The more people I talk to, the more convinced I am that the Covid pandemic has changed things probably forever. As some lockdown restrictions were lifted in April, we started thinking about how we would get ready for opening to customers on the 17th May, we felt we had to present a bright new cafe, as far as we could.
So, out with the pots of paint to refresh the cafe and a deep clean everywhere needless to say. We refurbished equipment because most of the ‘kit’ has been idle for nearly 15 months.
We have been making and delivering 70 meals a week thanks to Craig Kirk’s team, using the upstairs kitchen all through lockdown, but opening the cafe for visiting customers is quite different. We have redesigned the menu; made the garden look lovely (thanks Diana, Helen and Linda) with plants donated from Fol Hollow Nurseries (thanks Chris Dale). Scarlett Pearmain, our bear, is getting a repaint thanks to volunteer Abby. We have created a take-away menu because people have got used to staying at home. Our redecoration included taking down the lights from the ceiling (don’t worry they will go back up at Christmas), changing the ceiling teapot layout, new-to-us donated shelves have allowed new ornamentation. And we have tuned the piano!
A new staff team is led by Ruth Pointon, Charla has gone to pastures new, and some of our previous volunteers have new priorities. New volunteers have joined us for work experience; to bring us new skills and enthusiasm and to see if they fancy working with us for the longer term; they are all very welcome.
The 17th of May saw us open and so far more of you have come each week, enjoying the good weather in the garden, it is lovely to see everyone. Isn’t meeting people face to face a strange feeling? We are looking forward to being properly busy again in the coming weeks. We will plan Friday evening events again as soon as we can. Jazz and Blues should take place on August Bank Holiday weekend and we are planning to have bands on both evenings.
All in all we’re nearly all new, but hopefully you’ll agree it’s still just your favourite Aunties front room with lovely food as ever!