Sunday, 23 July 2017

They do

On Friday we hosted a wedding party.
Sharing platters of local salami and tomatoes, our ham, homemade coleslaw and salads, cheeses, mini quiches, olives, bread. Scones and cakes of course.
It didn't take us long to serve all the guests.
There were four of them.
Bride, groom and 2 witnesses.
The groom told us they were being selfish and keeping it from everyone else for a few days.
The bride had requested a table in the garden and for most of the time they had their wish.
Then the drizzle started and they moved into the conservatory to finish their tea.

It wasn't quite as stressful as other weddings we've held.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Top table

We've hosted two small but lovely garden parties in the past two days.
Yesterday we pulled together a few tables to form one long one under trees (it was way too hot in the sun), covered them in tablecloths and set them for high tea for seventeen people. They were celebrating the marvellous couple who are Rex and Glenda. Rex was 88 at the weekend, Glenda turned 86 yesterday.
They drank champagne and tea and ate sandwiches and cakes and scones with cream.
I was asked as I delivered more tea if I knew of a poem about "getting old and wearing purple"?
I went to look it up.
It's called "Warning" by Jenny Joseph.
I read it aloud to the assembled group (any excuse to join the party). It's fabulous.

Then today the same table (different cloths) was used for a middle-aged group of fifteen who are all taught Spanish by the same teacher. They lunched on ham and quiche, elderflower presses, cakes and strawberries and coffee and many went home with a punnet of cherries.

It will be used again tomorrow if the weather stays fine.
Nine people for a late lunch at 4pm.

Monday, 17 July 2017

Ear wigging

Overheard at the weekend while clearing a table:
"It's not a holiday unless you go on a steam train and see a donkey."

Thought provoking.

Hot and busy.
Then rainy and quietish but with an occasional unexpected coach to keep us on our toes.
That pretty much sums up the last few weeks.
My shoulders are like blocks of stone.
At the end of this week the majority of the schools will have broken up and, providing we have good weather, every day will be busy.

Last week I was asked if I'd be interested in a new challenge.
A local attraction needs someone to take over a cafe outlet temporarily and I was asked to consider running it for the summer alongside the tearooms. I'd need a couple of my staff to be there for the month of August and September. All very exciting. There's also a chance to bid to run their new cafe when it opens.
I have slept on it (or rather I haven't - it's rather kept me awake).
I have decided that I only have eyes (and time) for one tearoom.
I am happy with my single child which, eight years on, still needs a great deal of attention on a daily basis.
Attention I am more than happy to give.

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

This is the time of year when we sell local produce on the counter. For the past few weeks we've had bundles of asparagus. Now that season is over we've moved onto punnets of dark red cherries and gooseberries. We sell lots of both.
The sight of the gooseberries in particular often raises a smile and a comment that they're not seen much anymore...

I love days like this. A random Tuesday outside of the main school holidays can yield interesting visitors.
We had a family from Norway who apparently come to stay locally every year.
Then came the gorgeous Lithuanian couple who couldn't resist a punnet of gooseberries. I felt I should warn them that they're not sweet (after an Italian couple last week thought they were grapes). They told me they LOVE gooseberries and haven't seen them at all since coming to the UK: "Every grandmother in Lithuania has a gooseberry bush in the garden" they told me before eating them raw.
Today's book entries with odd splodge

Today I made my first Elderflower Cake. It won't be the last.

Monday, 26 June 2017


On Saturday I attended The Mockingbird Ball, the launch of The Anna Wilkinson Mockingbird Trust a new charity with which I'm very proud to be involved. The Ball was the culmination of almost a year's planning and I wanted to enjoy every last minute of it.
And so it was that I finally got to bed at 3am.
Yesterday was therefore a little, erm, tricky. Lots of the tearooms staff had gone to the ball; those of us who had to work the following morning were propped up by those who hadn't.
I felt fine. Just a little tired. I realised just how tired when I had a conversation in the garden in late afternoon.
A couple was asking about the walled garden, the grounds etc. I am asked these questions a good deal so I say the same things a lot. I was telling them about the walled garden which goes round the former gardeners' cottages.
I went on: "if you walk over to where that bench is you'll see a perfect rectangle which was a tennis court."
They looked surprised. They looked confused.
"Really?" they asked, shaking heads, "how did that work?"
Which made me play back the last words I said in my own head.
I had substituted "rectangle" with "triangle".

We spent the next ten minutes devising rules for a new 3-player game which we've decided to call Trennis.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Hotter than July?

Since Saturday we have been in the grip of a heatwave.
I have always thought heat and sunshine were good for tearooms business but from Saturday to Monday we weren't as busy as we'd expected. We were far from quiet, but customers seemed to be arriving at a slower pace. Good for us as we needed time to drink and sit down.
I now consider that it can be TOO hot.
The conservatory is like a sauna (though that didn't put off one couple on Saturday who thought it was "a bit breezy outside").
All the tables are under the trees and have stayed there all week.
We have temporarily removed jacket potatoes from the menu. Having the oven on all morning to cook them was, well, hellish.
Today has dawned a little cooler. Much more manageable.
But the fans will still be the first things switched on this morning...