One thing I really do miss about Canada and the USA are the coffee shops, weather the big brand chains or the small quirky ones where you tend to meet the most eclectic of characters. Here in Ireland we have not embraced the coffee culture as much as some other countries but there are pockets of calm which reside within the chaos of everyday life. The original coffee shop was actually a tea shop that also served coffee, Bewley’s. They were a household name, where you could sit for hours nursing a cup of tea or coffee and be left in peace. For me I spent my free time drawing in Bewley’s, watching patrons come and go, admiring the more eclectic members of Dublin city. Life was never dull, but for me then as now coffee shops are a haven, where I can sit, read and enjoy the delights of a latte or cafe mocha. I think why I am drawn to such places is that they bring me closer to my absent friends, each one having their own specific meeting place. Tim Horton’s English Toffee coffee on a cold afternoon talking about art, Ferrary’s at two in the morning eating chocolate muffins and ice cream, Starbucks for mocha frappuccino’s and cake for breakfast (not the breakfast of champions but who cares), Costa Coffee for a weekly chat, The Coffee Exchange for takeout to sit by the river till dawn admiring the view or Mannings Bakery more interested in the cream cakes than the coffee. No matter how far away friends are there are always places that invisibly connect you. Although you may be sitting alone, their invisible existence’s are always present, whispering the latest tidbit’s of gossip.