Overcast, dreary and drab in London this morning, I thought it best – to avoid the debilitating symptoms of cabin fever – to amble down the street to my local coffee shop for a stimulating brew.

And while it sounds like an ordinary run-of-the-mill activity, I cross into a bustling dimension where kids dance merrily in the doorway, music pulsates pleasantly overhead, friends congregate and discuss the week that was, individuals hone in on their laptops or get lost in their latest read while the baristas take pride in consistently producing liquid, arabica inspired, forms of art. 

A model Qantas jet sits imperiously on a stand at the entrance, reflecting the establishment’s Australian roots. Wishing I could shrink to the size of an ant and hop aboard to a destination far flung, I come back down to Earth and settle for a chart topping flat white. 

I’m not coffee connoisseur by any means, but it’s nice to have found Artisan – through a mate’s recommendation (cheers Tonks) – a coffee shop whose lively ambience is trumped only by its barista’s coffee-making skills. 

It’s a far cry better than festering indoors hoping the sun makes its long-awaited cameo, which is a trap I too often fall into. 

For who knows when the temperamental star (by classification and not performance) will extend its warm touch.

But when it does, thanks to the stimulating nature of a triple flat white, I’ll be outside in a flash, like a cheetah ramped up on speed, to welcome the sun’s far-reaching, albeit sporadic, embrace.

Artisan, a coffee shop in West London, teems with activity on an overcast and drizzly Saturday afternoon in London. ©

Artisan, a coffee shop in West London, teems with activity on an overcast and drizzly Saturday afternoon. ©


Five types of people watchers


Maidenhead, of all places, bustles with activity on this mild and temperate, albeit overcast (no surprise there), English spring Saturday.

Sipping on a flat white I find myself scanning passers-by, fascinated by people’s mannerisms, movements and the way in which they interact.

Locating someone with a smile amongst the clusters is as unlikely as catching a glimpse of a tiger in the Indian mangroves, more rare than an alcoholic passing on a free drink.