Monday, 15 September 2014

London Calling

We'd been asked to open up early to host the handover of the WI centenary baton which is making its way from WI group to WI group until it reaches the Albert Hall next June. The baton arrived on a big red motorbike.
The lady carrying it climbed off.
The man who'd ridden it took off his helmet and told the waiting crowd (some of whom were in Edwardian dress): "She only let me overtake once - she kept telling me to slow down."
They drank a good deal of coffee.
The baton moved on up to the Church to be handed on again (we have a lot of WIs) then on to Abberley Clock Tower for another handover.
I have no idea where it is this evening.

Later on Saturday morning another group of people dressed up in Victorianish garb with hats and goggles arrived.
I had met my first steam punks.

Friday, 12 September 2014

Court jester

He came in on his own for coffee and cake, with the audio guide from the Court round his neck. He was an older, tall man.
Then he left, presumably to continue his tour of the Court.
He returned at lunchtime and ordered a homecooked ham salad. But no onions on the salad please as he has an allergy to them. They make him pass out.
We take these things very seriously, obviously so I went out to tell him that the ham is cooked with onion, would that make a difference? He was willing to chance it, he said, and he sat near the counter so we could keep an eye on him...
He cleared his plate.
I asked him if he'd enjoyed his lunch.
"The salad and new potatoes were very nice," he said. "But the ham..." (I held my breath as he paused. Deliberately) "was to die for."
He beamed.
He didn't pass out.
I skipped back to the kitchen.

A quieter day, with a busy blip at lunchtime.

Thursday, 11 September 2014


It had to happen today.
Of all days.
We had a party of 26 booked in.
They'd all preordered their lunch which makes life a lot easier with large groups.
My regular army reserved their tables and set about making their lunches.
The 'phone rang.
Calvin from the Court told us that a coach laden with 43 people had just arrived at the visitors' centre and were headed our way.
That was the first we knew of their visit.
I called in the cavalry.

Portrait of a Prize Idiot

"I love iPads" I said, confidently, "they're so....erm...what's the opposite of counter-intuitive?"
"Intuitive" answered Bob, who is the son-in-law of 90 year-old Jim, the new owner of an iPad.
Jim had brought his tablet to the tearooms.
He wanted to take a photo with it.
Of me. (Very counter intuitive)
But try as we might we couldn't get it off video and onto camera. I kept stabbing the thing with my finger. Bob kept stabbing it with a silver stick with a sort of rubber end. We kept taking videos of our knees.
Jim looked amused.
I regretted my confident opening statement.
And took the iPad inside where there were two members of staff under the age of 21 who, with barely a glance, showed me what to do (don't stab, slide).
Jim, Bob and I then took a selfie.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

It's a good job...

A proper summer's day. In September.
Lovely and busy for the newest recruit, Tom (16).
It is late in the season to be taking on staff but the drain to the universities of Great Britain has already begun. Two have said their goodbyes (Cardiff and Bristol), two more leave this week (Exeter and Manchester) and two more the following week (Liverpool and Leicester).
Generally by this time the pace is slowing and we can cope without them.
But not this year.
We have eight weeks of the season left.
Potentially a lot of cups and plates and knives and forks to be washed up.
A lot of tables to be cleared and wiped.
Tom seems to have enjoyed everything we asked him to do.
Thank goodness.

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Wrong footed

I drove my younger son to school, having missed the bus on the second day of term.
He's just started Year 10.
I reminded him to be nice to the Year 7s who'd be feeling a bit nervous this week.
He told me he had already tried to help one boy who was looking lost.
"He asked me if I could show him how to get outside. I told him I was going that way, and to follow me."
All good so far.
But when they got through the doors the little boy looked around, looked at my son and said, "Not THIS outside."

Kaffee und Kuchen

Today we had some unusual visitors.
Twenty five Germans.
Who didn't speak English.
They knew about as much English as I know German.
(I can say Happy Christmas, they can say "tea" and "coffee". Theirs, in this instance, was far more useful.)
We did a good deal of smiling, nodding and pointing to cakes.
They all sat outside.
I discovered later that they were garden enthusiasts on a 6-day tour of England. And they know a good garden when they see one.