On our time out in Cornwall I was determined to visit a few gardens as when we get back home that is one project I need to crack on with. So of the two places I fancied visiting (Eden and gardens of Heligan) the changeable weather meant we headed for the Eden project.
I was slightly worried that Isaac would get a bit bored with just looking at plants – but as the Eden project is an educational charity they really put a lot on for kids. The highlight for Isaac probably being a surprise visit by Mr Bloom where he was right at the front, singing and dancing along. Oh and a huge wall of old fridge doors with magnetic letters where he could practice writing his name.
It was a great day that also taught me a good lesson – always check
online for a discount. The ticket prices were steep (worth it but steep) but we could have saved 10% by booking online! How did I miss that!!!
Today I had an interesting lesson in bad customer service – which was so good that I’d probably go back there again.
Seems like a contradiction?
Let me introduce you to Larsson’s Coffee House & Creperie in Looe… but first some of the story of why it was so bad.
So on our annual visit to Cornwall we had to kill a bit of time around Looe while we waited for our friend Mary. We’d done the beach and shops and fancied a coffee with a little sweet treat (we’re on holiday after all). Now Creperies aren’t normally a haunt of ours, mainly as Isaac doesn’t like them – but as he’d been stocked up with ice-cream we thought we’d indulge ourselves.
On walking in there was only one other couple there, sipping coffee and watching the world go by. So we grabbed a seat, swapped a little banter with the other couple and started perusing the menus that Steph found on the counter.
Now we weren’t in a huge rush but it soon transpired nor was the one girl serving behind the counter. She was preoccupied with the other couples order and specifically how much hollandaise sauce she should make…
Soon the girl emerged with some pancake & hollandaise concoction, which was unceremoniously delivered before returning to the kitchen to make ‘the other one’.
No acknowledgement to us – just a steely focus on getting the next crepe done.
Now I did feel a little sorry for her as it was obvious that cooking crepes and waffles took a degree of concentration and work – and couldn’t be done while maintaining the front of house (so to speak). But still basic customer service lessons will always teach you to acknowledge and explain the situation.
5 minutes later – she emerged again…another delivery of hollandaise coated goodness…and finally some recognition…
However, once she had started to take the order another couple came in…this obviously tipped some internal trigger in terms of her perceived workload as no sooner had we asked for coffees than she had disappeared upstairs…
The result of which led to the owner making a fairly flamboyant entrance.
Now things should probably have improved.
Certainly the order was taken and she squirreled off immediately to start cooking. Leaving the owner to chat to the 6 people that now were sat center stage at his performance.
The service was still slow and disjointed – Steph’s being half eaten before mine turned up.
Plus my order was wrong – it was meant to have summer berries, which the owner quickly pointed out to the girl were not the stack of blueberry’s she’s heaped on my plate (they were for his porridge in the morning – or at least they were).
For a creperie they even ran out of the basics (milk & eggs) leading the owner to pop out to the local shop…luckily not on our order.
So as experiences of customer service go – fairly awful against the normal measures.
Yet below are three questions I posed to Steph and her answers:-
- Did you enjoy it? Yes it was a great place
- Would you recommend it? Absolutely
- Why? It had a great atmosphere and the owner was a great laugh
…and it’s that last point that really struck me today, because I’d answer the same questions in a very similar manner.
The fact that the owner was a larger than life character who engaged, chatted and had banter with his customers made up for the lack of basics. Few of the customer service basics were there but none of these mattered against the ability to just engage with people and show an interest in them. Maybe he played into that classic 70’s British proprietor mould where customers are just an unfortunate part of the job – even down to the fact that he only opened the place to get a decent cup of Italian coffee. Yet it was that humor and unapologetic disorder that was completely engaging and would have us both go back for more – even Isaac loved him.
Time away is always good and this year I’ve not doe enough of it so far – things have been way too busy.
The best thing I find away from the normal grind is that it gives time to reflect of things and where stuff is going. Maybe it’s the Emily thing as well, but there are too many days just passing on by and not being enjoyed to the full. I’ve always struggled finding a point of this blog, outside of just tracking my butterfly like interests from one project to the next but it’s time to start taking things seriously – time after all is fleeting, Isaac is growing up and my memory is starting to get selective.
So here’s to reflections from Looe – designs for life and general motivation for the months ahead…
well as weeks go it’s been fairly good…
I’m back into blogging – back drawing – back working towards hitting a few goals.
However, the highlight has to be Isaac picking his first strawberry from the garden:-
So all good!
I think the aim for the coming week is to sort out the lights in the front room and the sink in the downstairs toilet. Both simple and straight forward jobs, but both needing some application and fitting it around everything else.
On the blogging front it seems I’m continually hitting memory issues which are causing the dreaded ‘White screen of WordPress death’.
Although there is a work around that invovles turning off certain pluggins to edit or post anything new I don’t think this is sustainable in the long term.
I need to be able to edit php.ini but this is only a read only file in the current hosting environment – so….it looks like I might have to raise a ticket.
…more from Isaac’s list of 50 things to do, this time drawing.
Luckily he’s just using paper at the moment but I just know in an unguarded moment the wall will acquire some graffiti.
Another thing of the “50 things to do in 2014” …this time? Blowing bubbles….
Isaac brought back two things from his visit to his cousins Dia and Teifi’s.
1 – a stinking cold
2 – a cool kazoo
…but the funniest thing about the kazoo wasn’t Isaac’s almost natural grasp of the kazoo playing technique, but his mothers inability to make any noise. Continually blowing through it in puzzlement over why everyone else could play a tune.
More from Isaac’s 50 things to do here.
Ok well this was meant to be feeding the ducks but on an afternoon in the wetlands we came across some relatively friendly swans….so…they’re kind of like ducks…maybe royal ducks 🙂
Ok maybe a wooden dragon but it still counts…
So as part of decorating Isaac’s bedroom we included a height chart – 31″ and growing.
Isaac loves going up north to visit Faye and Jonathan – or Shay and Non Non in Isaac language. One of the reasons he loves it is they always think of great activities to do while we’re there and on this visit Isaac got to see lions at the local wildlife park.
So one more thing of his list of 50 things to do this year.
Back at the start of the year we set out to do 50 things with Isaac in 2014 (I think the alcohol of New Years Eve had some part to play).
Anyway quite a few have been crossed off the list but i’ve done nothing to document them, so here’s the first one…jumping in puddles 🙂
So that’s post one…the full list can be found here.
Visit Caldicot castle
- Count boats in Saundersfoot harbor
Blow a dandelion
- Walk up to 14 locks
- Make a sand castle
- Make a Christmas cards for my grandparents
- Make jam tarts
Play with leaves Find a lion Jump in a puddle
- Sing and dance ‘heads shoulders knees and toes’
- Ride on a steam train
Feed a duck
- Pick blackberries
- Pet a pony/horse
Grow and eat a cress sandwich
- drink through a straw
Ride a dragon
- Learn to say mummy and daddy
- Go to the panto
- Make a playdoe volcano
Play the drums
- Build a den
- Make a boat for the bath
- Build a toy rocket
- Go swimming
- Feed some fish
- Make an autumn collage
- Start playing the piano
Draw a picture Blow bubbles
- Collect pebbles from a beach
- Play chase
- Make a bookmark for Emily
- Go fishing in the bath
Play a kazoo Play on a swing
- Make a sock puppett
- Make a domino chain
- Have a picnic in the sun
Make a height chart
- Learn to say a prayer
- Make an origarmi crane
- Use the big toilet
- play catch (and throwing)
- Go to the cinema
- Have a water fight
- Bounce on a bouncy castle
- Dance to music
- Light a candle