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Postcard No. 2

Another week passes and this is the 2nd of our (approximately) weekly postcards; stupidly long and wordy for social media, but I don’t care if you don’t! By the way, If you want to read the 1st postcard, simply scroll down until you find it about 9 days ago!

1st and foremost, the tortoises are fabulous, and we are fattening them up on organic veg ready for their huge outdoor show run when it gets warm next year. Gareth and I made the run ourselves, trying to make it toddler proof - it won't be obviously!! Nicky's Corn snake is stunningly beautiful but not the same for me. To watch a tortoise eat is to relax, and to watch a snake is to simply hope it doesn't get you!

Kim and Vic were making and testing the new autumn pancake menu over the past week or two, and with savoury options like “Pork, Apple and Brie”, it is in keeping with the changing season, and I'm not just saying this as Kim’s husband and her biggest fan, but the new additions are extremely good and are being received extremely well. For me, they are better than the summer menu.

And there are other changes coming too, what with many people moving inside the restaurant instead of outside, and with it there are decisions we have had to make along with the rest of the hospitality industry. What do we do regards ventilation and Covid etc? Particularly as it gets cold. I reckon you will notice lots of places sitting on the fence on this one, half freezing their customers with all the doors open in the middle of January whilst they try to super heat all the escaping air.

We are not for sitting on fences though. For us the decision is simple. We will close the doors, but open all the extract fans and windows to ensure ventilation from all parts of the building, whilst not being ridiculous about it in a country where if you want double vaccination, you can have it. Yet we fully appreciate some people may have specific needs in the area of Covid, and that is why we will have built outside canvassed and heated seating areas by the end of November.

We hope very much not to alienate a small percentage of customers, but equally we see no point in trying to induce people to have a treat in an environment not dissimilar to the arctic! Personally speaking, I hope you will get yourself vaccinated if not already. We will have the wood burning stove fired up and waiting for you come November.

We had all the reclaimed materials delivered the other day ready for the base of the outside canvassed areas. There are UK derived sleepers and antique bricks fresh from a local demolition job that hopefully will look great to sit on as patios, under infra-red heating, powered by excess solar generation. I hope that when done, they will provide comfortable outdoor seating all year round.

To hook up the infra-red, and to do so responsibly, we need to install many more solar panels along with next generation battery storage, but don’t worry yourself, we have a plan and it looks like we have part grant funding too, yet to be confirmed, but looking good I am told. It will involve creating another 3 living roofs on top of converted shipping containers with the solar on top. The solar will be done in June, and this will leave a gap in necessary solar generation of about 7 months. This is not ideal, but then again, because the government scrapped the feed in tariff for excess solar generation, we have for the last couple of years been feeding excess power into the grid free of charge............. I know, I know, I know.... that is not enough justification for heating outside using non-green electric for even a short period, but with Covid pressures to provide outside areas, it is one of those things that is tough to navigate, and I hope we have made a reasonable call on this.

We are about to submit a planning application to ensure all our activities are fully sanctioned by the council’s planning department, and we have a local firm doing it for us. Over the years I looked at submitting various applications myself and as it turns out I would have messed it up and applied for the wrong thing! In my experience, there are not just the two certainties of death and taxes (as the saying goes) there is in fact a 3rd, and this is that no matter what you wish to do with your land or your property, no matter how far people live away, no matter how unaffected they will be, and no matter how noble your intentions or your actions, there will be British people complaining about it!

…...Nevertheless, if you want to live and work happily and in a relaxed manner, living to a good age and in good humour, you must not be concerned about that which you cannot change, but equally, and as the “sunscreen” song goes; If you find out how... let me know!

Remember to come try our new menu, and see you next week!

Ben and team.

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