Confessions Of A Cafe Owner, Part Two: Exploding Coffee Machine

After paying £2,500 for a coffee machine that might kill people, I'm compelled to build a snogging booth for teenagers and recharge my batteries by pretending I'm a Gladiator stuffing Demi Moore...
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After paying £2,500 for a coffee machine that might kill people, I'm compelled to build a snogging booth for teenagers and recharge my batteries by pretending I'm a Gladiator stuffing Demi Moore...

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The circus is in town - put the alarm on! 17 September 2010

The circus is back in town! This year it is being advertised as a 'traditional family animal show from eastern Europe'. It would have been much easier to just write, 'Unmissable'. Coincidentally there's also been a 100% increase in shed thefts. The local bobby has asked me to keep my eyes peeled for cars full of circus types.The timing of this is unfortunate for me because we've had our most expensive item delivered today...the coffee machine.

The machine was hand delivered by the Coffee Man.

I was expecting someone who looked like Gareth Hunt from the Nescafe ads but instead he looked like a 50-year-old gas fitter. On the upside he was as miserable as fucking sin.The only conversation he allowed me to have with him was about the 'Exploding Costa coffee machine'.

If you haven't heard about this a few months ago a coffee machine in Costa coffee in London exploded during the midday rush hour and rocketed through the window and deposited itself in the road. Coffee Man explained that the incident had sent 'a ripple of fear through the coffee business'. The cause of the explosion is as yet undetermined so we all have to be on our guard against the 'machines'.

We opted for the smaller machine, which comes in at a staggering £2500. Those big exploding ones are £4k.

A Series of unfortunate events

I busted the new freezer by dropping it on it's own plug and the prongs plunged straight into the undercarriage. The table and chairs arrived a day late and they were the wrong ones and then I tried to fit an electric induction hob. Every electrician I know has one of these and they rave about them.  They heat the pan, not the room and you can only use magnetic pans. I've never fitted an electric hob before and with no electrical experience I should steer well clear but I decided to give it a go.

There were two instruction booklets - one in English, the other in Russian.  I took the English home at dinnertime to familiarise myself with the procedure and forgot it. I could either drive home and get the English one or try and read the Russian one. It was mainly all diagrams so I fitted the hob using the Russian instruction booklet. From what I could tell using my basic Russian it seemed very informative, it even had some sound advice on what to do if a grizzly attacks you.

I managed to install it and for some reason it's pointing at Washington - and so is the exploding coffee machine. Taking this risk saved me a fitting fee of £120. Not worth it. Due to my novice re-wiring antics I now have two major appliances that may explode.

I was expecting someone who looked like Gareth Hunt from the Nescafe ads but instead he looked like a 50-year-old gas fitter. On the upside he was as miserable as fucking sin

Ridley Scott week: 5 October 2010

I took a day off on Sunday because I was mentally frazzled. When I was a teenager I used to recharge my batteries by watching 80's brat pack films such as: About Last Night, or the Breakfast Club. They were my guilty pleasure.I used to fantasise that instead of Rob Lowe it was me stuffing Demi Moore in the shower and hey presto I'd be back on track.

As I've grown older I've matured and instead of watching teen rites-of-passage movies I watch Russell Crowe films and imagine I'm a gladiator stuffing Demi Moore.

Anyhow, I was watching Crowe in Robin Hood and decided to watch the bonus disc and on it Ridley Scott talks about how he worked 'French hours' on the movie i.e. early starts, lunch on the run and an early finish. So this week I decided to take Ridley's advice and work French hours.

I arrived at the cafe at 6.50am and was greeted by this glorious sunrise. By 10am I'd finished the 2 metre long bench, had a little snooze around 11am and I was home for 3pm. Next week I need to be available at awkward times to accept deliveries so regrettably I'll have to jettison Ridley's French hours in favour of the more haphazard work schedule favoured by controversial German Director and playwright Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Timber yard visions:8 Oct 2010

I’ve not always been in the catering business. For the past few years I've been running my own firm called Milk No Sugar, joinery. I can't tell you how many hours I've spent bumbling around timber yards but what I can tell you is that EVERY timber yard I have ever visited has been modelled on the bigoted British Police stations of the 1970's, or modern Spanish ones.

They are so chauvinistic that when entering any Yard you MUST observe Yard etiquette or else be thought of as a homosexual, or even worse...a plasterer. I'll fully cover Yardie culture in this blog about a cafe in more detail later because something has just occurred to me. I know some of you who read this blog work in media and are surrounded by glamorous beauties jiggling coquettishly past your desk on the way to the fax machine.

I appreciate that after a while ogling beautiful women gets boring so I'm giving you the chance to swap with me for a day. Just send me a pic of the girls on the fax run and I'll e-mail you a clutch of testosterone charged images from my world, such as this burning metal box full of broken pallets from the timber yard.

Don't worry, there's more where this came from.

Snogging booth:13 Oct 2010

The cafe is split into 4 sections to appeal to the 4 key coffee shop demographics. There is the Miss Marple bench designed in a Georgian style to attract the Betty's Tea Room brigade. Then there is a rickety stool by the window for wise-cracking no-nonsense New York City cops.

Directly opposite the crazed loner stool I'm building a snogging booth for teenagers. I've intentionally built the seats too narrow so that horny teens get the wrong idea when they're forced to rub up against each other.

The final section is of course the leather seated area for busy business executives. It is from here that the cutting edge modern businessman OR woman can ring up Clarence Beeks and order a secret orange crop report.

Confessions Of A Cafe Owner, Part One: Lesbian Plumbers

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