An odd day.
Due to a one-day staff shortage I was in the kitchen preparing lunches.
The weather was so wet and miserable that only a few hardy souls ventured out and I only had to tackle four lunch orders.
We had begun all the clearing away for the day when a lady came in, ordered cakes and a couple of hot drinks and told us that we were about to be inundated. She was part of a group of thirty trainee teachers who were on a team-building day and they were all heading our way.
She was absolutely right.
We went from having two people sitting quietly in the main tearoom to a room full of cake and scone eaters.
I gave them all A*.
This weekend we hosted a special tea for Gill and Brian and their family.
Gill and Brian were celebrating 63 years of marriage.
As they were preparing to leave after sandwiches and tea and cakes and scones, Gill told me that she met Brian at school when she was 14. She was 19 when she married him in 1956.
Their daughter showed me their wedding photo:
This year has been the year of the telephone survey.
We must be on a list.
I’ve taken part in three long, involved surveys carried out on behalf of three different government departments.
I honestly don’t know what they’ll learn from asking questions about an independent tearoom but I accept that it’s a duty I should perform.
The last one was from the Education department. It was about training and apprenticeships and staff numbers.
There was also the now inevitable question about whether we export anything to Europe or indeed beyond. Nope.
I have answered this question so many times over the past three years that I’m beginning to wonder if we should set up an EU wide cream tea delivery service.
We could call it “Scone with the Wind”. Or maybe not.
The most interesting survey was on behalf of the Ministry of Defence who wanted to know what anti terrorism measures I have taken or am planning to take.
The wasps are in decline. Thank goodness.
Nine wasp traps and thirty swatters to loan out to customers have done their job.
The swatters brought a smile to many faces. Not one customer suggested we shouldn’t be killing insects.
One lady told me that her friend is a Buddhist.
“So she doesn’t like to kill wasps?” I suggested.
“On the contrary,” she said, “she believes wasps come to her house to be helped on to their next life.”
We are in wasp season.
We haven’t had a bad wasp problem for three years but over the past two weeks three years’ worth have come visiting lured by the jam from the cream teas.
We have citronella candles and incense sticks, we have a wasp bane hanging at one end of the building and we have a selection of swatters which we’re loaning out to anyone who really, really, really wants to sit outdoors.
Early this week a lady came to counter to ask, not for a swatter but for a copy of the sign we have about wasps. She wanted to send it to friends in Australia as an example of something “which is just so British”. She took a photo of it on her smartphone. I wonder what her friends will make of this:
It was outrageously hot yesterday.
Everyone walked a little slower, sat down for a little longer, perspired a little more.
My brain stopped working properly.
The temperature reached 36 in the kitchen according to the meat thermometer.
We are so fortunate to have a large area with tree cover which is much, much cooler and yesterday almost every table was there.
Today it’s significantly cooler though by any British summer measurement it’s still a hot one.
I have ordered a device for the kitchen - an air cooler - which uses ice water to circulate cold air.
Sweaty fingers are crossed.
7.30am and it’s really, really hot already.
Forecasters are suggesting this could turn out to be the hottest day on record in this country.
Jacket potatoes definitely OFF the menu today but we do have to cook a ham which will add to the intense heat in the kitchen.
Ten flavours of Bennetts ice cream are in stock but have I ordered enough?
The agapanthus are in bloom and are, as usual, a sight to behold. We have about sixteen either fully out or about to burst. They all came from a single, original plant which belonged to Janet’s brother. Janet and Peter look after our large garden very well and are slowly teaching me the names of a few plants.On Monday Peter asked me what I thought the plural of agapanthus might be? We had a discussion about various Latin endings. I threw in things like “dative” and “nominative plural” which made me feel oddly grown up given that the last time I used them I definitely wasn’t.After our conversation I went back inside and googled it.Disappointingly it turns out that the plural is either agapanthus or agapanthuses. Still, nothing disappointing about this:
This afternoon I have been at a workshop to endeavour to learn how to improve our social media.Watch this space.Still nervous.
A young couple is (sort of) arguing at the counter.
She says she doesn’t believe him.
He says it’s absolutely true.
He has NEVER had an Afternoon Tea. Ever. Nor a Cream Tea. Ever. The only scone he’s ever had was from a supermarket. He certainly didn’t eat it with jam and cream.
I have to join in.
“How can that be?” I ask.
His answer surprises me, “I’m from Dudley,” he says.
I challenge his logic, “So am I” I say, quickly, “what difference does that make?”
I am floored by his response:
“Yes but we’re a different generation”.
I limp off in pain.