Well firstly I need to confirm that YES, we will open this week.
Not sure when, or for how long! We will start with limited hours and a limited menu to make sure we can get it right, checking our systems, equipment and staff – please bear with us! By the weekend (or sooner) we will be up and running to be open at lunchtime and in the evening on Saturday and Sunday.
A political visit
You may have spotted some local politicians in the village today ahead of next week’s local elections, well they popped in to say hallo and seized a photo opportunity. Unfortunately I was in scruff order ahead of some heavy duty cleaning – but at the time I was being shown the fine art of the modern EPOS (electronic point of sale – or cash register, as we like to call it) by Craig from Harmony Business Technology.
The last time I was this close to Rory Stewart on a blog we were talking puddings.
Three exciting events today: 1. The windows have been cleaned (and the newspaper taken down) 2. Our “uniforms” have arrived (see the hats in the window) 3. We (mainly Mandy) have finished cleaning the fish fridge!
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
Alex, our neighbour!
Steve Benson, camera shy electrician
Dave Law, Joiner
Guided by Nigel
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.
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!
Is this where it goes then?
Frying in the street?
Testing the strength
Capsticks taking a break
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.
Hard to imagine we will be preparing food in here in just a couple of weeks!
A bit of tiling
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
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!
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 road between our place and the chip shop
Scaffolding and snow
Men at work, fire aglow
The gas man hath cometh!
The gas man thought he was on the far west coast! He was from the north east, but even so…
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…