Eating out with my Mum.
I recently had my dear old Mum to stay, both at home and at the hotel.
She loves to stay in hotels. Maybe that's where I got the bug from. Now normally when we check someone in at Linthwaite we always show them to the room and point out the important bits: heating on/off; lighting; TV etc..
When she came down to dinner she said it was very cold in the room. I had failed in my show round. She'd been playing with the air conditioning remote control. The A/C is disguised as a picture!
One of the other things she loves to do when she comes up (she is over 90 so doing Helvellyn is out of the question and, whilst she was a very good golfer in her day, she refuses to caddy for me) is to potter round the Lakes and enjoy the beauty. She also likes to pop in to the odd cafe at frequent intervals. Over four days we visited eight what I'd call casual dining spots. Casual has more than one meaning in some cases.
This was good because for me in my capacity as one of the judges for the Cumbria Life Food & Drink awards http://www.cumbrialifefoodawards.co.uk/ I needed to get out and try some places.
Obviously I can't mention many names here. But it was very mixed. Catering was outstanding at The Barn Shop as it always is, it was huge at the Lunesdale Bakery in Kirkby Lonsdale. It was extortionately expensive in some, great value in others. Chesters by the River is a favourite at Skelwith Bridge. It's always changing and now they have a pizza oven. Always reinventing itself. Great shop too.
A new re-opening is the Wolf House Gallery at Silverdale. OK, It is in Lancashire so won't be able to enter the Awards. But it's brilliant! Good food, nice shop. Lovely walking country.
Service, which I am particularly interested in, was mixed. Mostly happy amateurish, devoid in the most part of any professional training, and in a couple of cases downright rude. Everywhere struggles with how to deliver; order at the counter, order at the table, wait for ages to pay. How to pay?
This needs to be improved! Otherwise the customer will feel as cold as my Mum was!