(bit of a personal blog this time – this is all about Doctor Coffee’s Cafe – exciting stuff coming soon!!)
I had to text Ol today apologising for being late for meeting him, because I was doing my blue-arsed fly impression. He didn’t get it. I meant, of course, rushing round in small circles hopelessly, and occasionally bashing my head into windows.
I am actually feeling very positive now, despite meeting Ol. (only in the sense that I dropped his beloved motorbike and scratched it, not realising how monstrously heavy it was and thus shattering my meagre confidence supplies with manual bikes… Specifically seeing him doesn’t really depress me that much. But anyway-) I feel as though everything is coming together finally, and it is exciting. I have a billion and one things to do this week, but for some naive reason, I feel I can handle it.
Doctor Coffee’s Cafe is nearing physical existence. What passes for my maternal nature is kicking in, and I feel it’s Birth is imminent. (it is my child, even if giving birth to it isn’t equally painful, it is certainly equally expensive, if not more so!). The Ape van has nearly been converted fully: over the last fortnight we’ve struggled to find it a suitable generator, and found one on the second attempt. We also bought it a mini fridge, a cash register, display jars and not forgetting of course, my beautiful wonderful shiny beast of an espresso machine, and grinder. The lovely Robin and Jamie at Protruck are bringing all these elements together into one glorious whole, and it should be done early next week!
On top of that, I have managed to procure some truly excellent coffee from Cafe Cristina in Costa Rica, and some gorgeous but unusual teas from Teapigs. I’ve also been practicing my cake making skills, sourced a garage in Darlington for the Ape to live in, I’m getting in customised aprons with the Doctor Coffee logo on, and attempting to get a trader’s license off Darlington Council.
The website is very nearly finished too… www.doctorcoffee.biz Carl has been helping a lot with little photo slideshows, but my own knowledge of cascade style sheets has vastly improved! The only things left to do are the Locations and Hire Me pages, which rely entirely on me knowing where I will be able to trade, which in turn relies on the traders’ license and/or Darlo markets, and also how far and fast the Ape will actually go when it’s fully laden with coffee.
We are still on a learning curve. Carl is being packed off to Pumphreys soon to get barista trained, and I am (STILL) having motorbike lessons to get my full license to actually drive the Ape. Despite disasters on more than one occasion, (two total mechanical failures on the part of Binky, one hospital trip and one embarrassing case of frustrated tears in full view of my instructor) -I am actually enjoying it. I certainly feel far more comfy on a bike than in a car!! Something about having the clutch in your hand, and being able to put your feet down to stop, seems infinitely more sensible to me. But that said, I’ve had a few off days and am still generally pretty hopeless particularly when it comes to coordination and losing first gear! Negotiating roundabouts in neutral doesn’t help either. And Ol won’t be letting me anywhere near his machine again in a looong time….(I quote: “So, is there anything else you want to break here before you go?”)
Miraculously, my uni work doesn’t seem to be suffering too badly. To my mind, it all seems a distant dream… Ah yes, I remember, I’m doing a full time PhD, aren’t I? Fortunately, the business and the Phd are all cunningly intertwined, my coffee obsession has its uses! I can rant about Fair Trade quite happily whilst opting for ‘direct trade’ myself, for instance. But Peter and Matt have been very encouraging and reassuring on the uni front; the end of the dreaded, mind-numbing interview translations is in sight, and lo and behold, in the beginning were the words, and the words were “you must be ready to start writing up now!” I do wonder where he gets these funny ideas from… To this end, anyway, I am charged with writing my first chapter over the next couple of weeks. And two conference papers. (“Don’t think of them as papers, think of them as Powerpoint presentations! It sounds a lot easier!”). And I still have to chase up Coburg roasting company who aren’t talking to me. And edit all my fieldwork videos into something comprehensible. Again I say, who’s bright idea was this??
There is still much to be done, however, so in all this spare time I get around university, I have to find insurance for the Ape, (both vehicle and public liability), still chase up the Nicaraguan coffee, pass my damn bike test, get my traders license, convince Darlington market officers that they really do want me there as well as the burger van (ye gads…), finish the website, get some proper promotional material sorted, get Ok’d by environmental health, design graphics for the Ape and remember how to do latte art properly. Oh. and figure out how I am gonna pay for all this!! Not much then.
I am excited, I feel I can handle most of this, but I am exhausted!