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Back Buzz - September 23, 2012

pumping heartTop 22 Coffee Shop, Promenade, Bridlington, East Yorkshire

A few weeks ago we managed to get away for a night's break. As we were craving the sea we chose Bridlington. "Brid", as it's known to Northerners, is a pleasant seaside resort and small fishing port located on the North Sea. We spent the afternoon and evening exploring the tiny harbor area, enjoying some fresh fish and chips, and sampling some of the hostelries.

The next morning, after finding the dishwater coffee in our B&B was doing nothing for our hangovers, we decided to stop for a proper coffee before returning home to Sheffield. In an oxymoronic fashion we drove along the Promenade searching for signs of espresso. When we spotted a place called Steps Coffee House we stopped and parked, only to discover on entering that the concept of coffee house had been misunderstood: although they offered cappuccinos on their menu, the waitress claimed they didn't do espresso drinks. We then tried the JD Wetherspoons pub down the road, as we know the pubs in this national chain all serve breakfast and espresso.

But this Wetherspoons was doing a surprisingly roaring trade in beer this morning, and the queue at the bar for any sort of drink was unbearably long.

So it was down the road again, where we finally came upon Top 22. Inside the tiny corner cafe two women were working, one of them obviously the very friendly owner. We asked if we could have two double macchiatos, and although neither woman knew what a macchiato was the owner was more than willing to learn. Andrew gave her instructions and added that we like ours especially strong, which she was happy to do. As she steamed the milk she explained that most of her customers are older people who prefer their coffee weak, which is something I've never been able to understand. I mean, why not have tea instead if you really don't appreciate coffee?

The cafe also offers pastries, sandwiches, paninis, and jacket potatoes. The drinks are cheap, with a coffee being £1.20 and a cappuccino £1.70 although at the time of our visit the coffee wasn't freshly ground, so this is obviously reflected in the prices. As we sipped we chatted away with the owner about coffee, cafes, and Bridlington locals. When Andrew mentioned that her prices were low and that most urban cafes charge much more for their espresso drinks, the two women listened intently while I secretly gasped at Andrew's foolishness. Sure enough, when it was time to pay and leave, the younger woman smiled broadly and said, "That'll be five pounds, please!" Oh well, live and learn...

Speaking of foolish things reminds me of the shockingly early Christmas announcements I've been appalled by, since we're only up to September. And this reminds me of an e-mail idea I sent to my Bay Area friend a couple of years ago (the prices have been updated):

A couple of Christmases ago I read a Guardian article about how a Pittsburgh banking service had estimated that the price of giving one's true love the items in "The 12 Days of Christmas" had gone up 10.8 percent in the past year, costing $96,824 for the 364 items in the song. The price of gold had gone up 30% and entertainment hire costs had increased, and turtle doves and French hens had gone up by 78 percent and 233 percent respectively. The price of lords a-leaping, however, probably went down because of the parliamentary expenses scandal. So for true romantics, why not a budget 12 Days of Christmas? On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me: