I’m afraid I’m a bit of a bah humbug person when it comes to Christmas. In oh so many ways, Christmas and myself just don’t get along.
First – well there are all those mixed dried fruit things in cakes, pudding and mince pies! WHY? So if I remember – which until this year has not happened since I was a child – for me, Christmas Day pudding is a Yule Log.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to make a Yule Log for the cafe and I have to say it is a success. It’s been easy to make – I qualify this statement because it a) doesn’t take too long and b) has been a success each time (and so far I’ve made at least 6!). When I wanted to make scones a few months back I reverted to an old recipe booklet by McDougall’s. I wonder how many of us have got one of their booklets at home, or how many of us HAD one. I know as a child we had a blue and white one but the current one I have (possibly since I was about 12) is yellow and blue.
I altered the Swiss Roll recipe to include cocoa powder and instead of jam used one of their icing recipes. The result? Delicious! Sadly if others see it, it disappears too quick for my liking. I have a feeling I will be making many more in the months to come with different variations. Perhaps a Red Velvet one in February, Strawberries and Cream in June, Dark Chocolate Orange for Hallowe’en. Who knows?
But I digress – The title of this post is “It’s been amazing” and this year has. It started out pretty dismally. Last Christmas the sales and business of the cafe/shop dropped off and we struggled to pay the rent in December. I hoped January would pick up during the lull after Christmas but it didn’t and in fact life at the cafe didn’t really begin again until mid February. I made all sorts of excuses – everybody was busy doing Christmas shopping, followed by everybody spent up before Christmas and now has no money until pay day at the end of January, finally followed by Help! why is no one coming? have they forgotten about my little enterprise?
Once this blip was over things picked up and over time I lost those longs periods of time sitting alone, counting stock, filling already full shelves, “doing my own thing” etc as people not only drifted back but also sat and chatted with their knitting/crochet. Times alone became shorter and rarer and now I am hardly alone in the shop. It’s lovely!
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not making a million from all these lovely customers. Some will pop in for a coffee and sit for a couple of hours and buy nothing else BUT there is a lovely sense of community and belonging in the place which counteracts the small input into the till. My dream for the place was not to make millions but to provide a place for people to escape/find respite/relax/ laugh/make friends oh the list is varied and endless. I need to make sufficient to keep the place going and in all honesty I’d like to take a bit of a wage, I’m not a saint but I get so much pleasure from the comments of my customers that it more than makes up for the lack of wages.
I’ve often said that if you hate your job, it won’t matter how much you earn, you’ll still hate it. If you love your job, you would almost do it for free. That’s where I am. I love my job. I want more income so I can improve the things I do – buy more yarn, possibly get bigger premises, employ someone to help etc, and maybe one day I’ll make enough to treat myself to the minimum wage.
Thank you to my customers for taking the worry about the VAT bill away by spending so much this December. Thank you for your company. Thank you for your friendship and kind words. Finally, thank you to ALL my customers who have made this year so amazing!