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What Is “”Cosy”"?

Posted on Tuesday 24th July 2007 at 00:00
And so once again I find myself in Starbucks writing to you on my mobile. Does this make me a coffee obsessive? I imagine your views on this will depend on when I decide to post it. It is a mere three days since my last post from a coffee shop was written, but to avoid appearing weird I might postpone putting this one up until next week, when I'll be too busy to write new posts.

My mission today though is slightly different from the last time, as I don't really feel that I need to test the phone any further. Partially I am here to reward myself for trudging nearly 5 miles through the rain to get here, all in the name of fresh air and exercise (not to mention being unfit to drive after a night of heavy drinking) and partially because my last visit got me thinking. The lounge in Starbucks is extremely cosy. Despite being large and crowded and not overly warm, I find it a highly appealing place to spend a wet afternoon such as this, and I want to know why.

The reason for my interest, besides simple curiosity is my expected move to a new home in the near future. This new dwelling will be the first that I am to inhabit by myself, and, despite it being a rented property, I shall be largely responsible for its furnishing myself. The Starbucks lounge has much in common with my current lounge at home; aging furniture, stomach churning carpet, poor lighting, no TV etc, yet it is a comfortable place to be, where as the lounge at home is not.

Since my last visit I have, as I said, given this conundrum some thought. I'd often thought that cosy rooms are generally small, perhaps with a roaring fire in the grate and an insane number of hard back books stacked everywhere, like a master's study in a public school, or a rich man's library. The room in which I sit features none of these things, with the room itself being about as large as the ground floor of my whole house.

Could it be the squashy armchairs and sofas that make Starbucks so very enjoyable? Alas I doubt it. Although I don't have armchairs at home I do have a sofa and a couple of easy chairs, all of which are a treat for the most delicate of bottoms. Is it then the lack of an unwanted draft to chill you as you sit? Well my house is drafty, it can't be denied. From unnecessary air vents in the walls to doors that don't fill their frames, the building has more holes in it than the RMS Titanic. Housing stock built in the 60s has many qualities, but good insulation is not among them.

Is that so different from here though? The new Broadmead Development aside, not much in this part of town is newly built. The shopping centre that encompasses Starbucks was built shortly after the Germans did a very thorough job of removing virtually everything that was here before it. Right now I am sat by the window, trying to decide whether there is more cold air coming in from outside or from the air con system on the other side of the room. Either way, it could be a little warmer.

Might be the view I suppose. I can't be the only one who enjoys sitting around inside when it's raining out. Doubly so if there are people wandering about in the rain whilst I stay dry. In such a situation, even sitting on the bus, stuck in traffic can be strangely satisfying. And the harder it's raining, the better!

Ooo I know this song! The easy listening music is definitely a selling point. Loud enough to be heard without intruding, and just right for almost any mood you might be in. My new house will require a good stereo set up in the lounge, preferably connected to my PC, so as to facilitate easy access to all my music.

My only regret where Starbucks is concerned is that this is the nearest branch to my house, and it is 90 minutes brisk walk away. Even taking the car invokes city centre traffic and a heavy charge for the car park. Not exactly ideal for a quick coffee.

What do you think makes a place cosy? What have you done to your own homes to make them more pleasant places in which to live? All comments welcome.

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