Thursday, 17 April 2014

Bring your good times (and your laughter too).

I am taking a deep breath.
Tomorrow is a Bank Holiday.
We have a group of ten six-year olds coming to celebrate a birthday. Sandwiches and cakes and squash in teapots.
Half an hour later we have an 87 year old celebrating his birthday over lunch.
Which will be more raucous?
My money's on Wyndham, a Welsh man with an enormous smile.
He knows how to enjoy himself.
He's had a lot of practice.
So far over the past four years we've hosted his granddaughter's wedding, his golden wedding anniversary, his wife's birthday, his birthday, his grandaughter's first and second wedding anniversaries and a friend's 25th wedding anniversary.
That's a lot of cake.

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The ice (cream) man cometh

Another lovely busy day full of panini and scone orders.
A few more members of the team learned how to make the popular milkshakes and I've decide that really they only take as long as a cappuccino and we make plenty of those.
A lady who told me her name is Mel arrived with four week old Tom. She'd walked. He'd slept.
She ordered asparagus soup so I took Tom on a visit round the tearooms while she ate.
A waitress did that for me once when I had a young baby.
I'll always remember how lovely it was to have two hands free to eat lunch. It's only right to pass the favour forward now.
Despite there being ice on the windscreen this morning the day warmed up and in the afternoon almost everyone sat in the garden. We had a moment of panic when a 7 year old boy went missing but he turned up. His friend said he'd been "sulking in the bushes". Who hasn't done that?

We ran dangerously low on ice cream. There wasn't much choice in the tubs department by mid afternoon. I kept telling people a delivery was due and to keep their fingers crossed.
They did. It arrived.
Just in time for tomorrow.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Busy as bees

Just a short note to say how very lovely and sunny and busy it is. Today I had deliveries from 3 places and immediately had to order more from all of them.
Usually at this time we are calmer before the Bank Holiday.
We are all a leeetle bit nervous of what the weekend may bring if this is the state of affairs now.
Deep breath.

The masonry bees are here. The sign has gone up (as it does every year) to reassure visitors that the flying things around the door are not wasps and shouldn't sting them.
The bees stay just a few weeks when the warmer weather starts, and are always in the same place. Then they're gone.

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Brave New World

I had all the kit. I had the ingredients.
What I was lacking was the courage.
For me it takes a bit of bravery to introduce something onto the menu that we've never tried before. I can find so many excuses - it's never the right day.
Today my husband forced me to start serving milkshakes.
He even wrote out a how-to list for the staff.
We tentatively made the first. Then the second.
By the end of the day we'd served 23 of them in vanilla, chocolate and strawberry flavours.
A lady returned to the counter to ask how we made them as her children said they were the best they'd ever had.
A triumph then.
Except we got through even more milk than usual which meant a rushed drive to the local garage to stock up.
Will it make me more brave about new items?
I doubt it.

Saturday, 12 April 2014

Memo to the forecasters

Today's first customers, a gentleman and lady, were meeting two other couples for a coffee. They hadn't seen the other couples for more than thirty years and were worried they wouldn't recognise each other.
Of course they did.
Most of us, I've realised, don't change that much.
We just dye our hair, or lose our hair, or cut our hair or grow our hair. Get past the hair and there we are. Same as it ever was.
I expected it to be busy but in fact it was REALLY busy. The conservatory filled up, emptied and filled up again. Alex and Louisa came with Louisa's parents to talk about their wedding in August.
Or more specifically about their reception (we're not serving canap├ęs during the vows).
We need good weather. I am putting in an early request for warm and sunny but not too hot.

I really enjoyed today.
Lovely people, no stress, and some nice comments about my lemon drizzle cake.

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Terra Firma

What is it? Day 5 of the season? And several curved balls have been thrown already.
We've had the abnormally busy opening day, followed by the normally busy first weekend, then a bizarrely quiet Monday.
Today turned out to be what I would term a typical 2013 weekday. A fairly quiet start then a two hour period where almost every table was occupied and any socks we were wearing were worked off.
We ran out of soup and panini.
Towards the end of the busy time a young couple ordered High Tea and took the only available table in the conservatory.
They'd come to talk to me about their wedding in July 2015.
Yes 2015.
Just saying 2015 makes me think of us all living on Mars wearing spray-on boiler suits and eating pill-meals.
Instead we'll more than likely still be spreading scones with cream and jam and pouring tea into china cups here on Earth.
Thank goodness.

Today my younger son is fourteen. A landmark in his life. And in mine.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Have I Got Moos for You

Saturday morning and I awoke to being called "A Worcestershire woman" on the local radio news.
I do not consider myself to be "a woman". I don't feel old enough. Still, they were right and I am wrong. But it felt grim.
They were talking about the news that my friend Helen Fawkes has set up an exhibition of her cow photographs in the tearooms. It ticks off number 21 on her bucket list.
Helen is a BBC correspondent, the daughter of a farmer and has ovarian cancer.
She writes an amazing blog: http://helenfawkes.wordpress.com/ which has her list of the fifty things she wants to do during her life. 
Helen was interviewed during the Breakfast Show at length. Then she came to put up her photos on the walls of the tea rooms. They're with us for a month and look fantastic.

I left the tea rooms half way through the afternoon and drove to London to be part of a birthday surprise for a friend. Turns out she wasn't the only one to be surprised. I stayed out until 3.  That's 3 AM. Not bad for a Worcestershire woman.