Deer Park Cafe

Now the thing about a blog is that it’s personal, owned by you. Written by you, for you and for whoever wants to be associated with you.
I’ve been blogging for about ten or so years, and I’m still none the wiser in how to make more people see what I write. I’m in and out of love with social media, loving what it did for the General Election, but hating it’s very presence in our lives.
My silver serfing is confined to buying supplements, eco sponges and industrial sized bags of quinoa……
Today however I use this space as a blatant plug for THE DEER PARK CAFE in Eridge. Not the Deer Park Cafe that comes up first in the listings. That one is in South Africa. This DEER PARK CAFE is situated off the A26. Turn left past my daughter’s old nursery school.
Eridge Village Hall hosts ‘Little Acorns’. The hall is a wooden floored one room space. It has a small stage at the end and doors leading out into the countryside. A green garden that the children, and parents, can picnic in. But the hall also doubles as our local Polling Station.
The ‘oosbind and I have voted there since 1984. Two tellers sit at a tressle table, tick our names off the electoral role, point us to the ballot box in the middle of the hall, and then wave us goodbye. We are the only two people in the area that do not vote Ukip or Conservative. What we do vote stays between us and the ballot box……Which is good since the cravat wearing, stick wielding locals would be hunting like they do the foxes.
Anyway you drive past the village hall, and continue on a windy windy road until you see the sign, on the right, for THE DEER PARK CAFE.
The caff is but one big barn, tables on the inside, and five or six tables on the outside, set in grass land. Fields, a dog walk. Dogs accompany families. Babies accompany parents. Children accompany each other. It used to be a camping place.
Before that the rooms were run by a woman who worked for the RCA. She displayed student photographs and hung pretty table cloths on each little table. My daughter got a job there, lasted one day. It was just a little too organised and twee for my anarchic muso kid.
The Barn is now owned by Joe. His brother Ben works there too. There’s K an Indian chef, Jane, the mother, who hoes, bakes and sweeps and the big daddy who levels up the hanging paintings.
Jane felt a connection to the place when it was up for grabs. She told us the story of the little red lady birds that appeared as a sign of good luck. Which they are. Little lady bugs, from the Chinese to the Sioux, symbolise love, luck and good fortune.
Jim and I wandered in a few weeks ago. It was like we had entered a secret place. Lots of people with enough distance between us to feel alone. The sun shone, the grass grew and Joe brought us THE BEST scrambled eggs this side of Bill Grainger, coffee made to perfection. The second visit the dawter and I had lunch. A sizeable salad, and service with a smile.
On Saturday I had a BLT. We had just come from the hospital where the old git had to have a CT scan to appease the doctors. The BLT was by way of comfortable compensation for spending a Saturday morning in the XRay department of Pembury hospital.
I asked for brown bread, which was cut thick. Doorstep sized chunks of delicious, chewy brown bread. The bacon crispy, the tomatoes and lettuce fresh, all accompanied by Jane telling us the story of the lady bugs.
I’m writing about the DPC because I want everybody in the world to visit, and make it successful. I want everybody to support an independent project that is run by brothers. helped out by the parents. Home made cakes, home made scones, smiles and chatter.
An eatery describes an area. What Joe and his fam have done is create an environment that defines conviviality. That smacks of old school hospitality. That speaks of communication and optimism. I don’t know quite why it has touched me, maybe because it is but five minutes down the road. But I think it’s because from the get-go – an awful Americanism – it felt like it had always been there. In the middle of the East Sussex countryside.
Simple, clean, ridiculously reasonable and the perfect spot for tea and cake. For chat and coffee. For soup and snivels. For writing and hot chocolate. If you live near GO visit immediately, if you Iive far, book a B&B and spend sometime there. Whatever lets give Joe a huge round of applause for coming up with a venue that is delightful enough for even the muso dawter from Hackney to enjoy.
I shall take friends, family and myself there. They will be laying on summer BBQ’s. There will be music. There will autumnal teas, but mostly they will just be there.
They even have my initials as a post code. What more could an egocentric blogger ask for.