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Friday, 10 May 2013

Reconnaissance Inside The Cave

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As you may have read last week, there was some confusion over my invitation to Tuesday’s ‘Preview Night at The Cave’. The confusion was, I didn’t have one.

As my wife got ready for the evening using the invitation she had received, I was plotting my way in, although camouflaging a twenty stone bloke is a little tricky.

As she left, and somehow managed to walk in her high heeled party shoes, she reminded me for the fifth time to take the dogs out. I found her reminder very useful, particularly as this is something I have always done when she is out for at least ten years and more, who knows what could have happened had I not been reminded.

As she turned the corner, I decided to demonstrate my independence and ignore the reminder, by letting the dogs out quickly and then telling them to say that they had been for walk when she asked.  I then swiftly changed and followed her path towards The Cave.

Having arrived in the village centre, I was furtively peeking out of Mr Pink’s doorway and I could see that there was no neanderthal doormen, so getting in to The Cave was looking promising.

Confidence was the key, so I strolled straight in. No one recognised me in my beret and blue & white hooped top. Every time anyone spoke to me, I replied in my fluent version of French until they moved on, mainly perplexed.

A few people did challenge why I was there and asked why looked so ridiculous, but I explained I was the French cousin of the bloke who did the Milford on Sea News. On hearing that, no one appeared that surprised and simply shrugged. (I thought shrugging was something that only us French did.).

I have to be honest, things got a bit tricky when Leo, the French owner/head chef from La Perle, spoke to me. I simply told him that I did not understand his Champagne region dialect. His face was a picture of disbelief and gallic mystification as he walked off. He even forgot to take the gift I had made to him of the onions I had been wearing.

The enthusiastic new team in The Cave were serving tasty canapés (that word is French you know) and glasses of wine. I did get a blank look when I asked them if anyone else was drinking Pernod.

Surreptitiously, I spotted getting on for 100 guests, B&B owners, local shops, restaurants, councillors, press, friends and many other smiling people having a great time and 'ooing & ahhing' at the fabulous transformation.

The interior can only be described as amazing. The whole inside has been expanded and reborn. Everywhere you look there is interesting objet d'art (another French word), which seemlessly blended together. There is not doubt that Stacey has a wonderful eye for interior design.

The Cave could easily slot into London’s West End in a heartbeat. The only way that you knew that you were not in the West End, was the familiar faces, great view of the village green and reasonable prices for such quality.

As Sam’s Bar was in full swing, and the Wine Shop area was constantly being complemented for the wide selection of world wines and special ales that Jon had stocked, James (the Retail Manager), was busy enthusiastically explaining all they could offer to numerous interested people.

If the overheard compliments of the guests is anything to go by, The Cave is going to be a great success as a Wine Bar & Shop in the heart of Milford on Sea, and the team certainly feel as though they will be giving everyone a warm welcome, whether coming in to buy wine, having a drink or coffee, or simply taking a look at what is going on.

As I continued to mingle, I must have been mistaken, but it felt like people just moved away as I approached.  I guess none of them were confident enough in speaking French. It was hard to tell if my wife was fooled by my disguise, or whether she had just chosen to completely pretend she had no idea who I was, and completely ignore me. (It was probably the latter, as she does this on quite a few occasions when we are in he same place.)

Jon himself came over for chat. Forgetting my original cover story, I explained to him that I was representing Milford on Sea’s French twin town of Le Poulet. His face was quizzical, probably because I has said it all in my version of French. As he called Stacey over, I blended into the crowd, and left.

The Cave
2 Church Hill, Milford on Sea, SO41 0QH
Tel: 01590 642195

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