Saturday, 14 May 2011

Cafés for me

My favourite coffee shop has closed down. I wandered up with friends and saw the A4 lined paper with the black permanent marker sign; 'Closed Down - thanks for all your support over the last year'. Rachel and Aimee were very sympathetic (although 30 minutes later they were a little stuck for reassuring words!) For the next half an hour I was in complete shock, muttering to myself as we drove back to Ripon. I ran inside the cottage, simply for me to access the internet to find out what has happened. I've looked all over the internet and nothing.

It was called The Laden Table. The walls and tables were a crisp white and the milk was served in miniature milk bottles. It was beautiful, and a little retreat which provided me with Poppies For Grace post-it notes, buffalo mozzarella sandwiches and blueberry cupcakes- it was a place to bring friends. I don't think I would have survived my teaching placement in North Yorkshire without it.

All this emotion got me thinking. Cafes are like homes. You can make any cafe your home, even for a morning. The first morning working in Manchester I went to a Starbucks for a big Vanilla Latte. I sat there for half an hour in a corner, buried myself in a book (although I was not engaging with it because of that distracting nervous feeling). Independent coffee shops usually triumph though. Leonards Coffee Shop in Durham excels in creating a homely atmosphere. It has seen thousands of students nestle in it's comfy leather sofa in the new upstairs extension. They go to the toilet are greeted by three ducks happily sitting in the corner. Their loyalty card has daisies on it.

Lempicka in Beverley is another favourite location. Painted with French inspired murials and selling luxury chocolate truffles, it felt like Chocolat in an actually cafe. So many conversations happened there; 12-14 years old. Friends told me they were leaving the area, breaking up with a boyfriend or questioning their very existence.

The Laden Table was as tranquil as a Spa but as cosy as a log cabin in the depths of winter. People brought Apple Macs and read Country Living as the children played with the wooden kitchen. Described as a 'creative community in the heart of North Yorkshire' there was a vision behind it that was deeper than the shop's foundations! As we walked around the corner I told Rachel and Aimee, 'This lady completely inspires me...and it's become one of my favourite places'. Confronted with an empty shop with its lights turned off and the fairy lights crumpled up in a pile on the table...I felt like my house had just been robbed. People often talk about 'soundtracks for their lives' or they associate meals with a certain places. It'll be cafe's for me.

Monday, 2 May 2011


Some poetic/song writing time emerged a couple of weeks ago with Jake. This is the product of some good 2 hours. It's changed slightly to fit with music, but this was the skeleton of the song.

Let's plump up the cushions; but will it mask the foul?
Creating order for you - to win you back somehow.
So we lie picking...wallpaper in our hands
You looked up to the ceiling, why could I not understand
You sat back so quiet, so very to yourself

You're so secret, the taboo, the white elephant in the room
So secret, the taboo, the white elephant in the room

Recurring dream, your single theme is that I, I'm not enough
But I was only waiting for you to see if you'd understand love

I review the setbacks, the crushing defeats.
She said; 'Look how my dress twirls. Watch my dancing feet...
In these tired walls, I ...finely feel free

Though I will dance, and I'll dance, and I will dance...only for me...

Recurring dream, your single theme is that I, I'm not enough
But I was only waiting for you to fall, fall back in love (whatever that is)

Hope, follow me through, follow me in
Never depart for then I have Hope
Never let go

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Lovely, lovely man!


“Give me but one firm spot on which to stand, and I will move the earth.” - Archimedes

I stumbled across this quote from a lady that runs a wonderful little coffee shop near to Ripon, where I've been living for my final teaching placement. I looked it up, and traced it's author. I love these little Greek nuggets. Don't get me wrong, they were incredibly elitist but once they were at the top of their game they knew their stuff. They were wonderful teachers as well. Some of the great scholars would have open air schools of philosophy. Their students would continue the school, pass on their teachings or even write it down. We have his students to thank for all we know about Aristotle. The man who wrote this was actually a Greek engineer, who invented leverage. I saw this quote and thought it was really quite profound, but then realised it's actually just very practical. Refreshingly simple, but because of that l think it has a lot to say!

Thursday, 21 January 2010


'Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out...Either we have hope within us or we don't; it is a dimension of the soul, and it's not essentially dependent on some particular observation of the world or estimate of the situation.'
Havel, The Politics of Hope

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Monday, 17 August 2009

Joy is my chant...

Wandering around Covent Garden is good for the soul. Buying lunch from the food market on a Thursday in August has to be done at least once in your life. Sitting in St Paul's Church garden, eating tomato and basil foccacia was a delight. Inspired by my trip to Neal's Yard I decided to start my latest project. I painted a trellis gold, wrapped orchid fairy lights around and hung it on the wall in my bedroom. I'll keep filling it up with nick nacks as time goes on.