Launch Party at cTb – Café Society

All paths led to Willow Vale, Frome, last Saturday for Claud the Butler’s big debut.  Chris and Sue Bucklow’s wonderful riverside garden was the perfect setting for this sunshiney early spring day gathering. Claud the vintage Citroën H van was undoubtedly the star of his own show, looking dapper with his new paint job, handcrafted interior and two-lever coffee machine, plus his groovy pop-up café decked out in bunting and seating sourced, according to the stamps on  its’ undersides, from a Munich beer festival.


Claud the butler in action

The first cappuccino!

Barista coffee and homemade cakes were happily tucked away by an appreciative audience of friends and friends of friends, all of whom had helped to make ‘Claud’ happen. Our guests, their children, two lurchers and a border terrier soaked up the early Spring rays. It had been a winter of hibernation, long hours of meticulous planning, endless trips to freezing cold garages in far flung parts of Dorset and forays round the M25 in ice and snow to retrieve school desktops and assorted ebay finds that we hoped would transform Claud from a neglected, rusty old shell of an H van to a fabulous barista-coffee-dispensing thing of wonderment. For a brief moment there on the Bucklow’s lawn, all the months of planning and googling obscure coffee equipment faded to nothingness as our vision of Claud the Butler and his ‘pop-up’ café materialised before our eyes. The smell of good coffee wafted from the machine, steam puffed up milk to a velvety finish. Chocolate brownies disappeared off glass-domed cake stands with thrilling speed. My pistachio cake grew gasps from the crowd and squares of granola went the same way as the brownies. Whilst the grown-ups went for lattes, espressos and cappuccinos – emblazoned with the ‘cTb’ logo – the children loved Claud’s frothy hot chocolates and baby-cinos. Some sophisticates even had macchiatos alongside their organic home-made carrot cake. And very sticky fingers.

Each time I think that life in the ‘Vale can’t get any better it just goes and does just that. Frome is truly the happiest place I know. And to serve coffee and cakes to the people who live here is the most pleasure to be had with clothes on this side of Stonehenge.

Busy Café

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One Response to “Launch Party at cTb – Café Society”

  1. Sue Bucklow 28 March 2011 at 3:35 pm #

    It felt like Claud was made for our garden! A perfect way to spend a delightful Spring morning, with friends, enjoying delicious coffee and top cakes in a green idyll with the birds and the bee’s! Doesn’t get much better!

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