Friday, March 09, 2012

I Got 99 Problems but Finding a Coffee Shop Ain't One

In our little town, there really aren't many, shall we say, "retail opportunities". It is a village after all, so I guess you wouldn't really expect that. However, I am continually amazed at the plethora of very-particular specialty shops. For example, on the high street (the main road) tucked between the old-lady fashion emporia and charity shops, there is:
  • a hat maker. You know, silly hats for weddings? Fascinators? They've got 'em.
  • a "sheep shop". As far as I can tell, they sell yarn and knitting paraphernalia. 
  • a bicycle shop. But they only sell bikes for kids and uber-fancy Tour-de-France types of bikes that cost many thousands of dollars. Go figure.
  • a traditional Chinese medicine shop. This one really confuses me since the only Asian person I've seen here is the one who runs this shop. I haven't seen any hippies either.

I often wonder how they stay open. Even though we live in a small town in the boonies, it is Britain and that means exorbitant property prices and equally high rents. Somehow they manage, and I guess if I ever take up knitting or silly hat wearing or professional cycle racing, I'll be in good shape. 

Every single other shop in this village is a coffee shop. I'm not joking. There are TONS of coffee shops and they are always packed. I find this especially peculiar since nobody here really likes coffee. As you probably know, this is a tea nation. People will openly tell you that they don't like coffee. Generally speaking, if you ask for coffee at a restaurant, many places will serve you funky instant Nescafe (It's gross. Don't try it.). So why then, are every single one of the coffee shops rammed full of people drinking big cups of coffee and noshing on "American Style Muffins"?

My theory is this: Often times it is cold. It is also often raining. People like to get out of the cold and rain, so into the coffee shops they go. Honestly, the patrons would probably prefer tea but feel ripped off being charged £2 for something they can make for almost free at home, so they order something fancy instead (for £3 or more). 

I think this theory is probably true. I am even more convinced that it's true since I have observed the patrons of said coffee shops almost never ordering real coffee, but hot chocolate or half-strength mochas and cappuccinos instead. It makes much more sense now. However, I am still very curious as to where these people get their money for expensive non-coffee when none of them seem to be gainfully employed, but that's a story for another day.

The Secret Agent informs me that we are traveling to London tomorrow. I was very excited at this prospect since I've been itching for a good wander around town, some museum viewing, and a decent meal out. He then crushed my hopes by telling me that we won't make it to inner London at all, but instead will remain in the suburbs for him to do some work. This means I will get limited wandering and no museums. We'll probably eat sandwiches on the train.

A happy weekend to all!


  1. Eh, you can get anywhere on the Underground. Covent Garden is good.

    1. Covent Garden is lovely indeed! Ah yes, that is true, but only if you can easily get to the Underground. :)