I must begin with an apology, for being so very useless at updating my blog recently. I feel I have a very valid reaon for my blogging silence. It is the very same reason why I have spent the last few months stressing over such things as whether or not 500 disposable cups will arrive on time. It is why I have frequently been waking up at 4am, as one more urgent 'to-do' floats into my mind (Buy string! Order forks! Ring dairy!) It is also the reason that I recently made the decision that I was "never baking again" after churning out the 80th chocolate brownie at midnight (it lasted approximately 9 hours. I was up early the next morning baking 8 carrot cakes).
And now here I am, able to sit back, relax and blog about it, safe in the knowledge that this event I have been building up to, planning for, collecting for and baking for over the last 3 months was all worth it. Pass the Teapot made its debut festival appearance at Secret Garden Party at the end of July, trading for 4 days. And despite all of those moments when I didn't think I could pull it off, it was without a doubt my (baking) career highlight so far.
It all got off to a rather ominous start when the van that I was due to borrow broke down with no hope of being fixed until long after the festival was over. Finding this out the day before we were due to leave was not ideal. The news brought on a slight anxiety attack as I peered through my fingers at my tiny little car parked outside. But as rationality and sense prevailed I was reassured that we would indeed be able to fit everything into two cars (my own and my fellow Pass the Teapot-er's). So it was that on the morning of Wednesday 20th July, the four of us managed (JUST) to squeeze everything in (with more than a few cries of "What are we doing??") and head off to Cambridgeshire.
The next four days were something of a blur. A particularly happy blur, in which I got to hang out with people I love, doing something I love, with tea available on tap (which I love). Everything was busy busy busy. One part of each day that I particularly relished was the mornings, happy to wake up early and crawl out of our rather uncomfortable tent (airbed + puncture = hard floor). I would put the radio on and potter around inside the gazebo, turning on the tea urns, filling up the milk jug, icing cakes. I would unzip the gazebo, drag out the stall table and peg out the bunting while I waited for the first bleary-eyed camper to purchase their first cuppa of the day. And a slice of cake for breakfast if they were feeling particularly fragile. Those were the moments that I got to take stock, look around me and relish in the fact I was here, living out a dream. Cheesy I know. At least I didn't use the words 'dream come true'.
Over the four days we sold a LOT of tea. Not surprising really, tea is a winner in pretty much all situations, even one where the priority of the majority of your clientele is to get drunk and dance in the sun. Rocky roads had sold out by day three. People really do love a bit of chocolate. Next to go was the carrot cake and by Monday morning there was very little left to sell. One customer took the final batch of cupcakes, buying the whole lot to take back to his mates in their tents. Even as we packed up to go home there were still sugar-hungry customers eyeing up the last few slices of coffee cake.
I loved it all. From making the aprons to hanging out the bunting, from baking the cakes to icing them, from chatting to the customers to serving hot tea after hot tea. For me, it was a weekend that truly strengthened my desire to own my own cafe. It wasn't easy, and I can only imagine how tough it must be to run a full-time cafe if that's what it took to trade for 4 days. But the buzz of doing something you love and sharing it with others, for me, far outweighs any negatives. Thank you Secret Garden Party for giving me the chance to experience just a little taste of what it could be like. One day.....
And thank you to the tea-loving, cake-eating, festival-going people that stopped by for a slice of Pass the Teapot.