In the eight months since then, I think I myself have travelled further down my personal path as a sketcher. This is the drawing I made that day in early spring, done in the little side room that the staff give to groups:
and below is the drawing I made yesterday, done in the main café itself. I left the pens in my pencil case and took my 3B pencil for a meandering walk around the lines of these old ladies' forms. I know it doesn't have the same "pow!" as a drawing rendered in ink, but it felt really good to not have to think about mistakes (even though I didn't remove any lines). It was the fact that I knew I could have removed lines that made the difference.
The tearoom is a great place. The food is seasonal, really excellent, cooked with care by the tall, patrician Claire and her staff, and the atmosphere is always just right. The staff will accommodate you if you're in a group - memoir-writing class, sketching class, they don't mind - and they don't charge you a penny more than you spend on your tea and coffee (and maybe a nice slice of cake). Other venues will charge the teacher €25 for an hour, to cover electricity and things, but perhaps in Claire's they have confidence that you'll succumb to their goodies. (They're usually right.)
Whatever the reason, there are always lots of punters in Claire's. These two ladies looked so comfortable at their table against the wall, a glass of red for the lady on the left, a glass of white for her friend. They chinked their glasses as they drank a toast to something.