We hadn’t intended to come here but got detoured having seen a sign off the A50 towards Holmes Chapel. We entered the café via a ‘Country Shopping Experience’, basically a shop selling stuff you don’t need for your rural house such as wooden toys, knickknacks, art, crafty crap and dried flowers. But they do stock some essentials such as geese figurines wearing wellies, postcards of cows and thirty-three varieties of chutney.
So all a bit fruit loopy then though the tea-room is even more dotty. The interior looks like it has been designed by a farmer’s wife with a fondness for LSD. It feels a bit Annie Sugden with a sprinkle of early Pink Floyd.
It would take about six weeks to list all of the ornaments and oddities on show here whether on shelves, attached to walls or coming out of the floor; a mishmash of furniture on stone tiles and a variety of clocks, cushions (with embroidered pheasants), stuffed animals, weird pictures and assorted lunacies. We were not sure whether this stuff is for sale or to bewilder the diners. The centre of the space is dominated by a chimney and wood burner surrounded by fairy lights, creeping plants and a fish-tank. For some reason….
The room seemed Covid safe (masks worn by staff and clean surfaces etc) so we found a table next to a dresser loaded with vases, trinkets, trays and other tut. Everything is served on flowery china and there are milk churns for the er milk. They do a limited menu including toasties and cakes but they also do an Afternoon tea (it was a bit early for a scone though).
We had lattes that were on the road to passable and my friend had an semi-agreeable salad. I had a jacket potato which tasted fine but the presentation was lacking looking like the food has been bounced off the ceiling on the way to the plate.
Sat on the next table was a strange looking woman wearing a knitted jumper three sizes too small and bearing images of foxes in playful poses. Though she was more bovine than vulpine, her forearms were quite hairy. She had a look of Ma Larkin but more Bela Lugosi around the eyes. As she blinked blankly at me, I noted she had large nostrils the shape of kidney dishes. That reminded me, I must take the BMW in for a service.
It was a bit saunaish inside as there is no air-con so after partaking we slipped outside and sat on a bench for a few minutes. The exterior is, sadly for us, a sort of kid’s adventure park-cum-play area and so we didn’t fancy being harangued by the grubby urchins of distracted mothers huddling in covens and goggling at Instagram.
We went back inside and our now vacated table was occupied by a pale woman with eyes so close together, they were almost one. She pouted, gripped her cup tightly and waited as she was joined by a thin man with a huge oval head carrying a couple of Victoria Sponges. We smiled, walked past Cyclops and Spoony and made for the exit.
On the way out we passed another oddity; this time a thing not a person; It was a sort of bar complete with rows of church pews. Why? In here, why the hell not!
So you get these mad-hatter Alice in Wonderland themed caffs that are deliberately bonkers but something tells me that in here it is all accidental. It’s as random as a lottery win and so are its customers. So if someone ever makes a sequel to One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest I might have an idea where they can find some extras…
Good: Quite bonkers. Kids can be dumped outside.
Bad: No air-con. Kids can be outside (where you are).