Sunday, 22 April 2018

The shape of things to come

Over the years we have seen enquiries and requests change.
When I started we were rarely asked for gluten-free cake and never for dairy-free. Now it’s a daily occurrence.
Vegans only started tentatively asking when they saw the words “dairy-free” appear on the menu. Now there seem to be more of them. They’re certainly more confident.
We have responded to most requests as they become more obvious.
We have never been asked if we have WiFi.
Until today.
Today we were asked twice.
I have suggested that, given that we’re a rural, traditional tearoom we should respond by asking “what’s that?”.
We have 4G. For how long will that be enough?

Saturday, 21 April 2018

All sorts

People. It’s all about the people.
Today we had a family of vegans who were so excited to have a choice of cake. One of them ordered an earl grey tea. Did she want any soya milk? No, she said, she took it weak and black. “Like my soul,” she smiled.
Last week an older lady visited as part of a coach party.
She was dressed from head to toe in blue. All sorts of blue. Fifty shades. There were blue things in her hair, there were blue brooches and badges on her blue tweed jacket. She was wearing a blue tie on a blue shirt over a blue skirt, with blue tights and bright blue shoes.
I complimented her look when she returned to the counter for cake. Her hand floated down from shoulder to hip: “everything is from charity shops and” she took a step back and pointed at her shoes, “if the shoes are the wrong colour I just paint them.” I asked how she painted them, is there such a thing as shoe paint? No, she said, she uses regular paint.
Aren’t other people just great?

Thursday, 19 April 2018


Now it’s hot. Proper sit-out-in-the-sunshine-wearing-sun-cream hot. 
In the kitchen we’re tired of it already. 
And it’s not even summer.
My favourite customer today was an older gentleman who came to the counter and asked me for “a black and white coffee”. 
It took me a moment to realise he was ordering for two.

Monday, 16 April 2018

On your marks

The sun came out on Saturday.
So people came out on Saturday. In huge numbers.
They staggered, shielding their eyes, wondering what that great globe of light in the sky could possibly be. They wanted the sort of things which mean the winter is over - cream teas, ice cream, cold drinks. They wanted to sit in the garden.
By the end of Saturday I had a headache which lasted into Sunday. I had not endured the burst of warmth.  I had failed to drink any drinks let alone cold ones. I have learned a valuable lesson.
On Wednesday this week the forecasters are promising temperatures in the twenties. The fans are already uncovered and ready to go. The ice cream freezer and drinks fridge are full.
It feels like we’re starting the season all over again.

Sunday, 15 April 2018

Say it with flowers

Left on a table for us this afternoon by two little girls.

Friday, 13 April 2018

Caked in Mud

Today was the last day of the Easter holidays.
A pretty awful Easter holidays if you’re judging it on weather and business. Which I am.
We haven’t had such a poor start to the season since 2012 when we had rain, rain and more rain.
A few hardy souls sat outside today, dodging the showers.
One of our regular customers asked if we’d be providing mud skis for those wanting to reach us.
Next week, once the schools go back, we’re promised Costa del temperatures but I reckon some of our recent visitors will be grateful for the end of the holidays for a different reason.
This past two weeks we have had a lot of grandparents bringing their grandchildren for a day out, clearly helping out with child care.
They’re fairly easy to spot. They look slightly frazzled and lean wearily on the counter. They try to discourage fizzy drinks (mummy said you weren’t to have lemonade) but give in when facing a barrage of “but that’s not lemonade”/“but she lets us have 7up”/“it’s not fair”. They fork out for ice cream and chocolate cake having at least attempted to give them a healthy lunch.
One couple made the most of the few minutes of peace while their grandchildren disappeared into the loos. They looked at their watches and counted the hours left of their duty.
A grandad today asked me if I had anything with Valium in it.

The last customers this afternoon were a Belgian family whose son is studying at Worcester University.
They ordered tea, cappuccino, scones and a hot chocolate.
Their English was faultless.
I asked what language they speak at home? German? French? No, they speak Flemish. I asked them to teach me how to say Thank You in their mother tongue.
It’s pretty straightforward. No idea how to write it but it’s pronounced “Dankoo”.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Comic relief

A mildly humorous cherry tomato. What’s not to like?