Monday, 26 September 2016

Opportunity Knocks (& isn't answered)

Earlier this summer I volunteered for a sort of trial thing. It was being run by the University of Worcester and the Trust Me I'm A Doctor programme on BBC telly.
I was one of sixty volunteers asked to eat a gluten-free diet for six weeks. We were all given two different sorts of pasta. We included pasta 1 in our diet for two weeks of the six and pasta 2 for another two weeks. The middle two weeks we were left to our own devices while remaining gluten-free.

When we all picked up our bags of pasta and were given our instructions a cameraman was floating around but the bulk of the filming was at the end of the trial and done in late August. I couldn't make filming day.

The programme aired two weeks ago.
As it went out I was in a pub saying goodbye to one of our wonderful members of staff who's made it on to a graduate accountancy trainee scheme.
My phone started to buzz with texts. When I got home there were Facebook messages.
All from friends saying they'd seen me on the telly.

I watched it back, of course. A fleeting glimpse is how best to describe it. I am sitting chatting to another volunteer.
Since it aired I have had dozens of people at the tearoom asking if it was me they saw on the tv?

I wish now I'd been wearing a Garden Tea Rooms t-shirt or apron.
Five weeks left of the season.

Sunday, 18 September 2016

Bird Lover

I'm currently selling tickets to a fundraising event involving a talk in the village from a very good naturalist.
Brett Westwood (for it is he) knows a lot about wildlife but especially birds. He's written hundreds of scripts for the rather popular Tweet of the Day on BBC Radio 4.
Last week a couple arrived and commented on the difficulty they'd had walking from the Court to us. She has a back problem and wasn't relishing the return walk so I offered them a lift to their car.
He declined and said he'd walk over to the car park and get it himself, that he does a lot of walking and enjoys it.
I saw my chance and told them about the talk on 1st October.
"Well, he does like birds," she commented, "and of course he married one."
I laughed, thinking Carry On.
She went on: "No really, he did. My maiden name was Bird."
I asked what she'd traded Bird for?
She looked downcast and her lip curled a little as she said: "Glover".
"It's lover with a G," he added.
I felt he might have used that line before?
"His dad used it all the time," said the former Miss Bird.

Friday, 16 September 2016

Ring the changes

I took a pot of tea and a filter coffee to a couple outside with, as usual, bowls of white and brown sugar. We only leave them on the table if sugar is needed.
"Do you take sugar with your tea?" I asked.
"No thank you," she replied, rooting around in her handbag, "I've brought some ding-dongs."
I asked her husband the same question.
"No, I have ding-dongs too."

So that is what we shall call sweeteners from now on.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

When one door closes...

It's about this time of year that regular visitors begin to ask when we'll be closing for the winter.
A group of three in the garden this week did just this. I told them it would be the last Sunday of October. One of the gentlemen quickly looked up the date and asked me to confirm that we would, indeed, close our doors on 30th October. Yes. Sorted.
I set off back into the tearoom.
"And when are you reopening?" they called after me.
That's never happened before. I barely know what I'm doing next week so to look deep into 2017 was unnerving. I fudged a little and said it depended on when Easter falls next year.
They looked it up.
And forced me to decide.
I consulted the bit of this year's diary which has a small 2017 calendar, licked my finger, turned around twice, shut my eyes and plumped for Friday 31st March.
That'll do.

Weather or not?

On Tuesday the forecast was good - hot and humid - and we prepared for a busy day of cream teas in the garden.
Everyone else had taken note too and by late morning we had a full garden.
Then it went very dark.
There were a few spots of rain as a warning and then torrential rain, thunder and lightning. Drenched people arrived from all over. It didn't stop.
Yesterday dawned (and stayed) hot and humid.
Very humid. Steamed-up drinks fridge and multiple cold drinks.
Who knows what to expect today?

Friday, 9 September 2016

A cut above

Nicole from Calgary was in today.
She's on her own, visiting every English Heritage property she can using a GPS on her tablet.
Trouble was that today it ran out of juice so she asked if she could avail herself of an electricity source while having a cream tea? (She was the second person who asked to charge a battery today. I might have to start, ahem, charging.)
While she was waiting she told me of her travels in the UK.  She decides where she'll stay on the day itself. No plans. No bookings. Just turns up.
After visiting one historic site last week she pitched up in a town and went to twenty b&bs which all had vacancy notices outside but when she knocked the owners said they were full.
At the twenty-first the lady who answered the door questioned her closely - who was she? how long would she stay? where had she been? Eventually she opened the door and allowed her to check in. Nicole thought it an odd town where everyone seemed so suspicious of her.
She asked whether there was a restaurant nearby?
"Yes," said her new landlady, "but you might want to freshen up first. Have you looked in the mirror recently?"
Turns out that after misjudging a wall earlier that afternoon, Nicole not only had a big bump on her head (which she knew about) but blood in her hair and on her face (which she didn't).

Double act

Me to a couple at the counter: "Eight pounds forty pence, please."
He gets out his wallet.
She says to him: "I've got the forty pence if you like?"
He says to her: "I'd rather you had the eight pounds."