Today I enjoyed the unaccustomed treat of an early morning breakfast meeting at Bugatti's with colleagues eager to describe a recent fact-finding tour of US campuses. In contrast, my usual journey to work is to cross the dining room from my bedroom to my study. I flick the start up button on my PC , throw open the study doors onto the veranda and allow the fountain's babble of water drown out rush hour traffic rumbling past the walls of Thatchwick.
At 6.30 am this morning, pleasantly expelled from my insular workaday world , I was amazed at the individual 'offices' rapidly set up on nearly every table. Waiters took orders for bacon and eggs, waffles and juice, coffee and croissants while laptops flickered to life, Blackberries appeared, diaries opened and briefcases overflowed with papers and files. Then the 'offices' filled up as a companion or two arrived, similarly equipped for that 6.45 am meeting.
Where does everyone come from? Are conventional offices too quiet, too sterile, too much like routine? Is it the bacon and eggs over a latte, so much more attractive than a quick bite in one's home kitchen? Do ideas sprout more effectively in the anonymous buzz created by just-as-busy strangers? Being alone in the crowd?
I am fascinated by idiosyncratic working habits. Churchill wrote or dictated a couple of thousand words a week sitting up in bed. Marx was more conventional and worked in tomb-like silence (I would imagine) in the British Musem from opening to closing. Alice Munro wrote in 'slivers of time' while she did loads of washing and watched over toddlers. And your working habits?