Author Archives: George

Fish and Chips here we come!

A week of meeting staff, cleaning, frying, touching up, washing down, panicking and cheering is coming to an end… We have also done some really rather good frying!

This fish and chips industry still feels like a good one.  Folk are so helpful – from other friers, food and equipment suppliers and retired friers.  All have some wisdom they are happy – delighted! – to share.

As well as learning from Dan and Dean at the Angel Lane Chippie we have had the benefit of working a couple of shifts at the Townhead Chippy under the tutelage of Huw and Julie Gryffydd – thank you! This week we have had lessons at our own premises from Jeff who has owned a number of fish and chips shops over the years and now specilaises in the filters – vital to keep the oil in perfect condition.

Yesterday we worked with Nigel Hodgson from yet another award-winning chip shop – Hodgsons, in Lancaster.  We are working so hard to get good fish and chips in Shap!

 

Simon Bentley, Electrician

Simon Bentley, Electrician

Alex, our neighbour!

Alex, our neighbour!

Steve Benson, camera shy electrician

Steve Benson, camera shy electrician

Dave Law, Joiner

Dave Law, Joiner

Perfect chips

Perfect chips

Guided by Nigel

Guided by Nigel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BT Bloody Terrible, Shap Chips? Super Chips!

BT threatened me with financial penalties if no-one was on site from 1 pm – 6 pm yesterday – but they didn’t bother to show and they’re sorry, how would Thursday do?  I look forward to chatting with them about compensation.  Local workers and companies have been spot on – national companies have generally been shocking –  BT, British Gas, B & Q (though not the local branches.)

Anyway today we have had got the scaffolding down, WE HAVE FRIED FISH, CHIPS AND ONIONS RINGS (lovely!) for the roofers and decorators and I have sat on the loo lid to work out where the loo roll dispenser should go.  Lots of other stuff, obviously – but that covers the highlights!

Pictures to follow, but the computer has no power left, and, frankly, nor have I.

 

Nearly there!

You will have seen a lot of activity over the last two days… Simon Bentley & Steve Benson are putting the finishing touches to the electrics having been project managing and sourcing friends and family and other tradesmen to help out… Sandy Carr has been in charge of gas and plumbing – helped as soon as he can everytime, likewise Dave Law the joiner.  Kevin and his son Kim have been doing all the internal and external decorating and Marke Tooke and his team have been replacing the wreck of a roof.  Capsticks have been great with the flooring – as flexible as any roll of lino.  Thanks to you all… we’re in the home straight now.

But back to the intense activity… the range is now in, and as I write this it is heating up for the first time.  Just with water to start with to make sure it is leakproof, clean and working properly.

It looks a lot like the Starship Enterprise….  within a couple of weeks (after a LOT of cleaning) we will have take-off!

Chip shop in a van!

Chip shop in a van!

Is this where it goes then?

Is this where it goes then?

Frying in the street?

Frying in the street?

Getting there

Getting there

Testing the strength

Testing the strength

Capsticks taking a break

Capsticks taking a break

Oooo!!

Oooo!!

 

 

Approaching F day…

Later this week we will take delivery of our Frying range.  Once installed we will get the chance to fry a few things to make sure it all works and the thermostat is spot on… but there is still more work to do before our prep areas are up to scratch and the dining area is ready.

We are cheered by the encouragement we get – thank you Shirley for sticking your head round the door – it was good to get out of our spray-painty environment!

Thank you too to Maureen for your comment on my last post – we absolutely agree with you, looks are not everything but we hope it will look good once it is finished.  Much more important is the quality of the food and we are dealing with potential suppliers now and continuing to learn all about the art of fish and chips.  For those who don’t know we have been working in the world of food for twelve or thirteen years, so although frying fish and chips is all new to us, creating top quality food is not.

Our prep area full of paint etc

Hard to imagine we will be preparing food in here in just a couple of weeks!

Newspaper, hallo, oh no and thank you

 

White tile and blue grout

A bit of tiling

A bit of blue flooring

A bit of flooring

The newspaper on thewindows is to a)hide the mess and b) keep the slightly new look a secret – so NO, Ian, we will not cut a small hole so you can look through and see what is going on!But here’s a sneaky preview…

 

 

 

Hallo to the lady who introduced herself in the Post Office last week and of course to all the other people who stop us in Shap on a regular basis demanding to know when they can expect fish and chips – it’s great to hear the enthusiasm – we’re doing our best!

Lousy roof, rotten timber

Lousy roof, rotten timber

Damp, trying to dry in wintry weather

Damp, trying to dry in wintry weather

However… here’s the sort of thing we’re up against… a corner of the roof where the tiles are gone and the timber is rotten – and the bottom right, solid gunk, is supposed to be the drainpipe… and then there’s the inside, that just isn’t getting dry enough to treat and decorate.  But we’re are making progress – honest!

 

Gas and snow

I can only assume the snow is our fault.  When I was about 7 years old  my parents converted the attic to bedrooms for me and my sister.  It was April, and the day the builders went through the roof it snowed.

So the chip shop has no roof – though it is well covered with polythene – and we have blizzards.  Marvellous.

The gas man thought he was on the far west coast!  He was from the north east, but even so…

 

Delays and acceleration…

Just taken a call from our rangeman (not Rangeman, as in Stephanie Plum novels, for those that understand) and our frying range will be coming a week earlier than thought!  Gives us a little more time to get other things sorted… roof is off as I write, gas connection is ready for the range but no actual gas until tomorrow.  I was beginning to think that would never happen.  Our neighbour Kevin Bush will be in their decorating from tomorrow, next week the floor goes down…

Meanwhile, courtesy of my friend Mad Marion, a very bad joke:

A man visits the same fish and chip shop every Friday night and always places the same order.  He becomes very well known to the owners, Archie and Tina, who get into the habit of cooking his haddock and chips just before he arrives at the shop so that he doesn’t have to queue when he gets there.  However, one Thursday, the man is delayed on a business trip and realises that he will have to stay an extra day and won’t make it back in time for his Friday haddock and chips.  Knowing that they will be expecting him, he thinks it best to warn the chip shop owners.  So he rings them up and sings:
“Don’t fry for me Arch and Tina…”
Sorry.

 

Pictures as we start the work

Project Management…

A building project such as is required at the Chippy is a new challenge for us… thank goodness for the help of the local electricians, plumbers and decorators!
I won’t detail the issues encountered in this first week so far, but I may well be grey by the time we open! On the plus side we have a lovely wood burning stove, great lighting, heating upstairs… but still no gas supply downstairs, no scaffolding for the roofing, no key for the double glazed windows and no new lock for the front door.
We have however got our certificates to say we have learned to fry fish and chips.
Photos to follow…

National Federation of Fish Friers set us on the right track… and gas connections prove a challenge

Jo has her chips

Jo has her chips

Well, after three days of intensive frying training at the hands of various experts from the industry, we have both now produced pretty good fish, chips and mushy peas!

The NFFF runs various course to ensure our national dish is produced professionally.  Although there is bound to be competition between chips shops really close together, the Federation – and the members we have met – believe in working together to keep standards as high as possible across the board so fish and chips stays as one of those “must have” meals – whether it’s once a year, once a week or somewhere in between.  We have enjoyed cod and chips three times in three days…

George tucking in to hers! 
George tucking in to hers!

We had great tutors on the course – three recent winners of the Young Frier of the Year – and three who would have been too old for such a title about 40 years ago! In the picture Raf is sharing his knowledge and enthusiam with Jo.

Back to harsh reality, since we bought the building I have been trying to get the gas reconnected but it is proving immensely challenging and I have been passed from pillar to post and remain unconvinced that British Gas have found their way clear to pointing me in the right direction.
Learning from an expert

Learning from an expert

Fish, chips and mushy peas!

Fish, chips and mushy peas!