Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Never never never give up
Another lesson I'm learning in the process of trying to open the café is that perseverance is key. A lot of Antipodeans I’ve spoken to in London say they had also thought of opening a café, or knew of someone who wanted to, but had never gone ahead with it.
Perhaps there are only so many disappointments, knock backs and unreturned phone calls that these people can take before they say, ‘I give up’. But if there is one thing I’m not, it’s a quitter. Like Winston, I never give up.
The other week I saw that Tamasin Day-Lewis was speaking at a lunch at Books for Cooks. Now, I have to explain that my sister is infatuated with Tamasin. She feels that she and Tamasin are kindred spirits: both involved in high pressure jobs in creative industries, both mothers of three, and both passionate about food and cooking. If only they could meet, she is sure they’d become best friends.
When I went to Books for Cooks to arrange this meeting I was told that the event had sold out, they couldn’t possibly take any extras and already had a waiting list. A thin lipped assistant assured me that my chances of attending were “doomed I’m afraid”.
The following week I was serving in the deli at Tom’s when I looked up to see Tamasin at the cheese counter. I knew I would kick myself if I didn’t seize this opportunity. Caught completely off guard all I could think to say was “My sister is completely obsessed with you”. She laughed a little nervously and said “In a good way I hope”. I blundered on and by the time she was walking out the door with her bag full of cheeses she had secured me seats at her lunch: “Call Eric and tell him that Tamasin said its ok for you and your sister to come”.
The phone call was made and on the day of the event we were the first to arrive. "No, no, no, no, no, no, no, non” said Eric Treuille, the French proprietor of Books for Cooks, “I thought it was just you. One of you can come but two is impossible”. Despite my pleading and offers to stand and not eat, Eric is also a man who does not give up and I was left pacing downstairs waiting to see if a ticket holder didn’t turn up. 30 agonising minutes later I was allowed in, giving Eric and Tamasin a triumphant smile as I sat down to lunch.
We chatted, we laughed, we ate, we bonded and my sister left with her arm around her new bestie. Well almost – a copy of Tamasin’s new cook book with a personal inscription.