Imagine the scene. It’s a Saturday morning in Wales, it’s blowing a gale out, the rain is approaching Biblical proportions, and it’s August. You’re hungry. For various reasons, your companions snooze later than planned, and you don’t even get to your chosen cafe until brunch time. At first we considered popping in to view the Royal Mint’s shiny new Visitor Experience Cafe, which was adjacent, but the car park was about three miles away from the venue, and a soaking beckoned. Then, as we exited the car park we found we were a mere fifty yards from The Potting Shed, hard by the new European-style Community Recycling Centre. In less enlightened times, we might just have called it the tip.
The Potting Shed is handily placed within a timber merchant’s yard. It also includes a gift shop, so you can pick up a nice bit of fencing, a pine dresser, and some bunting, pop in to the tip, and still have time for coffee and cake when exhausted by your shopping and recycling efforts. The car park could do with a bit of tarmac, since the heavy rain had turned it into a series of giant lagoons, linked by narrow strips of land, something akin to the Mekong Delta. I fully expected to find a new species of fish or amphibian, and thought I saw the Laotian rock rat, previously believed to be extinct.
The Potting Shed, which is part of the Country Timbers business, offers an ‘atmospheric and rustic environment’ together with friendly staff, a selection of cakes, hot drinks, and lunch items, and more kettles hung from wooden beams than you could shake a stick at. Although you probably wouldn’t want to shake a stick, for fear of knocking some of the jars of lime curd and suchlike off the vast Welsh dresser along one wall.
We had a piece of thick toast topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon, served on some sort of a breadboard, with a hole in the corner for a cache of grapes. As I am from up North (ish), my eyes watered slightly at the price of £4.50, but it was perfectly pleasant. Had I been a squirrel, I could have used the handy recess in the breadboard to store my nuts.
My companions felt that the filter coffee was average, for palates grown used to the finest coffees in Christendom, and that the hot chocolate, whilst topped with all manner of creamy delights and with marshmallow on the side, was on the watery side. The mugs were deemed to be very pretty by my lunch companions, who know about these things. Such is life.
The gift shop stocks a vast range of gifts and unusual home-ware, lovely antique furniture, dressers and chairs, traditional wooden children’s toys and ‘country living items.’ I advise those of a nervous or impatient disposition to wait outside, while those members of their party who like such things, peruse to their hearts’ content. While outside one can contemplate the excellent range of sheds, pergolas, interesting garden seating, decking, outdoor pottery, garden coffee tables, children’s wooden Wendy-houses, sheds, sheds and sheds. All at reasonable prices.
Overall, a pleasant timber-based nook in which to while away an hour or two, consider the merits of breadboards as plates, and discuss the fauna of the Mekong Delta.