Monday, 22 January 2018

Cold crossed fingers

I woke yesterday to snow and a question from Annie via text: did I really want her to open?
I hate those kind of decisions so I rang her. 
In the back of my mind was a phone call I’d taken from a lady the afternoon before. Would we be open on Sunday? She was part of a walking group and just wanted to check. She doubted the walk would go ahead as such heavy rain was forecast. We didn’t know about the snow at that stage so I told her we’d be open. 
Annie suggested that we wait to see whether the Court opened and then change the answer message on the phone, in case the walker-lady rang again. The Court was closed. The warden also decided not to open the church. So we followed suit.
I really, really hope the walkers didn’t venture out. 

Thursday, 18 January 2018

Parenting at its best

Would today be the day of no customers? It looked like it. For a long time. 
Then, this afternoon, a little blonde girl called Charlotte arrived. Turns out that today is Charlotte’s fourth birthday and she was given a tea set as a present. So her dad offered to take her out to tea. 
This makes me content and hopeful.
When almost everything seems to be changing the future of tea feels somehow more secure now I know that Charlotte’s dad is around.

Winter Fuel

Wednesdays are not covering themselves in glory. For the second week in a row we saw very few customers and were sort of grateful when the volunteer church steward came in for his free coffee. It gave us something to do. Thank goodness for busy weekends. So far on that score January is proving much better than December.
The logburner is causing a few headaches as the logs we’re using look dry but just aren’t. Which means I may have to buy another net from the local farm shop. 
Today is bright and sunny but there are branches and twigs everywhere - the result of a very windy night. Perhaps we should gather them up, like the poor man in the carol.

Thursday, 11 January 2018

Back to Work

Mitchell, a young man from Dudley who drinks coffee (splash of milk, one sugar), has fixed the dishwasher this morning. A poorly fitted part meant the order to WASH wasn’t reaching the brain (ie the start button was broken). Mitchell has also given me cause to reflect on my hasty condemnation of it as lazier than our older model.
It really isn’t to blame.
Turns out that, as it’s only on a 13amp plug, it was hamstrung from the start. It could never heat up at the same speed. The other one has more than double the power.
I was right to give the younger sibling a break.

Bev and Annie are formulating a plan for Mothering Sunday afternoon teas. When, with luck, it’ll be a bit warmer. Bev made the scones in her coat this morning and then reluctantly turned off the oven. Annie kept her scarf on when making drinks and teacakes for the first customers, the three (cold) builders who are back working at the Court after the Christmas break.
We were so pleased to see them.
Yesterday’s fog only brought four customers in total, which must be our worst day ever.

Tuesday, 9 January 2018

Thinking aloud

Winter is proving a tricky little chap.
Summer days are for cream scones, Victoria Sponge, lemon drizzle, apple juice, strawberries.
We know that Winter days demand hot drinks (hot chocolate especially) but what cakes should make the cut?
We have the usual suspects - fruit cake, coffee and walnut, something chocolatey, a sturdy flapjack - but have also tried to introduce new offerings.
With mixed results.
The cranberry topped shortbread is delicious but not popular (except with me and Annie), the ginger florentine isn’t gingery enough for ginger lovers and too gingery for those who aren’t partial. Mince pies have done well enough but surely we can’t serve them in January?
Perhaps we should make a big apple crumble and serve it with custard.
Or perhaps we shouldn’t try to vary the cakes so much and stick to the obvious.

An afterthought about the weekend, which wasn’t warm but was dry.
We sold quite a lot of ice cream.
Children eat ice cream all year round.

Monday, 8 January 2018

All washed up?

On Wednesday 12th April 2017 we took delivery of our not-inexpensive new dishwasher, just ahead of the Easter weekend.
Since then it hasn’t covered itself in glory. It takes longer to heat up than our other one, takes longer to wash stuff than the other one. The only thing it does more quickly is drain. As if it’s anxious to get on with whatever it does in its spare time.
As the youngest sibling myself I am wary of comparisons. I have avoided them until now, anxious to cut the younger model a bit of slack.
My hand has been forced.
Last week it stopped working. Completely refused to wash OR drain.
I’ve just filled out the relevant warranty form to request a repair person.
Meanwhile the older machine keeps plodding on. It never asks for anything (except rinse aid, detergent, water and electricity). It never complains. It just gets on with the job in hand.
I feel I should sing its praises, quickly, before it decides it’s had enough and demands the same attention as the other one.

The Works does the job.

It had to come. I feared it wouldn’t but it did. 
We have just experienced the Hot Chocolate weekend to beat any we’ve known -plain, with marshmallows, or piled high with cream, marshmallows and chocolate sprinkles, (a new venture for us. We call it The Witley Works)  it felt like almost every order had one on it. 
One table ordered five, then came back for a sixth.
We’ll need more marshmallows for Wednesday.

Sunday’s sunshine brought families and couples out in their bobble hats. We sold out of soup (Mediterranean tomato) and had to resort to bloomer bread to make late-ordered sandwiches. 
The milk order looked lean, thanks to all those hot chocolates, but we made it to four o’clock with a couple of pints to spare.