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.