Arabica Coffee House

On a last minute weekend break from London, I'm back in the motherland. Though when people ask me where I'm from (often expecting the answer Poland) I answer 'near Bedford', I'm not. I'm from Rushden. This relatively new cafe has taken residence in the former legendary department store of my youth Peter Crisp. It was one of the last remains of Rushden's hey-day, and in my head it was the kind of place where novels like The Borrowers took place or where the Famous Five would've bought their picnic baskets. Now it has been chopped up and houses a Tesco Express and this very un-arabic cafe. Numerous factors give it the air of a University Halls communal area; the crappily hung motivational posters, soft-rock radio station, cheap leather sofas, IKEA art, even worse local artist watercolours, an acoustic guitar and chattily whimsical signage. Mind you, I never lived in halls, but the few visits I had to friends' made to them feel like an am-dram stage set of Central Perk. The girl serving me can barely be sixteen, though it's probably a great Saturday job. I'm basically the only customer as it is hot and Rushden is otherwise engaged.

An iced coffee is £3, comes in a pint Coke glass.

Arabica Coffee House, 9-11 High Street, Rushden, Northamptonshire, NN10 9JR