Art and the Art of Communication

18 Jul

This morning woke up to poring rain here at Middlewick.  Not a nice day to do any outdoor jobs so it was a good thing that we did all the painting last week.  We also got to see how the new roof that we put up last week held out with the torrential rain – it was fine – except for the downpipe that drenched one of our guests in Bramley Cottage.  We fixed that for them  so they are a bit happier and drier now. 

So what do you do when it is raining at Middlewick?  Well some of our guests ended up in the swimming pool and steam room.  Some headed off to do rainy day things like drive through Cheddar Gorge or some just headed to the comfort of the lovely Glastonbury cafes for lunch.   Shirley, our manager headed off to work the Middlewick Monday morning shift at the Glastonbury tourist information office.  Me and Adam, the most overqualified handyman I could have ever hired, ended up playing restaurant designers. 

How to design a restaurant in a week is our new game here at Middlewick. 

Step 1.  Decide to launch a  Pop-Up themed supper club over pizza at Middlewick pizza night.

Step 2.  Go out and find the best chefs in the neighbourhood and hope they say yes.

Step 3.   Design a quirky restaurant space to seat 40 people.

All steps going well – the response has been great- virtually every chef we asked said yes to the idea.  The first dates in July were confirmed with the lovely chef Philip Campagna agreeing to do the first date of July 22nd for us and Sarah Hillman, the winner of Come Dine With Me, agreeing to do the 29th July.  So ok we had the chefs so now to sort out the venue so as not to disappoint.  What do you do with a big space full of old sofas, ugly chairs and plastic tables.   Old sofas got dragged down to the barn mezzanine where we think we will make a lovely games room.  Ugly chairs – just have to live with them.  Do people really notice what they are sitting on, probably not just who they are sitting next to and with canteen style eating that is probably exactly what will be happening.   Plastic tables – easy solution- lovely hemp table cloths to cover them up.  Hemp napkins as well.  Napkin rings – Adam is going to be busy over the next couple of days cutting wooden rings for those as well as cutting planks of wood to make place mats and tea light holders.   We dug out some old wooden crates and baskets from the barn to decorate around the room.  I am going to dig up some of my courgette plants to put in pots for a couple of empty corners. 

So the only thing we need to buy is the tablecloths and napkins, although if we had a sewing maching I think Adam would be stitching up some old curtains to use instead. 

Walls –  they needed some art!  So this is where the art of communication comes in – phone a friend who phones a friend and you get exactly what you need.  A local artist with a fantastic collection of art that is moving out of a current gallery and looking for a new home for the summer.  So we now have Mark Noble bringing his art here on Friday for our Pop-Up Restaurant.  The most amazing thing about Mark ending up at Middlewick is that his art is shaped by a passion to communicate despite a disability that affects his language skills.

So the room is looking ready for Friday – just need to sell the last 15 tickets to reach our target.  Should I panic – nah just keep doing what I am good at – communicating with lots of people to spread the news of what we are up to here at Middlewick.


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