Tuesday 14 July 2015
View from the allotment (click to enlarge)
Still in Dartmouth we decided to go for breakfast at Alf Resco’s, an outdoor (note the cunning play on words!) but covered café serving only breakfast and lunch (i.e. not dinner).
It was very busy but we got the last table. We were told to peruse the menu then go to the counter to order, which sounded fair enough, but the young lady who was taking the orders was also dispensing drinks. There were two in front of me: the first was ordering for 8 people, each of whom wanted something different to drink (i.e. 1 latte, 1 cappuccino, 1 banana milkshake, etc.) so that took nearly 15 minutes to serve up, after which she took his food order – it seemed to me that it would have made more sense to order the food first so that the chef could crack on with it while she sorted out drinks. The next person in front of me was ordering for 6 so again it took ages.
When I had been waiting for about 20 minutes, it did occur to me that I might leave the queue and we could then take our custom to another establishment where they knew how to look after their customers, but I decided to hang on. My tea and coffee were quickly dispensed but when I ordered our breakfasts (and after I had paid!), the young lady told me the food might be some time as they were very busy.
Back at the table we waited and eventually a server came by calling out my name whereupon we were given toast, expecting our food to arrive imminently. Having eaten most of the toast we suddenly realised we were in serious danger of running out before our breakfast arrived and how can one eat fried eggs without a bit of toast, and nothing on earth would persuade me to go back into the queue to order more. The dichotomy was of course that by waiting, the last bits of toast would get cold, equally bad.
Anyway, like the cavalry in all good westerns, our breakfasts arrived in time to save the day ( but only just). The food was good and pretty inexpensive so hard to complain but the whole experience could be so much better with a rather less chaotic efficient system for ordering.
Later we went to our friends’ allotment to relieve some of the plants of their harvest burden as our friends were away. While picking raspberries I was stood on one of the broad steps in the allotment when the fascia board supporting the step gave way and I found myself standing on air, clutching at nothing in an attempt to stop myself falling over. I overbalanced and found myself, as if in slow motion, toppling backwards to the ground.
My limited experience of previous topples (and not a tipple in sight!) told me that when one reaches the ground there is a tendency for the fall to stop, but in this case because of the steepness of the terrain, I kept on tumbling over. I succeeded in stopping myself on about the third step down and lay there momentarily doing a quick audit of the various bits of my body looking for pain, but incredibly, I couldn’t feel any.
Standing up proved challenging as I was lying on a slope, albeit a sloping step. When eventually I did, I was muddied but not bloodied so considered myself very lucky with scarce an ache or a pain.
Some time later with a bit of time to kill, we stopped at a hostelry we’d passed a number of times to have a quick ‘coffee’. The Turtley Corn Mill markets itself as ‘not a pub with a garden’ but a ‘pub IN a garden’ and so it is – beautiful gardens with a lovely pub (former corn mill) in the middle.
We asked about coffee . . . Yes . . . then tea . . . still Yes . . . . we asked about cakes. . . scones OK? so two teas and scones ordered. When they arrived, each tea was in a little individual cafetière-style teapot.
But then, the scones arrived and we were dumb-struck – scones still hot from the oven with more raisins than I’ve ever seen grace any scone; a huge ramekin of jam and another with clotted cream, garnished with a couple of strawberries and a sprig of mint.
Any meal should be more than the sum of the components and this was – possibly (and one can never be totally sure about this) the best by far cream tea we’d ever eaten. It was as close as one could get to perfection in a cream tea.
We told them; they seemed pleased to be told; we paid; we left totally fulfilled.
And then later that day . . . . . . . . . . (to be continued)