In the late spring last year, I had to travel to the Cotswolds for work. I had to spend most of a Friday in a picturesque little village in Gloucestershire. It’s tough, I know, but someone had to do it.
I travelled by train from central London. A 90-minute journey took me to a village called Moreton-in-Marsh, where I met my colleague.Together we travelled into a village called Stanton, where our work awaited us.
When we’d finished our filming, we wandered around the beautiful village and marvelled at the homes and village life. I imagined a future that involved a home in the Cotswolds, and spent some time wondering how Mr Sunshine and I could make that happen.
My colleague took me back to Moreton-in-Marsh where I was to catch the train back to London. I walked around the village, and stopped for a meal before the return journey. I chose a sweet and cosy little ‘tea shop’ on the village high street. When I entered and asked for a table for one, I was shown, with some empathy, to a little table next to the window.
I read the menu, and couldn’t find anything I really wanted. So I asked the waiter if they could make me a ‘special salad’.
“A special salad?”
I said something really simple would be perfect.
“A mixture of what you have would be great.”
“A special salad? What do you mean?”
When I explained some lettuce, tomato, potato salad and the like would be fabulous, she said, “I’d better ask my manager.”
She scuttled, frowning, towards the kitchen.
A few minutes later, the manager came over to my table and said, “I understand you want a special salad?”
Again, I explained what I was looking for.
He looked at me sideways and then excused himself. He disappeared kitchenwards.
A few minutes later, a third person approached my table and asked me about said special salad.
“What is it you want? Lettuce? Tomato? Cucumber? Potato salad? Coleslaw?”
When I responded in the affirmative to whatever she could offer me, she offered to see what she could do for me. She returned 10 minutes later with a plateful of deliciousness, and encouraged me to enjoy it. She looked like she felt sorry for me.
When I’d finished the multi-coloured selection of freshness, I called for my bill.
The manager brought the bill to me with an apology.
“I’m really sorry, I had to put it through as a quiche. I didn’t know what else to do.”
I was so amused I’d caused a storm in a tea shop. And then it got me thinking – maybe that’s how we could fund a life in the Cotswolds: open a tea shop specialising in special salads. Especially for the fussy townies.
Sunshine signing off for today!