September 2012

Custom and practice

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Our son Will has just spent a week with us, doing barista duties during our busy period. It is interesting seeing the operation though his eyes. Overwhelmingly, our customers have been very positive. They have liked the way we have set up the coffee shop, reflecting and making the most of its setting in the old school. They enjoy the atmosphere we have created and the menu we offer. You can’t please everyone though. One person was extremely disappointed to discover we didn’t offer instant coffee. Someone else thought we were ‘treating dogs like second class citizens’ because we ask that dog owners use our outdoor ‘canine corner’ table rather than allow them inside the coffee shop with their charges. We still find it puzzling when, occasionally, people poke their head through the door and beat a hasty retreat after less than a nano second. What is it they have seen or not seen in that moment?

Emily is pleased that her tomato plants in the raised bed have borne fruit, despite the poor summer weather. The harvest is on the window ledge slowly turning red.

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We got some good material about the school during the 1940s from our visit to the county record office. We’ve ordered copies of pages from the school register showing evacuees from Hull and London in the school and pages from the head teacher’s diary detailing events around the air raid that resulted in the school being closed for 18 months with bomb damage. We also discovered the location of the school’s wartime ‘dig for victory’ garden plot when a former pupil from that period came in for a pot of tea and a chat. He also related the story of the head teacher from that period being chased around the garden of his cottage by his wife who was wielding a frying pan. It was obviously a memorable occasion as he’s the second alumnus from that period to mention the event.

Well seasoned

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Definitely feels like autumn now. Lovely sunsets but a chill in the evening air and very fresh in the morning before the sun gets up above the hill.

We seem to have made it through the busy peak of the summer school holidays with the help of our regular local young people along with our family and friends. It was tough working every day and we are really savouring our days off now we have moved to a five day a week operation. Bliss. We’re already trying to work out how we can make arrangements for next summer that will allow the two of us to have at least one day a week off to make things more sustainable.

Two of our nieces, Amy and Emily spent two weeks with us over our busiest time and they were fantastic. They worked in the coffee shop, where Emily quickly mastered the art of the cappuccino and Amy became our smoothie expert. And they even found time to bake cakes. They were great with customers and kept us buoyed up with their enthusiasm and positivity.

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We’re spending one of our days off visiting the county record office. We’re looking at the school records of the 1939-1945 period to find out about evacuee children who attended the school in that period as well as the incident when the school was damaged by a bomb in an air raid. We intend to create a display using the material at the upcoming ‘war weekend’ in early October.

Emily is pleased that the sunflowers she grew from seed have done so well, as have the crab apples and the tomatoes, although the latter are still green. Not surprising given the limited sunshine we’ve had.

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