By Susan Mcfadzean
What is the energy in the room?
Marc kicked off term two for us with a formula one analogy. He was talking about having your foot on the gas, your hands on the wheel and your eyes checking the mirrors. Apparently, we all landed in SCA because we are race car drivers. LOL. But, Marc did put my behaviour since a young age into figurative language. I’ve never stopped in my attempt to race forward desperate to steer myself into what I hope is the right direction, even when it feels like I’m spinning out of control. And now that Marc has added the mirrors to my RB13 (I’ve chosen the Red Bull chassis for myself) I can stay aware of the unexpected. Clearly I ended up in SCA without the mirrors by crashing headlong into it. I still question if it was an accident. Either way, lucky for me. Let’s just hope it’s not a write-off.
But now that I test the sticky-ness of almost everything, I sat, feet jiggling, wondering why I liked the formula one analogy. I’ve mentioned before in posts that my parents own a restaurant. It is their business and their only way to provide for a large family. So my childhood was spent at home with a nanny and my siblings whilst my parents worked seven days a week every summer. Or, in winter when we didn’t have an extra pair of hands, running around the kitchen between the legs of chefs, nattering to random customers out front or sitting perched on the bar eavesdropping on the regular’s conversations. I loved my childhood and I loved the constant flow of different people with different stories and different personalities flowing through the doors of my parents restaurant. But the memory the formula one analogy brought back was of one of those special odd Sunday’s when Dad would close the restaurant. He still had work to do in terms of paper work – he must be the only human on par with my ridiculous paper filing skills – so we would still head down to the restaurant. Disabling the alarm, Dad would pull the curtains closed and drop the blinds. He would flick on the coffee machine and the grinder for fresh beans. And then the tv, turned low, he’d scroll through the channels till he landed on formula one. And for the next few hours an empty restaurant with the constant background music of whizzing cars and the smell of coffee was my playground whilst he tried to sort out his bills. Me and my sister would be in the kitchen helping ourselves to ice cream, we’d be scrambling over kegs in the cellar trying not to knock out a pipe. We’d weave through tables, draw on the chalk boards and pour Dad a pint of Guinness standing on upturned buckets. I especially loved crouching down to watch the ice machine waiting for the fresh cubes to come falling through the little white plastic curtains. It never felt like an empty restaurant even without any customers.
And since being home for Christmas I realised how much energy is balled up in that space. It’s not perfect and maybe some customers leave whining reviews on Tripadvisor, but it’s got story and rampant emotion in the walls and the crockery and the pots and pans. Stories gained over the 38 years they’ve struggled with it. We hate it and we love it. Or we love it and hate it. But there’s one thing I know for sure. Every staff member to join the team becomes family. My mum can call up a kitchen porter from years ago for a favour on a Saturday night and she can count on it that they’ll be there if they can. They looked after an army of mine and my siblings friends every summer to push us to pull our weight once we were old enough rewarding us with skills we never knew back then would serve us so well now. I remember they hired Gregory, at the time a Polish labourer struggling on the island. Nine years later, under forced circumstances, his children were forced to move over from Poland and of course my mum welcomed them to the restaurant to help improve their English and send them home with dinner. He was the first person to welcome me through the back kitchen door this Christmas. I could list the names and picture the faces that still return since the days I was in nappies. Chavvy and Anya are back every summer. They got a surprise visit from Maria this winter. We got a Christmas card from Magda and she’s had a baby. And for me, that’s the importance of creating the right energy in a room. I’ve experienced an extended family and now I’m excited about starting to become part of my own.
Very soppy maybe, but I just wanted to say I’m really excited about 2018 and term two at SCA with everyone. We are John and we are going to create our story. Now, what the f*ck is a good proposition?