Things customers leave behind
WE'VE all done it. Left something behind
somewhere, and can't remember when we last had it. Or know where it
is but cannot go back
to retrieve it because we were simply passing through a town.
It is certainly true of the
former owners of the umbrellas which "decorated" the coat stand in
the former Inglenook Tea Shoppe in Pillory Street, Nantwich. (It
later became Molly's Tea Shoppe now - and has sadly now closed down).
At the time of
writing this letter there were
eight small umbrellas, a "golfing" umbrella, a raincoat and a pair of pink
They had all been left
behind by customers - mainly visitors to the town - otherwise they
would have been reclaimed by now.
The then proprietors, Caroline
and Bob Hope, had more umbrellas at home (removed
to make space for the next batch) - and
yet more had been borrowed by locals caught out in a sudden downpour.
Not pictured was a cushion
which a person in a wheelchair had taken into the tea shoppe and
transferred to their chair at one of the tables while they dined. When they left,
they forgot to transfer it back. So it became available to any
customer who needed to use it.
But the best "lost
property" of all (albeit briefly) was a pair of false teeth, or dentures if you
prefer. Bob told me that the wearer took them out in the "wash room" after
a meal - and then left the tea shoppe without them. They returned,
several minutes later to reclaim them.
Did their mouth feel
different? Were they talking differently?
Other lost property had been:
LOAF of bread a customer had taken into the
and placed on
the umbrella tree while he enjoyed a meal. (What was wrong with his
table?) And, yes, he left without it! The day was saved by Bob
calling to him across the car park at the back of the shoppe to let
lTHERE must have been tears before
bedtime when one youngster went home without a bug-eyed, purple
plastic centipede. It wasn't nice to touch but the child
probably loved it.
An elusive dish
THE diner knew exactly what she wanted
to eat for lunch. Fish and chips. But she couldn't find them
anywhere on the menu. They must sell the dish, there were three fish adverts on
the tea shop's windows.
Eventually, she gave up and asked where
the meal was listed. She was told that the "advertisements"
she had seen was the Christian fish symbol on the
tea shop's front door.
This happened in the
days of Bob Hope (no, not the late actor) and his wife, Caroline.
They are regular churchgoers,
and while they would not insist on the customers saying grace before they
eat, diners often got a cheery "God bless" as they left
the tea shoppe.
BOB was bemoaning the loss of the
green and white golfing umbrella seen on the umbrella tree
above when I called in once.
No-one had seen anyone leave with it, and no-one had borrowed it.
Maybe the rightful owner had returned having realised where they had
left it, and quietly taken it back rather than admit their absent
mindedness . . . !
THE problem with writing about people's
fallibilities is that it can rebound on you. On a rainy day I took
my red and white golfing umbrella - with the "Nantwich, Best Kept
Secret" logo on it - to the tea shoppe and, yes, you've
guessed, left without it.
When I returned a few days later, Bob
Hope, who was there at the time, lost
no time in drawing the attention of customers to the fact.
said one understanding customer.
I thanked him as he left.
Bob and Caroline retired from the tea
shoppe in 2010 but still called in from time to time.