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Dealing with a Practise-run

Today I trialled The Blue Scone Van for the first time, on my front drive. The reason? It is our first event, with customers, next Sunday and I wanted to find out what the possible pit-falls could be. I'm so glad that I did. What a relief to have had this opportunity to stream-line my plans for next week.

I played it safe and invited the neighbours over as super-tasters. With a suggested start time of 11am, we began preparations from

9.30am. Of course, this is the first time my husband and I have put up the blue awning and used the generator. We thought it would be simple; however, Mike had to use his engineering degree to decipher the awning instructions and then the generator was tripped by me over-exuberantly plugging in the urn and the hoover at the same time. Who knew that the urn took up so many watts? Obviously everyone else but me! An

yway, this was the day to make the mistakes and I've learnt my lesson, no hoovers with urns! It also made me realise how much we take power for granted in our home kitchens.

As if this wasn't enough to deal with, while cleaning the floor, I noticed a leak from the sink water-pipe. Once we had solved this little surprise, I could finish the two-step clean of the van aiming for the proposed start time. On the dot of 11, our lovely neighbours turned up tummies already rumbling. I had barely filled the cupboards with ingredients or lit the oven. I suddenly realised that I was going to need a mixing bowl, a spoon, weighing scales, flour etc. I definitely need a list for Sunday. Meanwhile, the generator was reverberating like a jet plane. I was going to need to get a move on. Luckily, they were ever so patient while I made my first steps into the catering world but it was a good lesson in preparation.

So, back to the saga of the baking! I'm used to an electric fan oven in my kitchen and it's been a bit of an education learning to use a gas oven. My first scones were burnt on the bottom and a bit flat. They also took an unexpected 45 minutes. Okay, fast-forward to the actions of my wise neighbour, who, in a previous existence, was the owner of Avala Catering. He turned the oven up to a healthier temperature and placed a tray of water at the bottom of the oven. This stops the scones from burning on the bottom and spreads the heat more evenly through the oven. This trick worked and the scones baked more quickly after that, albeit longer than in my usual oven.

The neighbours agreed that the scones were delicious. It was comforting to see the shoulders of the waiting neighbours relax as they piled the scones with cream and my home-made rhubarb and ginger jam. The reviews were ace with the proviso that I find a way to speed up the service. As they said, customers won't wait no matter how good the scones taste. Fortunately, I've got the rest of the week to organise myself and I'll be baking every day in the Scone Van to make sure

that everything runs smoothly on Sunday. As I'll have a regular supply of scones I can't eat, I'm happy to hear from more tasting volunteers.

All in all, I am so glad that I practised today. I know that I am blessed to have the space to do this and a patient husband who can fix everything. Many thanks to those who go out of their way to support me.

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