White over and flat white

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Of course, it doesn't snow every day in Grosmont in the winter. When it does we feel justified in settling back and enjoying toasting our toes in front of the log burner, grateful for our break from making coffee for visitors; and recharging our batteries for the next season.

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When it's not snowing we venture out and let other people make us a coffee for a change. We enjoyed this view of the Minster amid the roofs of York. We saw it while sipping a flat white in the bistro attached to York Art Gallery. Before the coffee, we took in the Paul Nash exhibition there. More recharging of batteries.

Wed, read and redder

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We had a busy 'railway in wartime' weekend which this year coincided with a wedding in St Matthew's, next door. The bride had been in the coffee shop last month for her hen party. When they booked the ceremony they hadn't realised she would be a war bride. The photo shows a couple of our regular war weekend customers - the pipe is a prop, the moustache is real. The flag in the photo is that of Bill's father's unit in WW2: Royal Marines 40 Commando.

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Lots of young visitors came to the coffee shop during half term. This group enjoyed reading and being read to, sitting comfortably next to the log burner.

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We haven't had a real frost yet, but most of the leaves have gone from our grape vine. These last three look amazing in the late autumn sunshine.




Hens, rains, pawns and dawns

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We hosted a hen party in the coffee shop this month. The bride-to-be had been a pupil at school here and will be getting married in St Matthew's, next door, in a couple of weeks. They were a very happy group of hens; quite peckish but not raucous at all

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The Murk Esk which runs below us - about 30 feet below us thankfully - was swollen with heavy rain earlier in the month. It is normally between six inches and eighteen inches deep but had risen to about five feet after 24 hours of heavy rain. This photo shows the ford at the bottom of the village. Fortunately for us there's a footbridge to the left of it so we don't have to wade across.
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Our chess set in the coffee shop has become increasingly popular with customers. Some fairly intense games have been lost and won over coffee and cake while waiting for trains. We have a draughts set outside for people who prefer a quicker contest.

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We have had some beautiful sunny mornings in between the rainy grey days. Definitely autumnal though, with the sun lower in the sky and the dew heavy on the grass. Inexorably the dawn is creeping later as the days shorten. It's good we've got our supply of logs in for the winter. Customers have appreciated our log burner being lit on chillier days.

Sunshine and rain

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Emily's sunflowers are in bloom at the moment and looking good despite the very variable weather in August so far. We have had some sunny days but quite a few showers and some cooler cloudy days. The bees love the sunflowers though and they seem to attract customers into the coffee shop too.

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We have seen this Southern region engine (Repton) back on the line after a major refurbishment. It looks amazing in its gleaming green livery. It has joined the more workaday regular locomotives in hauling trains up and down the line to Pickering.

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Bill's savoury tarts continue to be popular. He bakes three different sets of fillings each time: goats' cheese and red onion marmalade; asparagus, stilton and walnut; and beetroot, feta and hazelnut. Our staff have tears in their eyes if they're around when Bill is making the red onion marmalade.

Trainspotters

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We can always tells when there is something unusual coming down the line. It is a bit like the scene in Hitchcock's 'The Birds' - except with trainspotters instead of menacing birds: everything is quiet; each time you look towards the viewing deck you can see a few more figures peering down the track, watching and waiting. They have a common purpose but tend to ignore each other, lost in their own anticipation of the perfect shot. As you can see in this picture, the wait gets too much for some people. Finally, with a toot from the platform back at the station, the train sets off, passes the viewing deck amid the clicks of all the shutters before disappearing into the tunnel and all is quiet again.

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This month we saw an Inter-City 125 train heading down towards Pickering. Bizarre seeing this mainline train making its way through Grosmont (pop. 300).

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The grapevine on our pergola in the outdoor seating area is doing well this year. Bill has had to install some additional supports for it and it now provides lovely dappled shade for customers enjoying a coffee in the playground.