On Wednesday, we took a tour of Derbyshire and, needing toilets, we stopped at the Brierlow Bar bookshop. The car park was more crowded than usual, so we deduced that the plan of converting from bookshop to cafe was working.
You can’t begrudge someone maximising their earnings, but it’s depressing to think of all this being done at the expense of the book stock.
The cake was good (we had a very nice, moist blueberry and lemon sponge), the tea was excellent but, and I am trying to suppress a smile here, standards are slipping.
Despite several members of staff bustling about, they were so slow serving that we had to eat very slowly to avoid finishing the cake before the tea arrived. As we ate and drank tea the staff then decided to talk of their urgent need for the toilet (it seems too many customers were using it). This isn’t going to spoil my appetite, but it may be upsetting for the less hardy type of customer.
The real killer moment came when a staff member with a paint pot walked behind the counter and added water to the paint from the kitchen sink. I know they like you to have one sink for hand washing and one for washing up, and, if possible, a third for vegetable preparation, but I’m not sure about paint dilution. It doesn’t contain pathogens so environmental health may not have an issue with it. On the other hand it doesn’t look very professional.
Use the outside tap, use the tap in the toilets or ask one of the kitchen staff to pass you a jug of water. Do not, if you value your reputation, walk behind the counter with a paint pot.
Even worse, in my eyes, was the fact that the tea strainer they gave us had not been washed properly. A couple of left-over tea leaves won’t kill you, but it does make you wonder what other hygiene corners are being cut.
At least I can report that the book stock seems not to have been pruned since our last visit and though some sections are still struggling the crime novels, cookery books and aviation sections seem to be improving.
I’ll leave it there, as I’m starting to remember the book stock we lost.
It looks like Part 3 will contain news of my second burger of the week.