If you read, and hopefully liked, my post on our Walsall Town Hall Restaurant ladies, maybe you’ll enjoy reading an update. Maybe you’ll think I ramble on too much. Well, what do you expect for free?
I didn’t intend to mention my blog post to the ladies. I thought they’d maybe think I was a soppy sod and perhaps wouldn’t want the attention. And there’s also that private me/work me thing. Well, I got the former wrong. As for the latter, if you’re fool enough to publish stuff, there’s always the chance that people will read it I suppose!
Mel from our Comms team, who looks after internal comms and other stuff, saw my blog post and called me saying she thought it’d be great to put something in the Council’s online internal newsletter about the THR ladies. “OK” I said, whilst thinking “bloody hell, now they’ll know I’ve written about them”. I was really concerned that they’d hate me singing their praises without telling them.
As it turned out, I needn’t have worried at all. I think it was the day after I’d posted that blog post when Elaine came bustling past (she’s a bustling always busy kind of person) and grinning widely, and shouted across something about a customer who’d been in telling her about me writing lovely stuff. That was a bit weird. It never ceases to surprise me that people do actually read my occasional rants and general nonsense. Mel thought it’d be good to take an excerpt from the blog and get a pic of the THR ladies in with it. And so we had a discussion about when this would happen. I thought it would be good if Mel got a pic of the yummy lunch food ready to roll at about 11.45am but maybe got a pic of the team after the restaurant closed, to give them 5 minutes to get a bit of lippy on or whatever.
Carol, the cook-in-charge (it sounds a bit old fashioned I know; just read it as she’s the top cook and she’s in charge of the kitchen), made my cheese and mushroom toastie go a bit cold yesterday. I’d asked for a beef sarnie for lunch too, and commented to Carol that I’d had one last week and the beef was like you’d have at home from your roast. “I only get the best meat” she said and made me wait while she dashed off to bring back and show me a baking tray with two pretty lush joints in it about to be cooked. Processed yucky stuff is clearly frowned upon and amen to that.
With eyes only slightly out on stalks, I asked Carol if I could get a hot roasted meat sandwich with gravy at lunchtime. “Of course you can, baby” she said, “we can do anything you want”. If you love food, what’s not to love? Roast lamb with mint gravy next week Viv told me today btw. Form an orderly queue.
Mel rang me to say “oh boy, you’re in trouble with the THR ladies”. I was really worried – what could have gone wrong? I’m so fond of my ladies and would hate to upset them. Pah. I’m such an amateur. I hadn’t accounted for the regulars. Mel had duly turned up to get a pic of the food but couldn’t get a shot. As soon as one of the girls was pouring hot water into the bain maries, the regulars crowded up in an amiable queue and totally got in the way of Mel getting a pic of the good stuff as it was put in place! Worse than that though, she got a pic of the ladies instead, sans lippy! What a lovely picture it is though. You can so tell what a close and loving team they are. I haven’t got the pic here at home but will add it later. If I remember.
Jayne from the THR team came and had a quick word today whilst en route to fill up some vending machines. Mel had accidentally left her print-out of my blog behind yesterday and Elaine pinned it up for them all to see. Jayne said she thought it was lovely and “it’s really what it’s like”. That meant the world to me, coming from Jayne.
I first knew Jayne about 20 years ago, in the days when we were spoiled enough to have a hot trolley service in the Civic Centre. Before you get enraged, none of it was free or subsidised! Tea, coffee, toast, mushroom toasties, cheese toasties, cheese and onion croissants, sausage rolls, sausage sandwiches, bacon sandwiches, samosas and on and on appeared on the shop floor around 10am. They were halcyon days for sure. Jayne was our regular trolley lady and I was known to pounce before she’d had time to set up stall, such was my need for my mushroom toastie fix. I also used to hide her trolley sometimes, if she left it unattended. What can I say; we were all young then. I also used to tease Jayne about being careful with my mug as it was a 21st birthday present. Poor Jayne would repeatedly ask me not to remind her of this, as handling it made her nervous. Yes, it survived.
As Jayne and I had our little reminisce about times gone by today, she couldn’t help but remind me that the THR still serves all these goodies. As well as comfort food lunches (I had a beautiful take-out cottage pie on Monday) the THR does lovely brekkies and is open to staff and the public. Jayne also mentioned that staff around the place had spoken to her about trying out the cheese toasties since seeing the piece in the staff news thingy. I wonder if I should be asking Elaine about a commission now ;-)
If you’re reading this and you’re local, do give Walsall’s Town Hall Restaurant a try. Why? Because I think you should experience proper customer service and quality food. And you should really meet my lovely ladies.
Edit. Thanks to Web-Hel, who seems to be at work all day and night, here’s the pic of my lovelies. Elaine wasn’t around unfortunately.