Monday, 18 September 2017


Changing gear from a busy summer into a quieter autumn is quite tricky. I am still expecting hundreds of people to turn up so I haven't yet changed my milk, cream and eggs order. Of course this means we have way too much. 
I can't get the bread order right either.
Some things are easier to forecast. Ice cream sales are down, hot chocolate sales are up. Pretty obvious really.
My mind is also focused on other things which doesn't help: a memorial service later this week for a friend who died way too young; the departure of my older son to university yesterday;  the twentieth anniversary tomorrow of the Southall rail crash.  I shall be meeting up later this week with two friends who were with me on that train. We shall drink a toast or two, remember the day and think about how it changed us. 
Getting milk and bread orders wrong isn't the end of the world.

Monday, 4 September 2017

Worn out

That was the last full week of the summer holidays.
It was dry, for the most part, which meant we were busy. On Thursday many of the younger members of staff had been invited to go paintballing to celebrate Charlotte's 19th birthday.
I only had a few people left. Turns out that despite persuading one of my sons to stay and work, we weren't really enough. Especially as it was the day of the unexpected coach and unexpected sunshine.
Then came Friday and a local artist held a private viewing of her work at the tearooms: canapés for 34 then a buffet supper. We made a couple of massive pavlovas, as requested. She sold ten of her paintings and when we sold an eleventh yesterday she had to come in to hang more.
Then Saturday evening (we rarely hold events in the evenings - two in a row is absolutely unheard of) we provided pre-concert suppers for 46. This time we made a dozen meringue nests.
Over the two days we used a lot of egg whites (24).
Thank goodness there happens to be someone in my family who rather likes those little Portuguese custard tarts - which is where the yolks came in handy.

I was so happy that it rained yesterday.
This tea-making lark can be rather tiring.

The worst thing about yesterday was that 17 year old Tony (who's worked at the tearooms for almost two years) asked me if I realised that my jeans were ripped. Not across the thigh, or the knee, or anywhere cool.
Down the edge of the pocket on my backside.
They were my favourite jeans. I loved them. And yet they chose to expose me to ridicule. Or just expose me.
I wore a pinny back to front for the rest of the day.

Monday, 28 August 2017

That's the way to do it.

It's over.
It wasn't horrific and we all left this evening tired but smiling.
Everyone, everyone we served today was lovely - astonishing given that they had to queue to order.
We have clearly learned a lot from previous years.
So, note to self:
Just sandwiches, salads, soup and ploughmans for lunch. Anything else clogs the system. Panini and jacket spuds are definitely ORF.
Order plenty of bread. And if you think you have enough you haven't.
Book plenty of staff. And if you think you have enough you haven't.
There were thirteen of us working today and that allowed someone to keep an eye on refilling drinks fridge, cake fridge, crisp display and ice cream freezer. Tables were cleared, we kept up with washing up. It was, as far as it is possible to be, stress free.
I started the day with a knot in my stomach but it quickly unraveled and I actually started to enjoy myself.
One more thing -

Finishing line in sight....

Two hams were not enough.
Yesterday was hot and sunny and among the busiest ever seen by us.
We relied on extra help.
Bev's daughter proved a useful addition on the coffee machine. Kate's fiancé cleared and wiped tables for three hours, my 82 year old Dad turned up for coffee and took over the washing up for a couple of hours. His lady, Pam, refilled the shelves with clean cups, teapots, plates and saucers.
This morning another ham is already being cooked.
Our baker, usually closed for the Bank Holiday, is supplying lunches at Worcestershire Cricket Club so has agreed to bake us more bread.
I'm sending my husband off for supplies of cheese (our cheese maker also happens to be working today - what a relief) and salad stuff.
We'll be ready and waiting.

Saturday, 26 August 2017


Ah, Bank Holidays, why do you always get the better of me?

This is the first August BH in ages which has been hot and sunny. Today people were applying sun cream in the garden.
We have almost sold out of ice cream and we only had it delivered on Thursday.
Yesterday we had the wedding of Sue and Gio, which added a busy day to the front of the bank holiday weekend.
It was also a two-ham day. We've never cooked TWO hams in the same day before.
I am weary. My feet hurt. And there are two more big days to go...

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Further to previous post...

It's an Ichneumon wasp (thank you, Janet and Peter).
Wonderful looking and they don't sting.
But they do lay eggs in living hosts and the young kill the hosts when they hatch.
I won't be inviting them home.

Monday, 21 August 2017


Yesterday we had an unusual visitor.
I asked a few people in the garden what they thought it might be?
A late mayfly?
A caddisfly?
A young damselfly?
Google discussions about similar sounding things seem to suggest some sort of wasp.
I liked it up until that point.

When we let it go it flew away, straight up, apparently unencumbered by the long tail.
I guess Nature knows her stuff.