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Lake Cowichan Coffee club meant for meeting new people

Being a friendly person is the only requirement to attend
Michael Hammond (Facebook)

Thursdays just got a little more exciting in Lake Cowichan.

A new coffee club has formed and meets at the Riverside Café inside the Riverside Inn from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for a chat and a hot cuppa Joe.

The entry fee? “A friendly personality,” said organizer Michael Hammond, who originally hails from the UK.

“It’s a question of meeting people,” he explained. “I’ve come here from the Cariboo five years ago and there’s definitely a thing where people say it’s very difficult to meet people.”

A worldwide pandemic taking up a significant number of the last five years doesn’t help either, one could argue.

Hammond said that years ago, for the same price of a two-storey, two-garage home in metro Vancouver, he was able to purchase 85 acres of land with a home, a barn and the works. He did so in the hopes of attracting a partner who enjoyed doing the same types of things he does.

It didn’t work.

“So, as they say, ‘If the Mountain won’t go to Mohammad, then Mohammad must go to the Mountain’,” Hammond said, referring to the proverb that teaches: quite literally, if the person you seek isn’t coming to you, go to them, but more figuratively: if the way you’re doing things isn’t working, try a different way.

So, five years ago he ventured to Vancouver Island in search of new people.

“I’ve met some new people,” he said. “I’m 84, but I’m 70 physically and mentally I’m still in my 50s. I’m still with it,” he said with a chuckle.

Hammond enjoys classical music, opera, photography, poetry and he’d like to meet folks who’ve got similar interests.

This coffee club is just another way to meet people, and get to know the folks about town. Hammond said it’s an open club and there aren’t any rules. There are, however, objectives: to make new friends, to have intelligent conversation and to exchange views and opinions.

The first week of the club saw 10 folks show up for a chat and a coffee. The following week there were 20.

“At the moment, I’m the only man there, so last week it was 20 women and me,” he said, following up with his — admittedly British — banter, he added “people ask me how it is being the only man with all those women and I tell them I’ve always wanted a harem and now I’ve got one!”

He’s just being cheeky, of course.

“I’m not looking to make anything out of it whatsoever,” he noted of the club. “I think it’s a good idea that’s all.”

It seems others think so too, though last week the weather turned and only two showed up, but Hammond figures that will be an anomaly as there were power outages dotted around the Lake and things were under snow and/or frozen.

“I think people had other things on their mind,” he admitted.

What’s more, he got a call from a woman in Duncan who thinks it’s a great idea but questions why there isn’t such a club in the city.

Hammond said he approached a popular café in Duncan’s core and has yet to receive a response.

Sarah Simpson

About the Author: Sarah Simpson

I started my time with Black Press Media as an intern, before joining the Citizen in the summer of 2004.
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