Making People Happy With Cake

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Yesterday we opened early to serve bacon rolls and coffee to a group of Riley car enthusiasts who used the tearooms as a starting point for their treasure hunt.
Although I would suggest they’ve already found the treasure:


Posted by Gill on

A new plague is upon us. One we’ve never faced before. The poplar seed.Who knows why (tree enthusiasts may) but the garden is covered in fluffy, catkin-like seeds. The air is full of the flying fluff from them. It’s getting everywhere. We clean the tables and a few minutes later they’re covered again. They’ve even had the audacity to land in cups of tea and bowls of asparagus soup (yes, that time of year again).
This afternoon the man who usually mows the tearooms lawn sent his lovely dad to do the job. As he came closer to the tables under the trees he caused a snowstorm of fluff which sent customers running. When I went out to ask him to postpone his mow he looked crestfallen,“My son said you might make me a cup of tea if I did this. I guess I’ve scuppered that now.”

Posted by Gill on

The wind was the issue of the day.
We couldn’t keep the gate open, it acted like a sail and broke from any usual moorings to slam shut. I called home and George brought solutions.
It broke the gate to the Court stables which had to be boarded up.
It blew over much of the garden furniture, even some of the bigger wooden benches.
Louise arrived for work at 1030, “it’s chair-mageddon out there,” she said.
We haven’t been busy but we did have a 70th birthday lunch to host. The birthday girl (actual birthday on Tuesday) thought she was attending her son in law’s celebration (actual birthday today).
There was a battle to pay the bill but Dad had made it clear to me from the start that he would be paying. When I gave him the total he told me he was very surprised, that he thought it would be much more.
This might have something to do with the fact that I’ve since realised I forgot to charge them for the birthday cake.
I wish I were better at this.

Posted by Gill on

Our knives are sharp. The promised mutiny in the kitchen has been avoided.A man (early thirties?) with a rolling box of tricks came to spend a couple of hours sharpening all our kitchen and serving knives which were in a pretty poor state. He arrived later than planned (also in a bit of a state) so lunchtime service had to go on around him. He apologised for his late arrival saying that he lives on a houseboat and had fallen in the canal that morning.We liked him a lot. He was seriously into how the whole knife-sharpening thing works, used words I’d never heard and didn’t understand; told us which were our best knives and how to take care of them; told us that some people spend hundreds on a knife and then ruin it in the dishwasher. He told us that he used to work in a New Age shop and he learnt his new trade when his hairdressing partner couldn’t find anyone cheap enough or quick enough to sharpen the salon scissors. “I’m pretty much unemployable, as you can see,” he said, pointing to his clothing, “so it suits me to work like this”.He told us that he doesn’t call her his girlfriend (“makes me sound like a teenager”) and when he refers to his “partner” people assume he’s gay. “I should marry her,” he said, “that would make things easier because then I can call her my wife.”We suggested he didn’t tell her that when he was down on one knee.

Posted by Gill on

I have sore feet and anxiety about how busy we’re going to be tomorrow.
Naomi is bringing the last of the Simnel cakes for the year and whilst I have things made of chocolate I don’t have any actual chocolate cake.
This is a stupid, unforgivable oversight and I shall berate myself until I find something else to worry about.
This though, written on a napkin and left on a table, made me smile:

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The water boiler is on the blink. Not ideal for a bank holiday weekend but we’re using the ancient faithful one as a back-up and she seems to be holding up.
This week I looked at the forecast of a sunny Easter weekend and, using all the nine years experience I now have about how much ice cream we sell during school holidays, especially warm, sunny ones I  was organised enough to order 18 boxes of Bennetts (local and fabulous) small tubs.
That’s probably the most I’ve ever ordered.
It arrived on Tuesday.
On Tuesday afternoon I thought I’d better order a few more boxes just to be on the safe side.
They arrived on Thursday.
Today I have panic ordered another TWENTY ONE BOXES.
My years of so-called experience have counted for nothing.

Posted by Gill on


Today Naomi delivered the first of our Simnel cakes. We love them. Customers love them. They look like this. 


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Card machine was out of action again until 2.30 yesterday afternoon.
Liam said it was the most frustrating job he’s ever worked on.
He won’t forget us in a hurry as he was working on it for three days.
I am amazed that so many people still carry cheque books.
Thank goodness.

Posted by Gill on

Originally the date we were leaving the EU was the end of March so for weeks the daily news gave me a rather helpful countdown to the start of our season.
As a result I was more organised than I’ve ever been.
Now the EU has given us a new deadline.
The last week of October.
Which is when we close for Winter.
On my way home yesterday a commentator said “we have twenty eight weeks until the end of October”.
Twenty eight weeks of the season left.
Will our cake ballot box have to come out of storage in that time?

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We remained without a card machine for much of the day (cue scrabbling around for change and hidden notes in the bottom of bags and pockets) but outreach engineer Liam thinks he may have found the problem and we took two whole card payments before we closed.
A warmer, sunnier day during which a customer told me how she likes to dress up her two dogs in fairy outfits.