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Back Buzz - July 24, 2007

pumping heart Hulley's Café, 736 Ecclesall Road, Hunters Bar, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

Coffee shops come and coffee shops go. The address "736 Ecclesall Road" has been the location of several now-defunct cafes: Duo's, Elan's, Cosy Cottage Coffee Shop, Freon, and more recently the Park Lounge Café.

On a recent muggy Sunday, on a friend's six-month-old recommendation, a group of us were looking for the Park Lounge Café. We finally gave up in our quest and decided instead to try Hulley's Café. It was only through later research that I learned Park Lane had closed and Hulley's had opened in its place.

We sat upstairs where the atmosphere is very peaceful, with plain light wood and soothing Sierra Club-style photos of mountains, lakes, sunsets, otters, and flowers. The photos reminded me of the bedroom of my late teens, which was green with one green-carpeted wall and lots of similar photos, a logical progression from my early teenage black-and-white tiger striped jungle room. So I definitely felt at home here.

Jim, Rory, and Carla all had cappuccinos which were served in very big Starbucks-style cups with chocolate sprinkles. Andrew and I had double macchiatos which were served in cappuccino cups with rather asymetrically haphazard blobs of milk foam. They weren't very pretty, but they were served with demitasse spoons which I always appreciate. And my first sip proved that looks can deceive: the coffee is excellent! It's robust, not too roasted or too hot -- just very good, very fine, and satisfyingly strong. After spending the previous day at a local pub's charity event enjoying live music and lots of beer, this was a double macchiato that got to the point and cleared my head.

We had another round of coffees which were much more attractive in appearance and equally as good. The manager apologised for serving them in the wrong cups, explaining that he was waiting for proper cups to be delivered. The coffee he uses is from Matthew Algie, a roaster based in Glasgow.

My breakfast was very nice as well. The full English and full Vegetarian are both £5.00, which is not bad for the neighbourhood. I was tempted by the roasted smoked salmon scrambled eggs on toast, but as everybody else was having full Englishes I decided to go for the full veggie. The mushrooms were excellent and my veggie sausages were decent. And instead of toast we had thick slabs of freshly baked bread with butter, and the orange juice is freshly squeezed.

All in all, Hulley's is a great place for a relaxed, good quality breakfast -- and, of course, an excellent espresso. I sincerely hope they buck the "736 Ecclesall Road" trend and stick around for awhile.

Speaking of peaceful places reminds me of a recent e-mail exchange with a workmate about brackets:


(shouted over a vast cavern)

(even though I'm not standing looking over a vast cavern. I'm sitting here, as usual, looking at my laptop screen. So there's no reason to stay inside the parentheses. Let me see ---hmm, won't open---)



There. Whew! It's a lot cooler out here.

(did I just hear a distant hallllloooooooooooooo....?) (no. i can't've done)

I like your technique. I always keep my brackets unlocked for this very reason. Sure, they're not nearly as secure as they ought to be, but I'm not sure I've much to steal inside them anyway. They're low security brackets. If it's something I want to keep safe, I use a {} set, because they're harder to force, I find. I finally came to term with my brackets. We signed a contract which went something like this: "I (the undersigned[me]) hereby declare that you (i.e.[curly brackets, i.e. {}]) shall henceforth (what a great word) refer all suggestive clauses (i.e. this one, especially the violet-coloured ones) to be subordinate to what I say, outside brackets and commas, eg. extraneous commas, and, so, forth...(ellipses excluded)..." So far I haven't had any trouble. So far...([{}])... Poor ellipses. How about dashes and colons?

Before long you'll be closing brackets that should be opening and opening brackets that should be closing, and that way lies syntax errors. ...

...I rather like all these elipses... Yes. Ellipses are nice... There's even an ascii elipse. For reasons I've never fully understood. Here it is… Almost indistinguishable from ......

It takes three identical key presses to do ...

... requires me to hold alt down with my left thumb and type 0133 on the keypad. So it's not even quicker to type. Very very silly.