There’s a Timmies near my place where I used to meet up with a friend after walking. It’s a busy place, filled with all sorts, but my favourite group is a gang of older men who come every day for coffee, a read of the paper, and a long chat about everything from time zones in Vegas to gossip about friends.

They are lovely, saggy baggy elephants of men, many of them round, missing teeth, grizzled, but all of them properly dressed and full of laughter.

They don’t know me but they don’t mind my eavesdropping or my occasional comment- they talk loudly enough everyone in the place is included in the conversation.

They tell dad jokes and moan about sports teams and I immediately feel comfortable with them. Like my long gone uncles, they provide a safe masculinity. They are also men who do things- who build or fix or lift or renovate. Their hands are all bent and twisted, broken and stuck back together, scuffed and maybe stained around the nails. I adore competent men.

I’m not a huge Timmies fan (not least because they have removed the apostrophe in Horton’s!!), but I love that they provide this place for these men- a daily communication that keeps them sane and involved. Since malls seem to be going away, these are one of the few places where you can hang out and visit for the price of a cup of coffee. Maybe not the BEST coffee, but I’ll be coming here as long as the guys do, just to get my uncle fix.