Friday, 31 October 2014


It's Halloween.
The tearooms are decorated. There's a pumpkin on a cake stand on the counter and a cauldron full of sweets. There's a witch on the dresser and small bats on the windows. And "Happy Halloween" bunting in case anyone needs it spelled out. Literally.
All but one of the spider cakes have gone so I'm going in to make more this morning. The Witches' Brew soup is made.

Apparently it's going to be 19 degrees today which will make the kitchen like a cauldron.
That's a July temperature and may also make the conservatory tricky to bear. The conservatory was where I was going to set up for the group of 21 dressed-up children and adults who are arriving for lunch at 12 but I fear the heat may make their make-up run. Not a pretty sight. Although that's the point, isn't it?

I only have 16 ice creams left which is great news as we close for the season on Sunday.
But if it were July, 19 degrees and I only had 16 ice creams left I'd be panicking.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Brush with the past.

Just over a week until the end of the 2014 season.
Sweepings from the conservatory floor can tell the story of the year.
Obviously we sweep up a good deal (promise) but the floor is paved and there are plenty of grooves for things to get stuck. So most sweepings gather a piece or two of confetti from the wedding in August, a shiny cut out "50" from a party in early October, a similar cut out "Congratulations" from a wedding anniversary. We've held children's parties, U3A lunches, gardening group teas, 21st, 50th, 80th & 90th birthday gatherings.
Next year we have a wedding and a Golden Wedding anniversary party already booked in.
More confetti? More little shiny 50s to sweep up?

Thursday, 23 October 2014

Taking the biscuit.

Twelve members of Oxford Probus group came for lunch and tea today with a visit to the church and crypt squeezed in between.
I went in early to make oatmeal and raisin cookies to go with their tea and to serve tomorrow morning. Tomorrow morning we'll be opening early to make SIXTY hot chocolates for a visiting school group.
SIXTY hot chocolates with marshmallows.
Deep breath...

Monday, 20 October 2014

Eggs is eggs

A young couple came in to order lunch. They had left a third member of their party at a table outside.
"She's vegan," they said, scanning the menu, "so she's going to have a jacket potato with homemade coleslaw."
The coleslaw, I had to point out, is in mayonnaise. Which isn't vegan. What about baked beans instead?
"That's ok," they said, "she's desperate.
And she doesn't like beans."

Sunday, 19 October 2014

Not a sundae

82 to go.
At this rate I'll be eating it myself...

Friday, 17 October 2014


Ice cream eaters of the world, we need you.
Tubs of chocolate, strawberry, vanilla and mint choc chip await visitors this weekend and I have 92 to get through in the next two weeks.
The temperature is meant to be high (18 degrees tomorrow) which must bode well.
But at this moment it's pouring with rain.
So good luck to us with that one.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

A spoke in the wheel

We've formed a sort of pattern on these quiet, rainy days.
We open up, turn everything on, set everything out, bake and cook as necessary and then we wait.
And we try to decide whether this will be the day when no one comes.
It was like this yesterday.
But I had a plan.
I'd make a batch of witches' brew soup (pumpkin, cumin, cinnamon) and some chocolate fairy cakes which will become spider cakes (red laces for legs, mini marshmallows for eyes) and by the end of the day I'd feel we'd achieved something.
And then the ladies came.
All in pink and black lycra.
From a cycling club.
"There are fourteen of us," said the first cyclist.
"There are only two of us," I answered, hoping they weren't in a hurry.
They all ordered individually and in their wake came more people.

So much for my plan.