Sunday, 29 March 2015


Day three of what is turning out to be the most challenging start to any season so far.
It's raining.
Not only that but it's cold and blustery.
Therefore few people are venturing out.
We did have a lovely group of German tourists, a couple of ladies who bought A LOT of jewellery, a few dogs who had dragged their owners out for walks and, best of all, Jim.

Jim held his 90th birthday lunch with us last year and is a favourite customer. Today he brought his family for lunch. He also brought a good few bruises having rolled his motor scooter last Thursday. Apparently this happened as he attempted to negotiate a kerb, in the dark, on the way home from the pub. My kind of man.

The end of the day was a right old headache. The large gate was battered so much by the winds during the day that it came apart. I couldn't close it. I couldn't leave it open. I couldn't remove the locking chain because it appeared to be the only thing holding part of the the gate together.
I couldn't go home.
I did the only thing I could and called for help.
Thank goodness there are still heroes in the world.
Thank goodness that two of them live in Witley.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

First world problems

Day two began with me putting oil which was meant for my hair onto my face.
Such are the perils of too many bottles of liquid stuff. I own them more in hope than expectation. Hair oil on the face might prove to be the best beauty discovery yet....

I made it to the tea rooms just before 9, sliced onions for the red onion marmalade, set them to caramelise and turned my attention to the new till.
The shiny new gadget has clearly given the old card machine the hump because it refused to turn on properly and kept displaying threatening messages.
I called the card machine people.
Bad news - It's a goner and they'll send a new upgraded terminal.
Worse news - It won't get to me before Tuesday.
While on the 'phone to the very sympathetic-but-unable-to-help-further man the onions over-caramelised, or burnt if you will.

Crisis passed, we had a quietish but lovely day catching up on what the university students have been doing over the winter.

When I came home I realised I had only done half my make up this morning.
Let's move on, shall we?

Friday, 27 March 2015

One down.

The bread arrived.
A huge relief and a lesson for next year which I shall probably forget.

Day One is now over and a host of old friends & customers came to witness our battle with the new till. I think we are winning although there's a long way to go.
I have signed up to a till telephone helpline which has already proved valuable although my heart beat a little faster this afternoon when I realised there won't be anyone to answer the helpline phone over the weekend. Our busiest time.

The coffee machine is struggling to get back in the swing. Frankly so am I.

Naomi brought us a new quiche to try - Beetroot, Feta and Red Leicester.
It's red, and it's good.


This could prove to be a very interesting start to my 6th season.
We've cleared, cleaned, steam-cleaned, pressure-washed, altered layouts, set up new displays, edited the menu, cooked a ham, ordered tomatoes, cakes, milk, apple juice, honey, fudge, gifts and cards.

What I forgot to order was bread.

When I finally remembered, long after the deadline for orders, I rang the baker.
On the fourth attempt someone who wasn't a baker, but who knew a man who was, picked up the 'phone to a desperate sounding woman who couldn't remember the word "panini".
It will therefore be interesting to see:
a) whether a delivery comes and if so
b) what's in it.

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Electric Shock

The tea rooms are closed from the end of October until the end of March so we don't use a great deal of electricity over those months. I have one freezer running, the storage heaters are kept on, the phone is plugged in, the gardener boils a kettle when he's around, but apart from that our energy consumption is pretty low.
Or so I thought.
Last night I had one of those knee-buckling moments.
I opened the latest electricity bill.
Total amount due for Dec-March - £3,321.45.
The electricity charges amounted to £315, then there were standing charges of just under £20.
Then something called the Renewable Source Electricity Charge - £2,767.88.
Whaaaa? Some small print I'd missed?
I confess to a certain level of panic.

This morning I rang them.
A young lady called Leanne breezily told me the bill had been "sent in error".

As you were.

Monday, 23 February 2015

Quiche sera sera

I've had several pieces of news to digest in the past few days, not least that my small but lovely business will be paying a significant amount of money to the bank from June for the pleasure of depositing cash in the account. I'm not sure why. Surely it takes more effort to sort out the funds from a cheque than it does to weigh ready-counted cash?

In better news this evening we have been chosen by the good people at World Book Night to give away copies of...erm....books. 
This year we applied to give away a detective mystery by MC Beaton called Quiche of Death.
I wonder how many quiche orders we'll take on 23rd April....

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Eggs is eggs

In December new food labelling regulations were introduced.
Which mean that my most important winter job is to find a way of telling customers exactly what's in our food. Or rather whether any ingredients from a list of allergens are involved anywhere.
I gave myself a deadline to do this.
End of January.
I started today.
I do have a question, though.
Do I need to write "contains eggs" after "Egg Mayonnaise"?
The law now demands it, but is there a better way of doing it?
Perhaps I should just insert the word "obviously".