Closing the Tea Rooms – 4th November 2018

How many times have we all read the words: ‘due to circumstances beyond our control’ and wondered what on earth those circumstances may be?  Now, and how desperately sad we are, the time has come to let you know that ‘circumstances far and away beyond our control’ mean that the last day the Tea Rooms will be open will be Sunday, November 4th.

When we started the Tea Rooms we had no idea if we would manage a week or even a month.  We thought that perhaps a passing cyclist or walker might call in for a cup of tea and a piece of cake so what has happened in the intervening five years has truly taken us completely by surprise.

Five years ago I wrote about the many and often (seemingly) ridiculous hurdles we had to jump over to open at all.  We did all we knew to do but . . . there was one enormous hurdle completely hidden from our view at the time which has now emerged to defeat us.

The hidden hurdle?  One word in our mortgage.  I wonder how many of us have ever read the small print in our mortgage agreements?  By the time the Tea Rooms opened we were five years in to a ten year agreement.  It simply never crossed our minds to look at it or that it might contain a word, in the small print, the one word – ‘commercial’.

We simply had no idea.

We have never missed a mortgage payment and initially, when we came to renew, all went well.  However, when the Mortgage Company (MC) became aware that we were running a commercial business they immediately stopped any discussion to renegotiate our mortgage.

The MC were and are utterly intransigent and have refused to take the business into account, which has left us with no option other than to close.

Once again, as when setting up the Tea Rooms, we have done all we have known or been advised to do to find a way forward. Every single avenue we have tried has ended in a dead end and every door that has been pushed has been firmly shut in our faces.

The fact that a small but very special and successful business is having to close because we can be ‘seen’ and those dealing with ‘rules’ in an office somewhere in the North of England, hold the power to do so, brings consequences that are both so very sad and so very unnecessary. It remains beyond everyone’s comprehension.

What has made the Tea Rooms so successful?  The answer is in a multitude of things and we know those of you who love to come will have your own answers for that particular question.

For many, many years, even before we came here, the house and garden had been infused with the prayers of countless Christians who have passed this way.  How many people have talked to us about the peace they have found here?  How many have said ‘this is a little piece of Heaven’? How many have been deeply touched by the love shown to them by the food they have eaten and the way in which they have been served?  We certainly won’t know the answer to any of those questions this side of Heaven and when we reach Heaven we’re certain that we won’t need to know!

The hardest and saddest thing about all of this is that our amazing team will lose their jobs. There are no words to describe the sadness and pain this causes us.

Although there is great sadness in closing the Tea Rooms we also want to celebrate so much that has been good and wonderful. On that note we would love to see as many of you as possible before we close, so do please call in to celebrate with us.

As well as having worked with an extraordinary group of people there are all of you – our amazing customers – who we now consider to be our friends.  Your support, enthusiasm and encouragement have been the key to it all and our gratitude and thanks knows no bounds.

About Cole Manor

Cole Manor is the home of Diana and Richard Scott. Tucked away on a country lane between Bruton and Castle Cary.

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