Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The Rains

We’re still waiting for the flooding to reach Eton. It seems every other person has a different opinion about what is going to happen. Either the Jubilee River and the flood provisions the College put in, will save us, or Thursday will be very wet indeed. I’m not feeling terribly confident we will be spared, as everything seems to be going wrong at the moment. Yesterday morning the four month old bottle cooler broke (defrosting and leaking water all over the shop floor). And when I came to leave in the evening, found a cartoon style nail in my car tyre.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Today the shop opened late after I wasted two hours driving constantly but never moving more than 2 miles from home. Every road I tried was flooded! It was like being in a maze. At some points I could see my destination, the M4, and then round the next bend, a queue of cars waiting to do a u turn. It became quite comical, seeing the same faces on different routes, everyone waving their arms, shaking their heads and indicating the road ahead was closed. The trouble is, you can travel quite a long way down a lane before finding it is blocked and having to go all the way back and look for another route. I know I found at least nine closed roads.

At one point I was driving along beside a rat, soaked through and head down looking truly miserable and like a “drowned rat”. I saw a cyclist up to his axles in water and lots of abandoned vehicles.

But eventually after all routes East and West were exhausted I went North, then West, South, and East and got to my junction on the M4 about 2 hours later than usual.

Fortunately the shop isn’t flooded, but the rain is keeping the shoppers away. Thank goodness I have some paperwork to keep me busy!

Friday, July 20, 2007

100 units sold!

At some point today I sold my 100th bag of liquorice and my 100th pack of harvest rolls. It would have been quite a momentous occasion, had I known! Unfortunately, I've been so absorbed in getting some of the other reports to work I've not been paying attention to the report on sales and hadn't noticed how it had crept up over the last two weeks. I think I'll treat myself to one of my chocolate brownies to celebrate!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Cheese & Wine

Last week's excitement came from a Cheese & Wine evening at Stephen Phillips Interiors. Stephen and Phillip held the event to launch their new collection of furniture and furnishings. I supplied the cheese! We had Buche Ruffec, Brie de Meaux, Black Bomber Cheddar and Manchego (all displayed on a rather glamorous table, beside a candelabra).

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Strange Sightings

View from shop doorIt isn’t uncommon for something unusual to take place in Eton. It also isn’t unusual to see the odd famous face around. But this week has been particularly bizarre.

On Tuesday, the third of July, we experienced a thunderstorm, torrential rain, and a hailstorm. Not exactly summer weather! And on Friday I spied a very famous chap, also quite out of place.

As anyone who has tried to play that six degrees of separation game with me will know, my “who’s who” knowledge is rather limited. But this week even I recognised our famous visitor... Father Christmas...In Eton... In July...

Father Christmas!It appears he had a lovely day, took an open top bus tour and rode the Royal Windsor Wheel. He should be back again in about five months time, when the weather is bound to me more or less the same!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Stratta Tasting Day

One of the best things about running my own shop is seeking out, finding and meeting talented and friendly producers. This weekend, my customers got to meet two such producers when John and Mary, of Stratta, came along to hold a tasting day. It was a miserable day weather wise, but we had a good turn out. The tasters went down well, with a lot of positive feedback (which won’t be a surprise to anyone familiar with the products). Customers really appreciated being able to try things and hear first hand what to do with them. And I really enjoyed having John and Mary’s company for the day (plus they were very useful when it came to adjusting the door closure and selling liquorice!).

I’ve now extended the range I offer and carry five different sweet fruit vinegars and six infused extra virgin olive oils (including two chilli oils; one hot and one very very hot). I’ve also stocked up on more of the preserved lemons, which now feature in Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook.