It occurs to me that this whole journey is actually liable to take some time, and that, much as we wish we were blessed with all the time in the world, people may have other things to do than read the full, glorious and noble history of the Jabberwocky. So for those who would like to know more I will attempt to at least gather the most important points, so that anyone with a passing interest can consider themselves up to date in mere moments.
December 2010. We have been talking and thinking about the idea for years, but this is what we shall define as the beginning. Prior to this, one can only assume there was nothing. The blog was a nice place to gather thoughts on what was to come, and with the end of December I think there was some genuine commitment to achieving a restaurant in the new year.
January 2011 was the month of the Van, as the restaurant idea was carefully filed for later. We bought ourselves a catering van, managed to get it home, and rejoiced. Not only did it contain enough equipment to fill our living room, it even fitted on our drive way. Everything was winter sunshine and happy thoughts, until the van failed its MOT.
This was then the theme for February as well. We started the limited company and tested the food we will one day sell, but the month was punctured with failed attempts to get the van, now known as the Beast, to do anything other than produce concerning plastic smells. Eventually, as Winter relinquished its grip on our van’s beastly frame, it was redeemed.
The plan swerved slightly in March, as the new found focus on the van meant that we now had enough money spare to stop throwing it at our land lord and start throwing it at a mortgage lender. We set about finding the Jabberwocky a home, and all the glorious worries that frolic, hand in hand, with buying a house.
This brings us inevitably to April. During this time we successfully negotiated the minefield of house-buying, and the Jabberwocky not only acquired a website, but also a logo. The outlook was happy as the Jabberwocky sidled forward on it’s way to becoming a full blown business.
May brought with it our first visit from the council, as they scrutinised the Beast and made recommendations for his progress. We were now on the clock, and needed to get websites and applications up to speed in anticipation of the coming storm. However May drifted onwards and the pace seemed to be somewhat lacking. Only the looming summer finally brought things back on track again and will hopefully speed us into the future.
June was a month for clearing up loose ends and failing at arts and crafts projects. I used the time saved by not failing a second time to be unnecessary about the coming artwork for the van. The magnificent Beast was given a glorious coat of livery and I was finally able to spread pictures of the van in all its finery to the various places we were trying to sell food. We even finally got round to actually talking about the food, and posted what will hopefully be the first of many recipes.
July hailed our first actual, proper, full-blown booking, and there was much rejoicing. It means that on the 10th of September 2011, no matter what happens, we must be ready. This led to a brief flurry of trying to get the Beast certifiably gas safe, and then lapsed once again into the comfortable meandering style you presumably know and love to waffle about jam. As July drew to a close Barny notched up his fourth radio appearance, making him probably officially famous, and we were hopeful of good things to come.
We danced into August ready for anything, and applying the finishing touches to the bits and pieces of Jabberwocky that still needed tweaking. The food was most important, and our second tasting occurred, and feedback was given. Having decided on the menu we set about making business cards, so that future customers would have something to remember us by. It was almost as if we were ready.
In September we had the Leamington Food Festival, a celebration dedicated to us getting the van up to scratch and also, possibly, food. Everything went better than expected, and we turned a small profit, much to the polite amazement of everyone, not least the Keepers of the Beast. The deed had been done, the maiden voyage was over, and the Jabberwocky rolled onwards into an uncertain future.
October was a period of recovery for us, although not for fatally wounded hedgehogs in our care. We invested our efforts into moving on and accepting that food-fame does not happen overnight, and began to try and find other ways of telling the world about the Leamington Jabberwocky.
Thank you for supporting us this far. The road ahead is one of those rather lovely but treacherous mountain paths, and will undoubtedly have both excellent views and rickety rope bridges, but we will persevere, and it would be excellent if you could join us. Like every new independent business we need all the help we can get, and just by reading this, you have contributed in a small but significant way.