My Parents grew up in North Wales, Far Far Far North Wales, my Mother in a little village outside of Bangor and Father on the island of Anglesey. We went up there a couple of weekends ago to visit my Grandfather, still living in the house my Dad was raised in. I have many memories of running on the beaches in the unspoilt nature, up sand dunes and dashing away from the freezing cold waves. It was a pleasure to return with my own children now and show them the sites, but the sites have changed.
We didn't take flasks of tea, pack sandwiches or even put a few custard creams in our pockets for the walk by the waves. Instead, we visited boutiques, chain clothing stores, there's a large supermarkets, and of course there are cafes, restaurants, coffee shops, coffee houses, bars, gastro pubs... it goes on.
My grandfather grumbled when I told him we were going for coffee one morning, 'coming up here, building that thing, charging that price...' it went on. But for me, this great imposition he was describing was my sanctuary. We stayed there for hours.
The coffee, at best could be described as alright, there were glimpses of the last revolution in coffee; latte glasses and long spoons. As a sat with my family and we drank (a few rounds) I wondered if I should also share in the sadness that the place I had known as youngster was changing, or if in fact I should celebrate the arrival of my culture here on this remote island otherwise untouched by so many fads.
But as I sit here now and write, several weeks on, I reflect on the conversations I had with my father who I see rarely, and looking through my notebook I find a drawing he did of a caravan as we discussed our next family holiday to Scotland, and doodles he did of my daughters. Whilst the stark glass and steel building distracted the eye from the dunes and sea it was here more memories were made as a family, and so I'm reminded of what can happen over a cup of coffee and I'm warmed and comforted that whilst change comes and touches even the remotest of places there'll always be chance to create memories - and at £2 a cup, I think that's damn good value.