Tonight I was wondering whether to do a post on facebook or whether it should be blog. The blog seemed to be shouting the loudest, so here goes.
Last week in a visit to Stirling with Mr M I was scouring one of the charity shops for some books for our book folding session at the tearoom tomorrow. I quickly found the books I needed - not too bit, not too fat, hard backed and in good condition. The content of the books was not important so I didn't even really look at the titles.
I am quite an avid reader and my tastes for books changes like the Scottish weather. At the moment I seem to be choosing books for myself that are somehow related to tearooms and cafes. This comes from somebody a while ago coming into the tearoom and telling me that our tearoom reminded her of the book, The Teashop on The Corner by Millie Johnson. Since then, I have read many similar books, such as The Little Tearoom of Lost and Found by Tricia Ashley and the Seafront Tearooms by Vanessa Green.
From all of these uplifting reads the same message was coming out loud and clear that there are people all around us who need (not always knowingly) somebody to give them a smile, a helping hand or to make them feel valued.
Going back to my new stash from the charity shop, as well as the hard backed books my attention was caught by a paperback book I had heard several people mention to me and just had to pick that one up too. Eleanor Oliphant is completely fine by Gail Honeyman - a plain looking book and it was only others mentioning I should read this made it catch my eye. Well, I started reading this on Wednesday this week. If I am honest, I could have quite happily played truant from the tearoom so that I could sit alone and read this from cover to cover in one sitting.
I am not going to tell you what the book was about or, heaven forbid, how it ends. I will tell you though that I have been disturbed, moved, laughed, even cried whilst reading it.
What it did do was to highlight again that there are people out there trying to live their lives in the best way they can. We as individuals, rich, poor, old, young, have the ability to affect everyone's lives in some small way. It is up to us to make sure that the effect we have is a good one, that we make people feel welcome, smile, say hello, offer help, give help without looking for reward or acknowledgement.
It's been a bit of mixed bag for me this week with my thoughts all over. On Monday, it would have been my wonderful Grandma's birthday. My Grandma to me was the best person in the whole world as I grew up and it is a great sadness to me that she never got to see my tearoom. I planned and created the tearoom based on what I thought my Grandma would have liked. As I have reflected on my memories of Grandma, what has lit up my memories more than any sadness is the wonderful smile my Grandma always gave me when she saw me (or anyone else for that matter). There was always a kind word, a holding of your hand, offering of tea and cake but never, ever criticism (even if it would have been justified).
In our tearoom we try at all times. No that's wrong, we don't try, we just do smile at people, talk to everyone, reassure people, hold a hand when needed and offer a shoulder to rest a while. I would like to think we are a place where people come along and somehow feel better when they leave the tearoom than when they arrived.
Another fine example of my Grandma's fine traits is one of our lovely customers, Dashing Tom. A friendly face, a smile for everyone, a good word for everyone and praise whenever possible. Tom slipped quietly into our world and become part of the Mother Murphy family. It is also thanks to him that we are having our book folding session tomorrow (fully booked) and we are pleased to say that Dashing Tom is hoping to be there to say hello to everyone at the session. I don't think he will be there all afternoon as he has been a bit under the weather this week but look out for him as he is certainly somebody you feel all the better for talking to.
Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine will be in the tearoom library tomorrow for anyone to borrow.
Oh and the ear worm from the last blog post, it's still there!