Friday, February 6, 2009

Out of A Job

As some of you might remember for the last five years I have been working in the dining area of a British shop/cafe. I fell into the job when I took my sister to lunch there on her last visit. I had been going as a customer ever since I discovered the place eight years previously, to get my nostalgia food, "mushy peas". How I missed my mushy peas and so when I discovered this little jewel that stocked all things British, I would travel the 15 miles once every six months or so to stock up and that went on for eight years. Back then 15 miles was such a LONG way, little did I know that I would be making that drive two, three and sometimes more days a week to go to work.

This is the old dining room. It was tiny - five tables - and I loved the place. So did my sister. We ordered bangers and mash with mushy peas and shepherd's pie with mushy peas. My sister had been living in Germany for many years and she was as interested in a little nostalgia food as much as I was. Bev was offered a job the same day as I was. She said if she had been living here she would have snapped it up and I would be mad to not take it. I was hesitant and didn't agree until we went back a week later for another lunch and I was amazingly agreeing to a trial period. That trial period lasted for five years.

The owner of the shop was from London, when I first heard her voice it was like a breath of fresh air and reminded me so much of home. Her husband had an adjoining British car garage next door. That was as much fun to look at as anything, and I loved all the old cars that were brought in to be repaired. They even had some old Rolls Royces - their owner had a small fleet of them used as you would for any limousine service.

I got to know all the mechanics who would come into the kitchen for lunch. One of them, Rafael, was every mother's son. I was tickled over this message he wrote and stuck up on the wall of the garage. He was such a polite boy and all us ladies mothered him like he was our own child. He had worked there since he was 16 years of age and we watched him grow up and join the army. He did three tours in Iraq and we were always so happy and relieved to see him when he came home after each one. We would smother him with motherly affection and give him a bite to eat. He would sit at the kitchen island and he would tell us all about what had been going on in his life. We all loved Rafael and we were always happy to see him.

I worked in the old shop for about a year before we were told by the owner that she was going to move us a couple of miles up the road. She had leased a slightly larger place with a little more room for the dining area, and so we said goodbye to the old place, and we missed it for a very long time.

After about another year the owner told us she was going to move down south to be nearer her family who had left Virginia six months previously. She wanted to be nearer her grandchildren and who could blame her?


When I was away in Germany the new owner closed the cafe down during the week, and unless we were willing to take our turn working on the weekends, well need I say more? With Gregg traveling quite a lot during the week there was no way I wanted to give up my weekends with him, and so I haven't been working there since the end of November.

I miss the place very much. I miss seeing my friends on a regular basis and I miss my regular customers, but I am very glad I took lots of photographs so that I can share them with you. Nothing ever stays the same and we have to move on don't we?

The silver lining is I met all my good friends there, friends I still keep in touch with and friends I get together with all the time. That's my silver lining.

In the meantime there are my photos and my memories of better times. I loved that place and that will never change.
Good memories and one very, very special one, of the last time I had lunch there with my sister. How I wish I had thought to bring my camera but I didn't have that need to have one permanently attached to my hip back then. My mind will have to be my camera and I vividly remember how much fun we had and we spoke of it many times these last few years. We even bought a couple of hats the first week, so that we could wear them the following week. Not the hat in this picture but pretty similar and we enjoyed playing dress up for one lunch hour. One very, very good memory, a very special memory shared with my sweet sister.

14 comments:

Kay said...

Denise, I just loved this post. I'm so sorry you won't be working there but I can see you've got tons of priceless memories. Your photos are fabulous! I really enjoyed seeing each one. I can see why you enjoyed the place. There is such a banquet of things to look and marvel at. Thank you for letting us browze through this lovely place.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

A wonderful post Denise. I too am sorry that you will no longer be working there, not just for the memories of your sister that it evokes but for the friends you will miss sharing days with. It looks just the sort of place that draws you in. I love visiting places like that myself.

No photos of you and Bev there together but the minds eye keeps the best memories of all and they will never fade.

Thanks for sharing with us. A x

The Good Life in Virginia said...

what a nice post denise. and looks like a shop i would have loved to stop in and visit.
memories are wonderful, aren't they?

take care and have a warm weekend.
erin

George said...

What a wonderful post about the place at which you worked and obviously loved. I'm sorry you lost your job, but you can never lose the memories.

papercages said...

How wonderful to have had these experiences and to have made so many friends. It's great that you got so many pictures. You seem to have such an upbeat attitude Denise-- I admire that so much.

Brit' Gal Sarah said...

Oh you were so lucky to have a British shop so close at hand and then get to work there too! My closest is 3 hrs in either direction, as are the supplies. Sorry about your job.

2sweetnsaxy said...

What a wonderful place. It looks like a place I would have loved to visit and visit frequently. I'm glad your time there was so pleasureable and so memorable.

Linda said...

I am sorry to hear that Denise. Thank you so much for all your tea shop posts.

jeannette stgermain said...

I sighed when I read this post (very well written, bu the way0 - I can tell how much you loved it there, and your friends...
have a great weekend, jeannette

Lilli & Nevada said...

What a wonderful story back in time and such a cute store as well. Always sad when things don't work out.

Denise said...

Kay, so happy you enjoyed both the post and the photographs. It was fun looking around and I bought a few things there myself over the years. I have those too as well as my memories.

Anne, thank you. Me too, I enjoy going to other tea rooms when I get the chance x

Erin, I wish I had had the chance to get you a good cup of tea. I would have enjoyed showing it to you.

George, wise words!

Papercages, I think living with an optimist for the last 33 years has had a positive effect ;)

Sarah, I was in the same boat until we moved to this area.

2sweetnsaxy, I would have enjoyed showing it to you too. Everyone seemed to enjoy it.

Linda, thank you, I am glad you enjoyed them all.

Jeannette, thank you and have a great weekend too.

Lilli&Amp, it's sad when one door closes, but I'll be waiting for the next door to open :) Never know what's out there waiting for us, new adventures maybe. Hoping so.

Thanks all for stopping by and leaving your sweet comments. Have a great weekend everyone.

ascu75 aka Don said...

Denise I love the post I had to laugh about your camera glued to your hip, since I started blogging I have one near at all times. XXX Don

Denise said...

Smart move Don, I can't tell you how many times I missed a 'oh I wish I had a camera right now' shot before I treated myself to one I could stow permanently in my purse. Denise xxx

Leedra said...

I loved this post, you know me I don't normally do alot reading when I am visiting blogs. This one I read through and through, even though I am more visual.

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