For their first article in a series of columns scouring Exeter’s coffee establishments, Emily Harris and Catrin Hughes ponder life’s big questions whilst sipping coffee in the Glorious Art House….
“But what else is a chicken gonna do with an unfertilised egg?”
Upon nibbling on some complimentary vegan banana bread, we decided vegans must like dry food. After this revelation, Emily decided on a brownie and cloudy pear juice while Cat went for an egg mayo sandwich and spiced chai latte.
The coffee shop was somewhat reminiscent of Ugly Betty-chic, with its bright walls, unusual artwork and the feeling that we were probably too uncool to be there. Across from our charming wooden table was a bike wheel, come wheel-of-fortune mounted on the wall.
We used each option as a catalyst for conversation, as we realised we didn’t actually have that much in common.
Eat some cake
“How’s the brownie, Emily?”
“Er, it’s alright Cat. How’s the sandwich?”
“It’s pretty bloody luscious. Although I think the egg/bread ratio could be revaluated, as this slice here is quite thick and I haven’t yet got to the egg.”
“But the presentation of that sandwich and salad was compositioned as gloriously as this wonderful Day of the Dead canvas behind me, which is for sale you know.”
Buy some art
“Emily, I don’t think I buy enough art.”
‘Well, look how excellent this unusual selection of art is that scatters these walls.”
“It seems very colourful, very contemporary – a mish mash of texture and found materials”.
“Yes, Cat. That it seems.”
We ventured up the wooden stairs, as Cat realised she needed the toilet, and discovered a collection of photographs taken by local photographers. While we liked a few, overall we decided we could take most of them ourselves and probably Instagram with a filter – perhaps Rise, perhaps the new Ludwig. We appreciated the idea nonetheless. Up the community and that.
Quit your job
“I’d like to work here. I currently have no job to quit. Tesco rejected me the other day.”
“That’s sad Cat, you’ve had looked dashing the uniform.”
“I know Emily. That’s why I went for the job.”
While discussing Emily’s ‘Turtle-neck and Tequila’ themed birthday party a few days before, Cat flashbacked to how her legs had reflected her namesake.
“I felt very revolutionary – a skirt and unshaved legs. How Second-Wave Feminist of me.”
“Sometimes you need the extra layer of insulation. I got that layer via vodka. Sadly.”
“Ah yes. I recall. But what a great night”
“It was swell like this brownie. So moist”
Kiss a stranger
It had been a good while since we had indulged in this activity. We considered the barista but he was less than interested and it was possible that he was a vegan, and was thus offended by our earlier musings. He was very insistent we ate the vegan bread, you see.
Write a novel
“With the free Wi-Fi, the Glorious Art house would indeed be a glorious place to work.”
“Think how edgy you’d look here, Cat. With your mac, your chai latte and your Sylvia Plath poetry.”
“There’s an Instagram in that.”
Grow a beard
Neither Cat nor Emily had ever thought of growing a beard, but now they did.
Dance in the street
Cat recalled how she had had a little dance in the street on the eve of Emily’s birthday, after smashing a wine bottle in an act of attempted sass.
“Cat, that was a little immature of you. I’m 20 now, I can tell you what to do.”
“No you can’t Emily.”
Emily and Cat didn’t talk for a short while. The air was filled with tension (and the lovely accompanying tunes of James Morrison – perfectly fitting the ambience)
Have another coffee
“Would you have another coffee here Cat?”
“With the student discount and the more than reasonable prices Emily, I certainly would. However I would demand more egg in my sandwich.”
“You can’t have everything Cat.”
Emily and Cat left the aptly-named Glorious Art House and went their separate ways, after an eventful morning. Following several instances of tension, their friendship looked uncertain. But what was far from uncertain, was their strong appreciation for the coffee house.
Catrin Hughes and Emily Harris, Lifestyle Columnists
All photos other than those captioned are the columnists own.bookmark me