golly gosh

tea shop and sanctuary

Month: June, 2012

welcome to Golly Gosh

Find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things. ~Saki

This is a story.  Well it’s actually lots of stories; glimpses and snapshots of people and happenings at the Golly Gosh Tea Shop.

The stories begin with ‘Refuge’ at the bottom with the most recently posted at the top.  So scroll down to begin.




Lift up your heart to him during your meals and in company; the least little remembrance will always be the most pleasing to him. One need not cry out very loudly; he is nearer to us than we think. ~ Brother Lawrence

It was the end of the day and they took their time leaving.  But she had come to accept it and stood back watching as they lingered together in hushed sounds and movements.  Always stalling and wishing they could stay … just a few moments longer before stepping back into their lives.  The desire to hold on to an experience of the inexplicable; a presence of something tangible yet unseen.

Sally sensed it too and was certain she could open twenty four hours and people would still find their way here.

She turned the ‘closed’ sign against the door and locked it noticing the clouds gathering and rain fast approaching the shore.  The atmosphere had darkened and was heavy.

Your turn for the tea!

They both laughed.

Tallied up and tidied up, kettle on and loose tea in the pot,  china cups and leftover cake, it was time for Sally and Alice to sit for a while, quietly reflecting on the day.  They easily resisted the temptation for gossip.  Instead they shared their observations and encounters and took a moment to be thankful and wonder and plan.

Will the book club be starting back this week?

I think so.  I think leaving new invites on the tables would be a good idea.

She might come.

Yes, she might. 

I’ll get the shutters.

There’s a storm coming Alice.


Let no one ever come to you without leaving better and happier. Be the living expression of God’s kindness: kindness in your face, kindness in your eyes, kindness in your smile. ~ Mother Theresa

It was a stunning day and she was glad she’d made the effort to get out of the cottage and take the short walk along the beach that brought her predictably to her beloved Golly Gosh with its heart shaped pebbles.

She sat in her usual spot watching Sally and Alice bustle about making everyone feel welcome.  She’d come to recognise that people became friends here.

My it was bright; almost too warm and she wished she’d ordered a cool drink instead of her usual Earl Grey.  There was always time for something a little chillier.  This was progress.

She squinted her eyes as the glare bounced off the big wide open shuttered windows and streamed into the room.  She followed it as it came to rest on the silver heads of two older ladies out for their regular Saturday afternoon tea.  She’d seen them often and they’d always been kind enough to acknowledged her but intentionally didn’t pursue conversation, somehow sensing her awkwardness.  As one shielded her eyes the other relaxed as the warmth spread over her back; maybe today she’d take her cardi off.  They listened intently to one another the way only old friends can before throwing their heads back and roaring with laughter; glasses off and wiping sparkly eyes.   It was heartwarming to watch and one couldn’t  help but wonder what their younger versions were like.

Suddenly the presence of happier times flooded her memory: sunshine and laughter and driving in the car with the hood down listening to favourite tunes and sunglasses and summer dresses and a light tan; mum and learning to ride a bike and the endless school summer holidays and winters with White Fang and Secret Seven adventures.  Life with purpose; relaxing and free.  Youth.

Right from the start she’d thought of this place as her shelter.  How she’d needed the peace and quiet.  She liked Sally and Alice and had come to enjoy their gentle company over the months.  She’d never felt like a stranger and it was Sally’s special gift.  People always left feeling better; talking, listening, being.  And Alice, lovely Alice, baked the best cakes in the world!

Her thoughts were interrupted as colourful bags burst through the door and like breaking glass the laughter of shopping girls shattered the calm of the place. But it wasn’t disturbing, rather it was refreshingly curious. She admitted a renewed sense of nosiness and that was a good thing; an indicator that her mood was lifting. Who couldn’t be drawn into their world of fun and hope. Well that’s what it appeared.  At once she was envious of their knack of happiness.  And wondered if she could catch it.


Andy Dufresne: [in letter to Red] Remember Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. ~ Shawshank Redemption

She was forever patient. Hopeful. How could one be so certain. Like no other she displayed a tangible certainty of safety; witnessing her faith in life and its boundless shelter. Eternal.

They hoped for the best. They said. In truth maintaining the facade of optimism was exhausting them.


life’s truest happiness is found in the friendships we make along the way

They meet on the last Saturday of every month.

Sally served the perfect afternoon tea: perfectly triangular sandwiches on a tiered stand, with perfect bite-sized homemade cakes made by perfect Alice and a chilled glass of champagne.  Fine china teacups and plates and tall flutes on white linen.

The perfect place for old friends to share their stories.

Ageing parents and the burden of caring; a game of who’s still alive and who isn’t; children fleeing the nest and the propriety of vetting significant others; partners and ever decreasing circles; expanding waistlines and mirrors; botox and airbrushing; tooth whitening that’s all the rage, receding gums and the pain and price of inevitable root canal; creaking bones, big pants, operations, hormone replacement therapy and hot flushes.  Doctors.  Cemeteries.  God.

It’s as good as it gets.


Sally appreciated help with opening up this morning. She was already rushed and she felt the clouds gathering. Life had a knack of running ahead of her if she wasn’t careful and although it didn’t come easy asking for help she knew there really was no choice. She couldn’t do it all.

Ask Alice. Reliable. Understanding. Aware.

It’d been a difficult start to the day trying to juggle everything and there were times she wished she’d never embarked on this adventure. But it had become a part of her so very easily and quickly; a place of rest and fellowship. Santuary. It almost sounded biblical! She laughed wondering why. There was nothing deliberate in it. But it seemed that Golly Gosh had a secret weapon.

This little calming teashop with it’s whitewash interior, lots of glass and big shuttered windows was bright and openminded. It sat close enough to the water to be an escape, to be admired.


Hope she’s ok. The woman in the corner I mean.

Sally said she always sits in the same seat; orders a cup Earl Grey tea. Nothing to eat, just Earl Grey. She can sit for hours. Quiet and invisible. Sometimes she reads or writes or just staresat the door as if she’s half expecting someone. Sad and far away.

I think she looks nice. When did she start coming here?

A few months ago now.

Does anyone know her name? Why doesn’t anyone know here name?

Don’t really know. No-one’s asked? Feel bad about that now. Thanks for that.

The next time I come here and she’s here I’m going to sit beside her, order a cup of tea and a scone, and introduce myself.

And start a conversation? Like Katsumoto?


Katsumoto, The Last Samurai.

I like him.  Much more than I like Tom Cruise. Did you know he’s had is teeth straightened and is divorcing Katie Holmes?  They looked alright to me.

Katsumoto? And are those two things connected? What looked alright – the teeth or the marriage? 

No, Tom Cruise. And, no they’re to connected. Well they could be I suppose … the teeth, the teeth looked alright.

Who played Katsumoto?

You mean that’s not his real name?

Oh dear God … please make it stop.

bags and laughter and sore feet

And so the colourful people arrived. Regulars. A group of young women in their early twenties wearing brightly coloured dresses on this gloriously sunny day.  In unison they pushed their sunglasses off their faces as they entered the tearoom, adjusting to the change in light, and headed for their usual table. The random shopping bags carrying their newest purchases were abandoned to the floor as they collapsed in a heap. The present hush evaporated as clatter and chatter took over. An entrance.

Why do you squeeze your feet into the pointiest shoes with the highest heels in the world going shopping then. You’re asking for trouble. You’ll end up with corns and bunions like my mother. It’s not attractive and bloody sore. You could end up having to wear Jesus sandals eventually – not a good look. Unless you’re Jesus of course or 3.

I know. It’s a bit vain but I don’t like flatties they make me look like Max Wall.


Just ask someone over 50. And don’t get her started on leggings.

Oh dear God.

Wee glass of wine anyone? Crisp and chilled?

Three glasses of white please and an Earl Grey tea … for the driver with her sensible shoes.

Everyone spoke together. Thanks Sally!

Sally smiled remembering.

They’d obviously had a good day and their stories and giggling about dressing rooms and special mirrors and sizing was infectious. People around them laughed including the woman in the corner and the girl with the sensible shoes and the shutter girl. The mood was lighter; for the moment the world, here, a better place.

Life and laughter.

a new day

As the girl pulled back the shutters and opened the windows, the cool air spread throughout the room. The sun would arrive later. She’d been given the task of opening up this morning and she sang softly to herself wondering what the day would bring. It seemed so cliched and she smiled; happy to be in this special place where people brought new stories and old stories, words that would nourish and refresh. A gift. She knew that this was how it had always been.



Or that’s how it seemed. On the day it opened this little tea shop was filled. Not to bursting but just enough to makes sure each table had company. And it had been so since then; a steady flow of traffic.

People sharing.


This place had been a godsend and a refuge when hope seemed a long way off.

The thought of a tea shop having the power to heal made her smile; the first time in a while. Therapeutic.

She’d come to enjoy its cosy intimacy and laid back attitude. No questions. No rush. Acceptance amongst strangers.

A few months ago she’d hide in the corner. Invisible and separate. She didn’t know then that she was anything but invisible and the strangers around her sensed and understood her need for solace and safety.

Is anyone sitting here?