Saturday, 26 July 2014

For the Present

We have entered a new era.
Until today when on the odd occasion I was asked for a Gift Voucher for use at the tea rooms I'd go home, mock one up on the computer and print it off. It worked well for the few times they were needed.
Since the beginning of this season, though, I have noticed a definite increase in demand. Sometimes we're asked for them by visitors, sometimes people call and order them by 'phone.
I began to feel a bit silly nipping home to the printer.
So I have taken a big step.
I've had some made.
We now have Garden Tea Rooms £5 and £10 Vouchers.
They've arrived today from the printers.
Now all I need is some envelopes.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Ice cream barometer

On Tuesday morning I went to the local dairy to collect extra ice cream and fruit ice lollies.
Yesterday my usual weekly delivery came, enhanced by a few boxes because we're selling so much.
This morning I am having to visit the dairy again.
This is a proper heat wave.

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Going red.

A two-course lunch for 41 U3A members booked for today meant we had to take all the tables out of the conservatory into the garden to accommodate them.
There wasn't any chance of anyone eating inside the conservatory in which we could currently bake jacket potatoes and fry eggs if we so wished.
Inside the kitchen it's even worse. We are all a little over warm.

The two courses were a choice of our homecooked ham or our fresh tomato & pecorino quiche, then a choice of Witley strawberries & raspberries or apple shortcake.
The Witley strawberries made their appearance just in time.
I need many more for the wedding next Saturday.
Better get ripening fellas...

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


It's harvest time in the village. Sort of.
We are brought boxes and punnets and jars of things by friends, neighbours and customers with a surplus.
Peter brings gooseberries and raspberries and we share them among us and carry them home. Jocelyn takes the empty jam jars from us (such a lot of jam used for the cream teas) and returns with grape jelly, red currant jelly, chutney....
Then on Sunday Ann arrived with an armful of courgettes, perfect to add to our soup and roasted vegetable panini.
She also offered us loganberries. The last of their crop, she said.
A basket of them duly arrived.
Last night I made loganberry jam, the first jam I have ever made.
It was remarkably satisfying.
I am now truly middle aged and happy to eat loganberry jam all summer.

Cool Customers. Hot dogs.

We dream of air conditioning.
It is baking hot, especially next to the oven where the baked potatoes are...baked.
Strange, I know, people are actually ordering jacket spuds.
And soup.
In a heatwave. Although mostly they're eating salads and sandwiches.

Lots of cold drinks accompany visitors to their seats in the garden. The dogs they bring with them stop to drink warm water from the bowl outside and then collapse in the shade under a table.

We have ice cream, but not enough to get us through to our next delivery on Thursday so I'm going to ask if I may pick up a few boxes from the dairy this morning.

This will allow me to spend an hour in the car.
With the air conditioning.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Nor any drop to drink

Sarah and David's wedding day dawned and it was oh-so-wet after a week of intense heat.
And we ferried the stuff to set tables in the marquee in the pouring rain.
Some of us in wellies.
Some of us in raincoats.
With the hoods up.
We set up the cheese tower with rain beating down. We laid out china tea cups, saucers, tea plates, pastry forks, in the pouring rain. We prepared the Pimms in the pouring rain.

The guests were served ice cream cornets after the ceremony. They were meant to eat them standing outside the church, chatting in the sunshine while photos were taken but the thunder and lighting rather scuppered that.
Instead they were served inside the Church porch and ate them in glorious baroque surroundings.
The seventy guests arrived in the marquee under umbrellas.
The bride and groom made the short journey in a vintage car and then trekked across the grass into the marquee, under umbrellas.
Then at about 4 o'clock the sun came out.
The sides came off the marquee.
The photographer lured the guests outside for some shots in the sunshine.
It was as it was meant to be.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Berry inconvenient.

It's a big weekend.
The marquee is up.
The bride and groom (and friends) are coming to decorate it today in readiness for their Afternoon Tea reception tomorrow afternoon.
Fingers crossed for good weather although the marquee is huge so the guests may not notice any rain.

We had a storm overnight and more are threatened during the heatwave.

Our other customers will probably be inside, struggling with the temperature in the conservatory.

One issue.
The farm in Witley where we get all our strawberries and raspberries are "between varieties". The first ripened quickly and all came at once. The second variety is taking its time.
I am serving strawberries at the wedding and at a party on Sunday.