It's already March and we celebrate our 19th year Anniversary at the English Rose Tea Room. We have survived the many hot desert summers over the years; the ups and downs of the economy; presidential elections; naysayers who said a tea room in the desert would never last, and now Covid.
With almost a full year of the pandemic behind us, I have asked myself what has changed? Our lives have altered in so many ways and we are now all living out our new realities;
Well first, the facemask has become my new friend, after a fraught start to our relationship, we have learned to live together.
From trying to make a mask from a vintage handkerchief (note to self: don't bother) to wearing masks with double ribbons that trussed up my head like a leg of lamb; to masks that made me look like I was impersonating a surgeon, a painter or a sheet-metal worker; to Laura- Ashley-Kate-Middleton inspired dainty floral patterns; to velvets, camouflage, animal print and my latest favorite sequins. I really do think I now own a face mask to match every outfit and occasion. And I wont be seen at work without one...not yet anyway.
I thought this only happened in prisons? We were the lucky ones though. Our Tea Room closed for 41 days while, during late spring of 2020, we tried to comply with all the new restrictions and regulations, and work out how to get through it all in one piece.
Lockdown for many others meant no venturing outside. Literally. No perusing the local shops. No socializing. No parties. No theater. No school. My hats off to all the moms and mums that over this last year have tried to keep their children on-track with on-line schooling, often while working from home themselves.
I never realized how often my fellow 'zoomers' scratched their noses, yawned, fidgeted and balanced a ceiling fan on their head, until forced to watch them (and of course myself) during business meetings. Having become the "filter" expert, I have learned to put on lipstick, blush, conceal wrinkles and even get those Hollywood eyebrows I have always coveted...all with three clicks of a mouse. Another note to self: entire "touch-up" leaps off your face and lands on husband's if he crashes in on a zoom meeting, creating much hilarity for all concerned.
4 Social Distancing.
It used to be that you'd steer clear of anyone with bad breath or B.O. Now we just steer clear of everyone. In groceries store (Oh! The look you'll get if you lean in too far in front of someone to grab the milk). Waiting at the Post Office? Don't expect help if your parcel is too heavy, that would mean getting way too close. Holding meetings in person with chairs spread in a circle 6 feet apart, like all self-respecting alcoholics at an AA meeting.
We have become accustomed to no hugs, no kissing, no shaking hands or fond touches of familiarity and will we ever feel the same again about any of that?
Personally, I so look forward to the day when I can meet my parents in England and can hug them once again, fingers crossed that will be in July this year.
Our tearoom may have recently been allowed to go back to 100% occupancy, but in order to still comply with the mandated 6 foot social distancing between tables, we still have half our tables removed from service. Actually we love the extra space and so do our customers. But note to all: make a reservation or you'll never get to see it!
In spite and despite the challenges we faced over the last year, we are still here! We may not be greeting our Canadian and International customers just yet, but with vaccines rolling out and consumer confidence building daily it really does feel as though the light is on at the end of a very long tunnel.
We have recently had delivery of beautiful new merchandise for the Tea Room; a curated menu with all your favorites; space inside and out on our gorgeous patio and a stellar team that have stuck with me through it all and are ready to serve you.
Make a cup of tea and enjoy reading this 2021 newsletter as we focus on the future and all the fun we plan to have along the way. Thank you for all your support during this pandemic journey. We couldn't have made it this far without you.
Jo Gemmill | Owner ❀
English Rose Tea Room
PO Box 5865
201 Easy Street #103