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…”


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!


Other fish to fry…

After a busy few days we have booked: scaffolding, roofers, gas, electrics, decorator… and ordered the frying range.  Over the next few days we will be mastering the art of fish and chip frying!  As well as revising food hygeine, health and safety etc…

Next pics will be food!

We’re in!

We’re in! 4 pm Tuesday 26th February we are finally the proud owners of Cleveland House, Shap, CA10 3JS, Once and future home of Shap Chippy…

Next stop scaffolding and a new roof…  Exciting times!

What’s cooking 2013…

Today we went to Harrogate for “What’s Cooking 2013” – a trade event run by Henry Colbeck’s – suppliers to fish and chip shops, est. 1893.  We met the Chairman and his affable and helpful attitude seems to cascade through the company – and, it seems, through the industry.

We are now back in Shap and rather full of deep fried foods!  Lots of samples – some delicious (scampi, hake) some less so.  Lots of people telling us what sort of batter, oil, potatoes etc to use.  We took the opportunity to learn about sustainable fish supplies and the work of the Marine Stewardship Council.  We met people that we have been speaking to overthe past few weeks from the National Federation of Fish Friers and we tested coffee machines.  We probably won’t have a coffee machine, but boy, did we need coffee!

The most important thing for us was talking about ranges – the frying machine itself.  Three manufacturers were there, we have already spoken to others who weren’t and we are absolutely bamboozled by all the information.  But we are learning, and the more we learn the better position we are in to ask the right questions.  And once we know what questions to ask we can start getting the information to make the right decisions!

We also have our first stock items: two boxes of wooden chip forks courtesy of the lovely man from Atlantika fish!  It’s beginning to feel real…

Wooden chip forks - our first stock item!

Wooden chip forks – our first stock item!