August, the Centre sleepy in the heat. Most classes are sharing the school holidays, and there is a feeling at times of the boarding school child, left in school because their parents live aboard. Every so often there is a burst of activity as a local group meet in the Teme rooms, or a Speed Awareness course fills the car park with disgruntled participants.
In the café we are experiencing the summer holidays in all their multi-faceted glory. The customers come from a much wider base, as we cater for people who are visiting Shropshire, some staying over in the centre, but many just passing by and wanting a stop that isn’t cooperate.
We are a favourite stopping place for cyclists, as the café building is set back from the road and affords safe harbour for their bikes. As far removed from the bikes we rode as the Wright Brothers from modern jets. I am in awe at the distances they travel, yes, we have had Land’s End to John o Groats riders, but most are cycling 50/60 miles, which information is causally given as drinks are served, water bottles filled, tired limbs rested. I follow the routes (that I know) as they leave, wondering if they get a better sense of the landscape, they travel through than those that go by car. Or if their whole effort and concentration is taken up by staying safely on the machine they’re crouched over.
At the other end of the scale we host Conferences, the last being The Mary Webb Society which I loved being a great fan of her work. In fact we named our company Golden Arrow in homage to her work and inspiration. They filled the centre with a bright burst of book talk and chatter, music and poetry.
We also have just hosted a local Wedding, which took over the centre with music and laughter, good food and dancing for most of one day. How wonderful to be a small part in such an important day for a local couple.
There are Meditation Groups, a clutch of elderly gentlemen who meet once a week for drinks and cake and chat, families in for an ice-cream, local workers, an occasional coach driver seeking peace and calm before the next leg of his journey.
And then there are the regular customers, some of whom have become friends, who drop in to eat and tell us their summer holiday tales, the state of their gardens, the weather, how the town is filling up/ empty (Burwarton Show).
Some bright spark tried to depress us by saying “Oh Shrewsbury Flower Show. That means the nights will be drawing in!” Little did they know that they were talking to Frost Worshippers. Autumn will bring in a whole crop of new and returning customers to enjoy.