a posse of 15 and had to push 3 tables together was a good day. For the last 3 and a half years we've met in Ikea Coventry and availed ourselves of free tea and coffee thanks to their family card scheme. We've learnt how to play the system, how to beat the queue if all you require is a few mugs and don't want to get stuck between the barriers, herded towards the 99p cooked breakfasts.
And then, all of a sudden, it was over. Everyone except Big Grin and I had somewhere else to be, but it wasn't announced and celebrated. We didn't have a Last Monday, clanking our Ikea mugs together toasting our lives and times. There was just a realisation that we hadn't met for a couple of weeks and weren't likely to in the future except for exceptional circumstances. And it was a bit sad.