Thursday, 8 October 2015

Hope springs

As well as the greetings cards we now sell we also have a small range of cards with local scenes - the fountain, the court, the church and a bluebell covered hill.
We sell these for a local charity.
They're very popular.
Especially the ones of the fountain.
Yesterday one of these was bought by a couple.
"We need a card," said she, "because we have to write an appeal against a parking fine. We put the money in but the ticket didn't come out."
I hope their plea is well received.
I hope the recipient likes the picture of the fountain.

Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Names and Numbers

We are so close to the end...
Less than a month until the curtain falls on the 2015 season.
But one more BIG Sunday to go. This Sunday.
Firstly a Christening party for 32, complete with Wishing Tree (I'll let you know on Monday).
Then a tea party for a choir.
Eighty of them.
Yes. Eighty.
Daunting to say the least.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Tales of the Unexpected

Just a couple of curveballs in the past few days....
Last week an email arrived asking if we could accommodate 11 cyclists for coffee & cake in Sunday morning. They were cycling from Ludlow to Gloucester.
Yes, happily, we said, and prepared for their arrival.
We served the eleven (they like their cake) but the orders kept coming.
A second, larger cycling group had arrived. They too wanted coffee and cake.
The cake display needed refilling and all the mugs in the place were in use.

Then yesterday - forecast rain and strong winds - I thought I'd be fine to take a few hours off.
Silly me.
That was the day for an unexpected coach.
That was the day that Freda agreed to come in to help but then realised she didn't have transport so walked the 3 miles to work.
That was the day the other two people who were working both felt under the weather.

I need a good crystal ball. And no curve ones.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

October Octogenarians

This week has been busy. 
We've had that Indian Summer that we'd all wished for. Chilly autumnal mornings have given way to bright, sunny, 20 degree lunchtimes & afternoons. 
The customers too have been sunny and warm. Lots of two-couple parties out for the day, mums and daughters, ladies for coffee and one group of ten ladies for High Tea in the garden.

I wouldn't have managed this week without two people who are proper role models:
Eileen (81) washes up, clears tables, takes out trays and this week has had puppy entertainment added to her list of jobs.
My dad (81 next month) drives a round trip of well over an hour to wash up for me. 
He also looks after all the conservatory plants. 
This week he was paid in cups of coffee and seeds from the monkey puzzle tree which he's challenged himself to grow.
If I get to 80 I would like their work ethic, their cheerfulness and their energy.
In fact, I'd like those things now, please.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

A left palaver

A couple of months ago, maybe three, we found a pale grey V neck sweater at an empty table.
We dutifully hung it with the lost property.
I have a vague memory (a lot of tea under the bridge since then) of a 'phone call from the owner (Gentleman 1) and it was moved into the staff-coats-hanging-area.
Two or three weeks ago we found another pale grey V neck sweater on the back of a chair in the conservatory. We dutifully hung it with the lost property.
Coincidentally, one day later Gentleman 1 came to retrieve his lost sweater. We gave him sweater 2, having forgotten all about sweater 1. He was really happy. Until his wife pointed out that it wasn't his.  It was a lady's sweater. (Dogs? Sweaters? How is one to tell the difference?)
They had tea in the garden and went home.
And then we found sweater 1, folded neatly, waiting to be collected.

This week gentleman 1 returned for tea and I was thrilled to be able to reunite him with his real, actual sweater. He was SO happy. And incredulous.
He took it outside to his wife on what was a beautiful, sunny, warm afternoon.
I expect the warmth made his wife take off her black cardigan.
Which is why we found it on the back of her chair after they'd left.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

de la creme*

"Hot chocolate, please," he said, "with cream and marshmallows."
I told him that we didn't have any "squirty" cream, only whipped double cream which tends to sink, so would he prefer just the marshmallows which is what we normally do? 
"Nah," he said, "stick the cream in," then added, "I don't care. It's not for me."
One of my young staff (aged 20) was, shall we say, riled by his response. 
"Typical," she said, "that's exactly the sort of thing my dad would say."

*can't find the accent grave. Sorry.

The end is nigh.

Never have I been so happy to reach the end of September.
From tomorrow, and for the whole of October, a new closing time - 4pm - which will make working life a lot easier. The last hour has been a bit of a drag since the end of the summer holidays and although we have been very, very busy during this past week of sunshine it's mainly been at lunchtime.
September has been tricky too because most of the younger staff have gone back to universities and a few of the older staff have taken the opportunity to go on holiday.
Add the puppy into the mix and my nerves are frayed.
I know there will be people upset that they can't get a cup of tea post-4pm.
But it will make the last month of the season so much nicer for us tea-makers.