Let me tell you about a fun place in Glasgow’s West End: Café Circa.
The “Circa” part of their name comes from the fact that, as well as being a café, they sell vintage things:
It’s odd to see things from the same era as your own childhood sold as collectables! Although, since I didn’t grow up in Britain, quite a few of the things aren’t all that familiar to me.
One thing I bought here for a present I did recognise from my first trip to England as a teenager: a coin box for the phone. The first thing to explain is that even until the 1990s, not everyone in Britain had a telephone. Michael’s family in England didn’t get a phone until the mid-1980s. It was considered an expensive luxury rather than a necessity. There was a call box two streets down, and in an emergency the neighbours would take messages or allow them to make a short phone call. When we came to Scotland in 1992, people would ask “Are you on the phone?” rather than what your phone number was.
If you did have a telephone, you might well have a little coin box next to it, where anyone in the house who made a call could contribute money towards the phone bill. Along these lines, gas and electricity was often paid for via a coin-fed meter on the wall. If you ran out of money – no heat or light. It’s easy to be nostalgic, but actually the good old days weren’t always such fun.
However, there I was, able to treat myself to coffee – cappuccino no less! – and a slice of ginger loaf. (The phone box I purchased is on the table in the photo above, and in the upper right of the photo below.)
I very much enjoyed my treat, served on vintage china. And I enjoyed listening to the chat of people sitting nearby, as well as those coming in for take-away coffees and food. It’s a very nice family-run café and if you’re in the area, I would encourage you to take a step back in time and go to Café Circa.