Back from meeting with boss with positively outrageous outcome.
Met with boss as arranged late morning in the coffee shop. Arrived before boss and thought it slightly odd when staff said how well I was looking. In any case got my coffee and sat down. Didn't take laptop but had my notebook with me.
Boss arrived shortly after and looking up from doodle I raised my hand in recognition. Staff looked over somewhat confused and from what I could hear said to boss "Oh! So you're his friend!". Tried my best to ignore this curious statement and boss did not mention it as he sat down.
Meeting commenced with boss saying he was generally happy with the work (apparently no pleasing some people) and matters went on to possible future work.
After some time in discussion staff came over and provided two replacement coffees. Boss took out wallet in offer of payment at which point shop owner said no payment was necessary in "special cases like this". Boss begged her pardon and asked what special case this was. Response continued
"Well, we knows times are difficult, and for the disadvantaged we make special exceptions. We can't do it always, mind."
Boss proceeded to look at me hoping for agreement that shop owner was quite mad, and at my great misfortune, she proceeded
"Your friend is homeless. We're pleased he is looking well today, but previously he has been looking quite unwell, and his clothes....". She broke off. Evidently she was somewhat distressed. Boss, quite taken back, opened his mouth in silent surprise.
At this point had to politely inform both shop owner and boss that as it happened was not homeless and moreover quite capable of paying for coffee. Thanked shop owner for previous "charity", evidently to significant amusement to boss, but would be happy to pay drinks accordingly. At which point proceeded to pull a 20 pound note and handed to shop owner.
My change was subsequently returned, with shop owner clearly conflicted between annoyance and embarrassment informing me that "what was I to expect dressing as a common vagabond". Boss proceeded to burst out laughing.
One less coffee shop to visit in the future.