Coding Coffee Shop: November 2017 Tis the season for… Pumpkin Cake!

Tis the season for… Pumpkin Cake

It was 5:30pm and you would have thought it was 9 o’clock. I love everything about Autumn except for coming to work in the dark, and leaving in the same engulfing darkness. It was a classic Autumnal evening; the rain was heavy, and the wind was fierce, it made me think of Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz. Luckily it was the same weather when I had set out for work in the morning, so I’d worn my suede knee boots, my orange high neck Aran jumper dress and a chunky scarf: Autumn clothes were my favourite.

I had arranged to meet up with Clare, who had recently left to take up her new clinical engagement role, and Mandy who was well into her new job at the Classifications service along with Benjamin who had now been contracting for over three months. I couldn’t wait to catch up with them all. It felt like years had passed but in actual fact Clare had only been gone a month!


As I entered the coffee shop, the brass bell announced me with its usual tinkle. The coffee shop was dressed for Halloween: Cobwebs were draped from the windows and the counter and plastic spiders were clinging to the cotton wool cobwebs for dear life. I glanced around and immediately spotted Clare waving from the back. I gestured that I was going to grab a coffee.

The coffee shop was only small, and it was packed this evening. I had to squeeze past a chair which was stuck out in the narrow walkway and then almost tripped over the witch’s broom which was resting on the counter. The counter was a colourful display of orange pumpkin cake, parkin and cupcakes decorated with witches, bats and ghastly ghosts. As I couldn’t spot any of my usual red velvet, I opted for a slice of the pumpkin cake with a caramel latte.

I made my way over to my Clare feeling very much like a pack horse - I had my laptop bag AND handbag over my shoulder which made balancing the pumpkin cake in one hand, and caramel latte in the other hand quite a task. I was relieved when I reached the table with no accidents.

“Clare you look so well, your hair looks amazing! I can’t believe how different you look with red hair, it really suits you” I shrieked giving her a huge hug.

“Thanks Allie. You know what they say a woman who changes her hair is ready to change the world, or something along those lines!” Clare beamed whilst she ran her fingers through her bob. She had a radiant smile and the most amazing set of pearly white teeth. She always wore red lipstick which I’m sure made her teeth look even more incredible.

“I wonder what time Ben and Mandy will arrive” I said, sipping the froth from my latte and looking towards the door.

Clare furrowed her brow. “Didn’t you pick up their messages on the group chat? They can’t make it: Ben’s been asked to work late, and Mandy’s had to go to Leeds on an urgent meeting”

I rolled my eyes. My phone had been playing up lately. A full battery was barely lasting me half the day. “Ahhhh, no I didn’t, I haven’t had any battery since lunch time. I’ll drop them a message when I get home. How’s the new job going? It feels like I haven’t seen you in forever”

 “It’s the best thing I ever did Allie. The commute is a dream, I have a parking permit, so parking isn’t an issue and the team I’m working with have been so welcoming which has made the move much easier. It has been difficult to adjust though, going from knowing the systems inside out to a different system and case notes which are laid out completely differently. They are sorted by doctors rather than specialities like I was used to, which is difficult considering I don’t know any of the doctors yet.” Clare rested her coffee cup down on its saucer.

‘How is it every Trust can organise their records differently? It doesn’t make any sense to me’ said Clare.

“It probably makes sense to them though! Anyway, the change in clinical systems will come in time, you just have to be patient. Can you remember when we changed from Patient Centre to Lorenzo? And even before that when we changed from PAS?! We were all ready to hand our notice in after an hour!” We both cackled. If we weren’t careful they would be asking us if the broom at the counter belonged to us.

“I do miss you though, it’s the little things I miss like how you would always make me a coffee when I arrived in a morning, or how I could ask your opinion if I was struggling to read the doctors’ hieroglyphics. I was shocked by how many new things I’ve had to learn. I thought because I was ACC I would be able to just pick up the job again but there is so much which is different. There are new local policies, how certain doctors document things and different specialities which I’ve not coded before... I feel like I have definitely got my passion back for Coding though. I was starting to become at bit too comfortable,’ confessed Clare, ‘and now I am reviewing everything with a fine toothcomb and going back to basics.”

It didn’t take long for us to get off the subject of work. I filled Clare in on the Office lottery pot, the pay-out currently stood at £120 each for this year, which was £30 more than last year. So, she was thrilled that she had paid her subs to the end of the year before leaving!

I told her Adele had found out she was expecting twins.

We spent a whole half an hour discussing Christmas – Christmas shopping, Christmas markets and where we would be eating Christmas dinner this year.

We pencilled in a Christmas meet up for the 8th December and Clare agreed to let Mandy and Benjamin know.

“I’m not so sure I would have another piece of this! Hopefully my red velvet is back next time.” I said as I shovelled in the last mouthful of pumpkin cake in.

“You’re braver than me, as soon as I saw that it was pumpkin cake I opted for a slice of the parkin. The treacle was so thick and sticky. Proper Yorkshire parkin like my Nana used to make” Clare smiled thinking of nostalgic memories.

I pulled my duffle coat on and wrapped my scarf around my neck three times. I pulled Clare close for another hug as we made our way towards the door and outwards onto the Street. It was still teaming it down and the wind was whipping the leaves into the air in a frenzy.

“See you on the 8th Clare”

“Bye Allie!”

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