Sometimes you just need a huge slab of chocolate cake, a pot of tea and a white-haired wizard noodling away on a guitar on a Saturday afternoon. Are you with me?
A few tasks to complete forced me to venture into the heaving heart of Southampton city centre this afternoon. I fought my way through crowds and dodged the increasingly icy rain.
It was not enjoyable.
Jobs done, I decided to reward myself the best way I know how: baked goods. I opted to take refuge from the winter weather in a warm cafe of some description. A conversation I had at work this week rang in my memory where a friend of mine had visited The Art House. This is a place I had been to once before many years ago. I remembered liking it and not really having any reason why I hadn’t returned.
So The Art House soon became my destination. And as soon as I entered, a warm glow took over. It’s a busy, colourful nest. Beautiful art, posters and numerous chalk boards adorn the walls. And most warmingly, there was a man singing and playing the guitar in the corner next to the shed (I love that it’s the type of establishment to have a shed – with fake grass and flowers on the roof). http://www.thearthousesouthampton.org
I ordered my tea and cake and took a seat. It was most enjoyable to just sit and not ‘have’ to do anything. All I had to do at that particular moment was enjoy the music on offer. The gentleman with the guitar was entertaining the small, yet full cafe with a range of songs. He worked his way through some old classics and some I’d never heard before. One of my favourites was when his fingers plucked at the strings in such a speedy way to create a Spanish sounding strain.
The musician had a kindly face and smiled happily between songs as the smattering of applause rang around the room. I have to admit that on a few occasions I got distracted by his shirt. He wore a stripy orange, pink, red, white and grey number that in no small part reminded me of the table cloth that forever laid on the kitchen table of my late nan and granddad’s house. And I don’t mean that to sound like a negative; I bloody loved that table cloth. And I have such strong memories connected to such a small detail.
Maybe this association is one of the reasons I felt so warm and comforted by being in The Art House. Or maybe it was the cake. Or maybe the cluttered décor surrounding me. Or maybe the soothing guitar sound.
Or most probably, it was a combination of it all. And I couldn’t think of a better way to spend a cold, rainy Saturday afternoon. I mustn’t leave it so long next time.