‘The One And Only CAFF, CAFF’s Here, Come and See CAFF Show’. Not.

Hello again, coffee lovers, c’est moi!

Now I know I said ‘Come Up and See Me’ (at the NEC) but little did I know that I’d be absolutely overrun with lady and gentleman callers. For the three days of the show there was a never-ending stream of ‘Facilities Managers’ coming on board for a coffee and a chat. And apparently, these are the people who really run the country, not those nice new gentlemen in Westminster, who are just for show.

Anyway, Paul says that being overrun is ‘a very good thing’ and that I should be pleased. He said it’s because I am such a wonderful exhibitionist that ‘so many people have been queuing down the aisles for a little peep.’ I am pleased though! I was made to be the centre of attention! J And everybody agreed that I am the ultimate in great taste!

On a slightly sour note L there was some confusion regarding the name of the NEC event. My people were assured that the show would be entitled ‘The One And Only CAFF, CAFF’s Here, Come and See CAFF’ show. But some blithering idiot had put up signs saying ‘The Facilities Show’. Frankly, I felt betrayed. And, AND… The organisers expected poor Alistair to pay for the privilege of my attendance!

I should co-co!

He took it on the chin, though. In fact, he went away at the end of the show rubbing his hands together, with a beatific smile on his face, muttering something that sounded like ‘juicy Leeds’ and slavering in an altogether unsympathetic way. Paul says not to worry and that these are symptoms of ‘happiness’.

After ‘the-show-who’s-name-shall-not-be-spoken’, it’s a spot of gym and tonic for me. I’m on my way to meet my maker. He’s going to do something he calls ‘tweaks and snags’ and you don’t have to know what that means to be sure it’ll hurt. Never trust a mechanic with a giant spanner in his hand when he says ‘you won’t feel a thing, madame’. Apparently, though, next time I see Paul I’ll be even more gorgeous than I already am.

Then next week we’ll be going to the HefmA conference in Harrogate, in a place called Yorkshire, which Alistair says is ‘God’s own county’. Paul says HefmA stands for ‘Health Estates and Facilities Managers Association’.

‘I want you to go up there and I want you to show them that Café Amore is the best refreshment option available to the NHS’, he said. ‘I want you to tell the lady and gentlemen callers that we can do trolley services, staff catering and retail…’ he said, with a thump on my worktop for extra emphasis.

Do you know, he says he loves me but from where I’m parked it’s all getting a bit ‘me, me, me…’

He can be sooo sweet though. He’s just said to me that if ‘all the hospitals in the U.K. had your beautiful Café Amore for their patients and staff and visitors; then you would be the most famous lady in the whole country, not including The Queen and Cheryl Cole.’ Now that’s a goal a girl could aim for!

Finally, for now, I must tell you all about my lovely retinue. I had two handmaids and two footmen to pander to my every whim at the NEC, but I’ll be asking Paul for more help when we go to Harrogate, what with the sheer volume of very important lady and gentleman callers we’re expecting. They were run off their feet at the NEC. (The retinue, not the lady and gentlemen callers).

It’s true: my retinue didn’t have a minute’s peace for days. My Paul’s very fastidious, you see. If there’s a misplaced sweetie wrapper on my floor or a dirty coffee cup on one of my tables, he cracks his whip. He can be quite alarming when he cracks his whip. So my boys and girls deserve a pat on the back. And so does Paul, to be fair: after all, he’s only a Big Meanie because he’s very keen that I always look my very, very best. That way, he says, my lady and gentleman callers will want my coffee all the (a)more! Ha ha!

And on that note of comedy genius, I’ll say bye for now, and remember, I might be the Café Amore Field Facility, but you can call me CAFF.

Paul and Alistair enjoy elevenses at the NEC

My lovely retinue x x

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Shall I Compare Thee to an HGV?

Well ladies, I’ve received my first token of love. It’s a poem and it was written by a very special gentleman caller of mine. His name is Brian and he’s a very important person who works for a very important company called Kraft Foods UK Ltd. We stole three days of Heaven at the NEC . Brian, there’ll always be Birmingham… x

Shall I Compare Thee To An HGV?

Shall I compare thee to an HGV?

Thou art more nimble and articulate

Rough winds may shake the M1 motorway

And normal trucks are past their sell by date

Sometime too hot the eye of vending shines

And often are its LCD lights dimmed

But you can park where ROI declines

And see the margins once again untrimmed

Caff, your eternal summer will not fade

You’ll be adored and never want for owt.

Though everyone at Kraft will seek your aid,

And those in Yorkshire don’t give owt for nowt,

So long as coffee’s drunk instead of tea

You’ll be the mobile vending truck for me.

With all my love,

From your very special friend

Brian-Wiarny Kiss-Kiss x x x

Brian Pilkington, Kraft Foods and Paul Shaw, Refreshment Systems

Paul congratulates Brian on his lovely poetry.

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Don’t you dare call me ‘van’ – I’m a proper bit of posh…

...in the middle of having my über tasteful livery applied

First, let’s get one thing straight. I am not a van. Vans are altogether simpler creatures than me; they roll off production lines, one after another, and they all look just the same. They have about as much character as tin soldiers.

Moi? I am bespoke, dear. Made to measure, custom built, unique: the original ‘bit of posh’. Serious wheels…

Allow me to introduce myself. I am a Café Amore Field Facility; or rather ‘the’ Café Amore Field Facility. There is no other.

And I have to say I have issues with my adoptive parents. Take yesterday for example. I’m in the middle of having my über tasteful livery applied (by three terribly nice young men with ladders and blowtorches and ever such a gentle touch) when – without so much as a ‘by your leave’ – two grubby little oiks decide it might be a good idea to lift up my bonnet and have an exploratory rummage round my dipstick. Well, excuse me! I’m not one for freezing fingers on my private places. Have these people never heard of ‘inappropriate behaviour’? I’m not just ‘anybody’s’. I am exclusive, and don’t you forget it.

Worse still, I’m expected to remain out of doors at all times. Some fool decided I didn’t need a garage, and this is Bradford, for goodness sake! It is permanently cold and rainy and really, I think something should be done, such as relocation to Juan les Pins.

But I must admit to you that I so love all the attention! I have two guardians. There’s Alistair: he’s been looking at me all morning with a huge paternal smile on his face, bless him; then there’s Paul. He has big plans for me and he’s been barking orders to all and sundry, making sure I am beautiful. You might say he’s my Gok Wan. But you might not say it to his face…

So what can we look forward to? Years and years of me strutting my shiny stuff all over the UK, bringing Refreshment Systems’ coffee and vending solutions to caterers and FMs in their own back yard. In a couple of days I’ll be dressed to kill and ready to impress and then we’re having our first little trip out, to a place near Birmingham called the NEC. Paul says that stands for Not Even Close. I don’t think he likes it much. Be that as it may, I’ll be there from May 11-13, so why don’t you come up and see me?

Got to go now. But I’ll be back, and I’ll be writing more in my diary, which Paul says is a ‘blog’. Next time, I’ll tell you about more about all the up-market, expensive kit that I have inside me. It’ll be my anatomical special; you’ll see that I’m the ultimate in great taste. So, go ahead and join my fan club. You know you want to, and that way I can share all my adventures and let you know where that nice Paul is taking me next.

I really think he loves me…

Bye for now


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