For the past ten months I’ve been getting up early to write. To do this I’ve needed two things. Coffee and a cold shower.
I possess three stovetop Mokas as shown in the photo below.
A 3-Cup, a 6-Cup and a 12-Cup. Which one I use depends on how tired I am. If I’ve slept like a baby, I’ll use the 3-Cup, if I’ve dreamt about terrifying boars charging through the house, the 6-Cup. If I’ve finished a box of Bordeaux, the 12-Cup.
It makes life easier to know that my morning routine is marked out on the side of Italian kitchenware rather than have to think about it for myself. Choosing between 3, 6, or 12 isn’t too difficult at seven o’clock in the morning, even for me.
But of course, it’s not all about the coffee pots. There is the small matter of the actual coffee as well. Although once or twice I’ve been so obsessed with them, feeling their lovely hexagonal bottoms, that I’ve forgotten to put the coffee in and foolishly brewed up a nice cup of hot water for my breakfast.
I have three blends of coffee on hand at all times. A standard French one, which is not particularly strong but fairly bitter. An Italian one which is certainly strong, yet pleasantly sweet. And an exotic one – the country varies – which I keep for special occasions like a Friday, or a bank holiday.
And as with the coffee pots, the blend I use depends on how tired I feel. I’ll opt for a French 3-Cup if I’ve had a full ten hours – my preferred sleeping quota. Or a heady 12-Cup Italian if I’ve slept like a dog.
After I’ve chosen, I whack it on the gas and dash outside for my shower: a hose hung from the Tree of Heaven next to the woodshed as shown:
I stand under it for five minutes controlling my breathing as best I can, even in winter, feeling my blood vessels dilate as the icy water trickles down my body and onto the grass.
This is the best part of the day. Even after ten months the fear of getting under the icy water is still so strong that by the time I’ve finished I feel like I’ve achieved something monumental. And the day has barely begun.
I then dry off and rush inside just as the coffee pot is making that beautiful gurgling noise that sounds like someone is politely clearing their throat. My body is refreshed and my mind is going to get the caffeine hit it craves. All that is left is to sit down and start writing. The day has begun.