The shutters may be down, and the wooden crate stools stacked and packed, but there is still the aroma of freshly brewed coffee in the air at the Saddle & Chick coffee kiosk. It’s a hair past six in the morning, and Ashton Saddle (32) is sipping on a rich black espresso as he leans back against the counter.
“We’ve been pretty much closed since the first lock down”, he explains, “The city has been dead as, you know?”
Lucy (26) is “the current Chick”, she says with a cheeky grin to Ashton – they’ve been married for six years, half as long as “Saddle & Chick” has been open. She adds that their trade is heavily dependent on the office workers who normally pass by in their droves, ebbing and flowing with the work day. During the Covid restrictions it’s just not been economically viable to stay open.
Lucy and Ashton still come to the kiosk every morning though – partly to keep the routine, and to maintain the connection with normality, and partly for more practical reasons.
“Why would we have a coffee machine at home, when we’ve got this beauty here?” Ashton says, patting Juliet affectionately. Juliet is the gleaming brushed chrome coffee machine that – naturally – takes pride of place in the shop. The couple call in every morning, prep and prime the machine, grind enough beans for a double espresso and a long black, make their coffees, and clean up again.
It’s a lot of effort for just two coffees, but it gives Ashton and Lucy a sense of continuity, responsibility and purpose in these disrupted times. And that’s something we can all drink to.