I apologise if I sound a bit “all about me” with this post rather than giving you an update on the happenings at Bent on Food, but the cafe is run by real people and one of those people is me. And Bent on Food is a family affair, with my head chef chef choosing to cook lunch for 19 of my extended family on Christmas day, rather than go surfing, although I suspect this was so that he could indulge in the late night cocktails with both my brother in laws. I often feel like my customers become family as we live through their ups and downs, giving them an obligatory coffee to settle their nerves on the child’s first day at school or singing happy birthday with a citrus tart and a lone candle that we manage to keep alight as we step cautiously under the fans, dodging the people waiting for one of Will or Amanda’s fabulous coffees.
So this post is about family, they say you can’t pick them, but you always love them and no matter how many years, or how much water flows under the bridge, they will always be blood. In just two days I have learnt that I have more relatives than I ever imagined. I am thrilled that I have managed to find that my Great Grandfather was born in Penang in 1863, there is no information before that but we suspect he was either an orphan or that there may have been some embarrassment about his Asian origin at the time. Nevertheless, he and my Great Grandmother managed to have quite a few children and in the past few days my mum and I have been in contact with a few of their descendants, cousins that I never knew existed. I asked my mum last night, how does a family lose each other for so long? When I think of my relationships with my sisters, brother, nieces and nephews, it seems impossible that we could ever lose contact. I guess life just gets busy, and before we know it, years have passed and we have forgotten to make that phone call that we meant to make yesterday, only yesterday has become yesteryear.
I am grateful to my partner Grahame, who has far more patience than I, because he has managed to trace my family tree which is how we found my new family members. In the meantime he is learning about family too, but his story is a little different and he is a little more private than me so thats where his story ends in this post.
I have one more story about family, this one is about Doug and Monica Fletcher, yesterday Monica celebrated her 90th birthday, we did the catering at Cundletown Hall, and 55 family members attended, with daughter Margaret suffering jetlag as she had travelled all the way from London to be there for her mum. Aunties and Uncles met children they had never seen before and Doug was thrilled to throw a party for Monica that he hoped wouldn’t be her last. There was so much love in that room and most of it came from Monica and Doug. He was so proud and she was quietly thrilled to see all these people gathered in the one room just for her. I had one helper, my mum, and we worked together to make the day great for this wonderful couple.
I do not have children but I am fortunate to have family, be it the blood, or the staff that feel like family, the customers that have become like family,Grahame and of course Ben, the dog who loves to sit at my feet while I write, and Sam the python who likes to curl up on my wrist. And now I have more family to meet, and I am really looking forward to sharing some stories with them.
And there are always my friends, next post maybe, time to spend some time with my family.