Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Burwash Manor, a major disappointment

I had heard so many good things about Burwash Manor, so many people had said it was exactly my kind of place, so in the afternoon of the August Bank Holiday we made an impromptu trip.

It started well, we parked in the overflow car park and visited a cockerel, a horse and pigs on the walk to the shops. LittleT was not scared at all of them, I was rather impressed. We were a bit confused because there were quite a few signs about a festival which took place the day before, we thought that the fact that the signs were still up (such as "bar open" and blackboards with various activities) meant that it was still on but it wasn't.

The first shop we visited was the toyshop (of course!), a fantastic treasure full of old and new but mainly old-style toys. I love old-style toys, like the wooden toys I grew up with, without the need for lights and music. I was surprised the girl in charge was so young, then I remembered it was a bank holiday. At 14 months LittleT is still a bit too young for most of the toys there but she had no problem walking up to the cuddly toys as soon as she saw them and handing me one, can she really be thinking "Please mummy buy it for me" at this age? I put it right back but then she proceeded to put an even bigger one on her pram. I am happy to report that after lots of distraction techniques we managed to come out cuddly toy-free! We did buy her a couple of balls for her to kick about in the house and in the garden.

We then took a quick look at the other shops from the outside (with me popping in briefly into Cuckoo Kids, just as gorgeous as the Cuckoo adult shop in Cambridge), before heading into the "tea rooms" to eat something. No prams accepted inside so I parked it outside and got the changing bag while Mr Tapas took LittleT in. I had seen on the specials board a dish that sounded yummy, so when the girl approached the table I was more than ready to order and so was Mr Tapas, and he really needed to eat because of his diabetes. The girl told us in no unclear terms that they had stopped serving food, I then wondered what time it was, it was 14.32 and they stop serving lunch at 14.30, we were told that they were only doing cake. We must have entered the establishment at around 14.25 and I already knew what I wanted as I had seen it on the board outside.

Now, I'm a businesswoman and my mind tells me that, first of all, if a couple of clients come in and the first one orders a dish worth 8-9 pounds and a coffee, the likelihood is that the other one will order something similar so we are talking about approx. 20 pounds, against the fiver we ended up paying for what we had, and we only stayed because Mr Tapas really needed to eat something, he had to make do with a cheese scone and some of LittleT's blueberries. Just as well I always carry more than enough food for LittleT.

The dust-threatening basket
About 10-15 minutes later a waitress (don't think any of them were older than 20) sat down in the table next to ours with cooked food from the kitchen. There was an older (in age) woman in the kitchen who I would have hoped would have said it was ok but nope.

Since I was just having a coffee and LittleT was calm sharing her dad's cheese scone, I took a look around at the place and found a basket threatening with dropping a lot of dust on us.

When we went out we saw a family of three with their little one in a high chair, why we weren't offered one I don't know and, to be honest, after the food debacle and no prams allowed I didn't even think of asking for one.

A visit to Sterling Designs (a gift shop with cute and quirky objects) and Inside Out (lovely clothes shop with rather good offers right now) somewhat improved things and, in fact, I ended up buying a lovely birthday gift for one of my best friends, a month ahead of her birthday, how is that for organisation?! It must be a newly-acquired mummy skill as I have never been this organised in my life. The funny thing is that Inside Out was the one shop that didn't seem to have a teenager at the till, she clearly was the owner.

The deli
I took a look around the deli which seemed to be rather well stocked and laid out, I was very impressed that they had a vacuum pack of lomo embuchado but it was rather overpriced so I think I will wait to send Mr Tapas to La Plaza in London to get me some Spanish goodies.

All in all, rather disappointed. I shall hope that it was because of the bank holiday and may go again but purely because we like to support independent businesses so we may give it another chance.

The good news is that it didn't spoil our day because we then headed to the centre of Cambridge but I'll tell you all about that in a different post, let's separate the wheat from the chaff!

Maria (who is clearly having a Feisty Tapas day)
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