Thursday, 22 January 2015

Sitting in a Cafe

I'm sitting in a cafe again and finding it much too warm.  Of course I did put on more than one layer, which was perfectly comfortable at home but I forget how hot it gets in the cafes.  I am ready to go into the washroom and remove my tights and the cotton camisole under my sweater or at least I am fantasizing about it.  I probably won't do it.  I've just indulged in a large latte too which adds to the warmth.  I guess I should have ordered an iced coffee but it doesn't quite go with that urge to be cosy one gets in winter.

This cafe has a television but it is on the House and Home channel not the sports channel.  I am one of six or seven people in here, and although they do a steady business they are not full like my neighbourhood cafe, which is currently the only cafe in Comox.  When I saw how busy it was and even just counting all of the cars parked around it I decided to drive into Courtenay, the slightly larger community that is about ten minutes down the road.  Cafes abound here but I have a few favourites.  Courtenay has a charming little shopping area downtown but it is struggling.  The big box stores and strip malls get most of the shoppers and a downtown with independent businesses struggling with high rent is making this lovely little area increasingly unfeasible.  I feel guilty sometimes that I come here for the ambiance and don't spend a lot of money, though I would like to.  The best shoe store in the area is here and I do buy something there once in awhile.  There are clothing and home decor shops and even a shop dedicated entirely to socks.  But some of the spaces are empty now as businesses fail or relocate to a less expensive location in a less charming area.

I live in a community where shopping basically means driving.  Groceries, clothing, hardware, household goods, shoes, supplies for your hobby, whatever it is you need are all located widely apart on busy roads as the community grows and sprawls.  When I was a little girl both Comox, where I live, and Courtenay, our neighbour, were significantly smaller, had one distinct downtown area each and although there was no competition, merely one grocery store, one hardware store and one drugstore in Comox and the same plus two very small departments stores in downtown Courtenay, I find myself nostalgic for those days.  Lack of competition means higher prices but the competition from a community's growth comes with a different price.  Comox has not managed to create a downtown core as charming as the one in Courtenay, although I still prefer to live in Comox for its smaller size and prettier location on the water.

The downside to coming into Courtenay to a cafe is the burning desire afterwards to just pop into a shop. And then another and then another and of course there will be temptations.  The best way around that is to take along my camera and go in the other direction, away from the shops and down to the park along the river.

It's a relatively new park, about ten years old by now and was once the site of a lumber yard and a collection of little cabins set up as a motor court.  There are many newly planted trees that have not reached a mature height yet and berms were created in the centre of the land in order to make a lengthier walking path that doesn't just go around the perimeter.  The park is often used as a site for markets and concerts so much of the grassy areas are kept free of plantings or playground equipment.  I found someone asleep on the gazebo, completely cocooned against the cold.

And I spotted a nest high in the trees which I believe is a blue heron's nest.

At the end of the trails I came to the place where the trail goes under the bridge and over to the park that is across the street.  The walk along the river continues and the park is a large athletic park.  Walking under the bridge terrifies me, and it would even if there weren't cars on it.  There is something about being under a large structure that makes me uncomfortable so I dared myself to go under it.  I took a deep breath and scurried,

And here is my evidence that I made it to the other side.

Then I remembered that I had to go back. 


  1. Lovely winter walk amongst the sillhoettes. We have a mall here...nuff said! :-( xo Jazzy Jack

  2. Lovely photos ... I can almost feel the cool, crisp air.

  3. thank you for not going shopping and taking photos instead - and showing them to us. :-)
    the trees, the light, the funny faces on the wood railing.... i feel like i walked with you, spotted the birds nest, rested on a bench and chatted away with you. and had a little laugh about your bridge adventure because i can totally relate to that. but had to come over it while living in a big city with lots if scary 19.century bridges all over the place, even city railroads on stalks along the streets.......
    dying little towns are very common around here too this days. our little "königstein" is on the way to ghosttown :-/

  4. Beautiful day and such a lovely walk, Shawna! I felt like I was there with you. I adore walks in parks, on trails etc, etc. In fact, I worked on our family photos just yesterday and thought to make a post dedicated to them. It happened again - thoughts, ideas are flying in the air, meeting from time to time. :) I loved this drawing of many smiley faces - so friendly and happy. I wonder what your drawings look like these days. Love xxx

  5. I want to come visit. It's so beautiful!

  6. You write so beautifully, the coffee and your description of being too warm is perfect (I overheat so easily, it's such a bugger) I particularly enjoyed our walk through the park too, such an intimate post Shawna, I felt I was with you too (obviously not in a creepy stalker way, that's just weird ;-) *grammar problem? how do I put the extra bracket after the smiley, we never covered that one in school - have a wonderful weekend lovely x x x

    1. It is a problem definitely lacking in the basic school curriculum! I would probably attempt a square bracket and even better if I could make it coloured. xo

  7. Thanks for taking me on your walk Shawna, looks like a lovely day. Always so nice to get outside in the fresh air.

  8. I love your descriptive writings, I can almost feel the suffocating warmth of the cafe :-D I'm so sick of stupid huge malls and big stores ruining local smaller business, it's sad. Louis CK made a whole rant about that, I think it was on The Oppie and Anthony show.
    You have an almost identical park like ours, we even have a bridge :-D

  9. Gorgeous photos ... thanks for sharing them!!! I enjoyed the walk along with you!

  10. so well written..and such a lovely winter walk...I love those.


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