Have you ever tried to get a good cup of coffee in Britain? I tried. I ordered a coffee at a cafe in the north of England during a visit there last year. I was served instant coffee made with milk. It was indescribably horrible. There is a chain of coffee shops throughout Britain that serve reasonable coffee but at unreasonable prices. I call them the Costatoomuch chain. One of the things that is sure to get me back on the big aeroplane is the thought of plentiful good coffee back in Canada.
A Glimmer of Hope
Canadians are familiar with the common, everyday sight of empty Tim Horton's coffee cups parked on store shelves, left in shopping carts, strewn about the streets and - even (albeit only occasionally) filling garbage cans. We all enjoy a cup of the old hockey legend's java but many among us are a little creative when it comes to discarding his famous paper cups. Perhaps it is a new art form, or a way of labelling every inch of this country as "Canadian Eh!"
Sparring for Good Coffee
Now the puck has been shot across the wide blue line to Britain. Tim Horton's donut shops are opening up inside selected Spar grocery stores throughout Britain and Ireland. The legend of the late great Maple Leaf "ice hockey" player may be lost on the British but they are chugging down his coffee at £1.29 a cup.
"Is This A Canadian Pub?"
Are you excited? I was excited when I found a Molson pub in London a few years ago. I prefer brown English beer to anything made by Molson, but the novelty of drinking Canadian beer in England tempted me. I asked the barmaid "is this a Canadian pub"; "yes" she replied as I handed her a $5 bill. Moments later she returned and spat "you're in England now". My pint of Molson Export was remarkably unlike the Molson Export available in Canada. I suspect British Tim Horton's coffee is similarly unlike its Canadian version.
Hold Your Nose and Think of Hamilton
So when you are visiting the British Isles this summer, be sure to grab a coffee eh, at every opportunity and decorate our old home and native land with Timmy's cups just like here in Canada. And when an empty Tim Horton's cup blows across the car park outside your local Spar store, look west - way west - and think of the place where it all started; in a little donut shop in the beautiful and picturesque city of Hamilton, Ontario.
"Comedy always works best when it is mean-spirited" - John Cleese
Author John Corby also writes as "Bulldogge" for the British Canadian newspaper.
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