It is snowing in Cardiff- are we having April fools day a week late this year?
I tried to keep a window of time clear this year to have time to help out with Sam after his arrival. Since I travel so much of the time, I always tend to enjoy extended interludes at home when I can not only enjoy family time, but also sample some of the pleasures of life in Cardiff, like shopping at the market downtown, sampling some of my favourite restaurants like Café Menuet, or walking in Sophia Gardens. Not all are practical with a newborn, however. Still, I’d much rather buy my dinner from the local butcher and greengrocer than from some huge multi-national corporation-run supermarket, which can be the only option when you’re in a terrible rush all the time.
Along these lines, I recently returned for the first time in a long while to the local coffee roasters in Pontcana. In every other city that I’ve lived in, there has been a coffee house central to the rhythms of my life- Baba Budans in Cincinnati (I actually dreamed about their coffee last night), Café Espresso Royale in Madison (Café Depresso as we used to call it- a classic wear black and read Kafka coffee joint in those days), Stump Town coffee has made my many residencies in Portland all the happier, and then there is the lamented Pendleton Coffee Bean in the hometown of the OES. Sadly, after all these years, I have yet to find such a place in Cardiff, nor have I found a satisfactory local coffee roaster- a terrible irony given that I have the best coffee machine at home I have ever owned.
Anyway, I went back to the local place last week after a dog/baby walk- it’s a beautiful little shop with the roaster on show, run for many years by a local family. Should be perfect, but, sadly, as I remembered, the espresso beans were stale and under-roasted, didn’t generate enough crema and produced a thin, shallow-tasting coffee. It feels like a betrayal of principals to say this, but it was a relief to open a bag of Starbucks espresso beans this morning- when the best you can get is the coffee of corporate power, it’s not a good thing. This reminds me that I need to get to work on my design for the perfect 2nd suitcase- one with a built-in wine case which will hold 12 bottles safely packed in coffee beans…. The UK has alot going for it, but it is not a good place to be thirsty compared to the Pacific Northwest.Speaking of getting it wrong…..
I’ve been trying to get thank you notes out to everyone who has sent a card or note since Sam’s arrival. If we’ve failed, you must remember, we’re not firing on all cylinders yet. Fortunately, we’re not the only ones- there are the friends of Suzanne’s family who were at our wedding who sent us a very sweet card to “Susan and Norman- congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter.” No, that wasn’t received on April Fool’s Day.