Jaqui's Daily Blog

In Which I Am On Duty at a Coffee Morning

I have heard it said that we should try to learn something new every day. Every day might be a tall order, what with everything else going on in my life - but today I learnt about Rain Gardens. As I do like the Daily Blog to come over all educational every so often, I will explain shortly - but first I would like to set the scene. If it’s all the same to you?


I am helping out at a Coffee Morning, organised by my friends Sue and her sister Jane, to raise money for the Children’s Society. I arrive just five minutes before the doors are due to open, which is later than I intended owing to some last minute arrangements to ensure Mr B is safe and comfortable in my absence. Sue is pleased to see me and suggests I can be most useful joining Roz in serving teas and coffees at the back of the Church. I am, I say, at her service and prepared to do absolutely anything.


I am, however, quietly delighted to have been placed on Tea and Coffee Duty, which is what I would have chosen, given the option. On Tea and Coffee Duty, you see, you have a chance to meet almost everybody who arrives to support the event. Nor do you have to smile pleadingly at people passing-by, as you do if allocated to the book stall, the cake stall, the bric-a-brac or the raffle. I love presiding over the coffee machine, the tea pot (adorned with a bright, knitted tea cosy) and the plates of biscuits. I like the fact that we aren’t charging by the cup-full but are inviting donations instead - this means I don’t have to worry about giving change which would make the whole process more stressful. Our refreshment table is also most helpfully located next to the cake stall which means I can quickly purchase a couple of cheese scones for Mr B and a mince pie for One Who Is Always Thinking About Her Stomach. Whoever she might be.


Roz gives me a quick lesson in All Matters Refreshments, including the number of tea bags per tea pot (six), the number of scoops of coffee in the percolator (also six - lucky that!) and the number of filter papers needed in said machine (two - not sure why One Is Not Enough but I’m not the type to argue.) There’s an empty margarine carton in which to dispose of used filter papers, jugs for milk and plates for the biscuits we are going to offer alongside people’s Beverage of Choice. 


Roz has lots of other duties to fulfil so she has to leave me in sole charge for most of the morning. This is not a problem as it stops us getting in each other’s way, so risking putting twice as many tea bags in the tea pot or scoops of coffee in the percolator. When I can’t remember exactly what instructions Roz gave me, I kind of make it up as I go along on the basis that I can’t really go very far wrong, now can I? I mean, it’s not rocket science. Or is it?


Most of my customers choose to stop and chat for a while. One is taking her two year old granddaughter to see the new Frozen film so we have a discussion about how long one can expect a two year old to sit still in a theatre or cinema. I am, of course, something of an expert on such matters having taken my Trio of Rampaging Rascals on various trips out. We agree, the other grandmother and I, that it is good for littl’uns to learn how to behave in cinemas and theatres - but nevertheless she asks for another cup of strong coffee to fortify her for the undoubted challenges ahead.


An elderly mother and her daughter stop by for a tea and a coffee. I feel a pang, listening to them chatting and thinking of my own dear Mum. I ask who looks after whom and they both answer, as one: “She looks after me!”


There is a piano playing in the background and a young girl is singing. I join in, as tunefully as I can, but fortunately only the tea pot can hear me. Ian, to my eternal gratitude, helps me out by taking tray after tray of dirty crockery down to the vestry to be washed up. Sue calls out the winning numbers in the Raffle and I realise, too late, that I haven’t had a chance to leave my post, not even to buy a strip or two of raffle tickets. I put the money I would have spent in the donations bucket and comfort myself with the thought that I wouldn’t have won anything anyway. It’s time to clear up and head for home where Mr B will be wanting his lunch…


What’s that you are asking? Oh, yes, the Rain Garden - well done for hanging onto that thought all the way through my Daily Witterings, that is seriously impressive. One of my customers has spent the morning clearing leaves from gulleys and drains. He belongs to a local group working to address problems of flooding in the locality by creating a Rain Garden, planted with water-hungry shrubs and flowers. I’ve never heard of a Rain Garden before, I tell him, and ask what kind of plants he is talking about. He admits he doesn’t know exactly - his job is just to clear leaves.


Like me on the Refreshments Table, he has a job to do and he is doing it to the best of his ability.


We also serve who only stand and wait (for the kettle to boil…)

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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