… to local firm Stoate & Sons! I enjoy baking, and particularly like to make long-fermented breads and traditional fruit cakes. And as far as I’m concerned, the most vital factor in how my baking turns out isn’t the temperature of my oven, how long I’ve kneaded it (or not, as my current favourite is a no-knead sourdough) or how fresh my eggs are, but the quality of the flour. And Stoates flour is always absolutely excellent.
I can buy small 1.5Kg bags at our very-excellent local health food shop, but sadly they will only last us a week or so. But we’re lucky enough to live less than 20 miles from the mill at Cann, and often have reasons to go up that way, so when I’m passing and the mill is open, I’ll pop in and stock up on the 8Kg bags, which will last us for about 3 months. However, when my mother was very ill, I ran out of time to go up there, so placed my first order online, which most impressively arrived the next day. Since then, I’ve worked out that if there is no other reason to go up there and combine errands, it is actually marginally cheaper to buy it online, as my van, though wonderful in many ways, is not the most fuel-efficient beastie on the roads. And it also saves me some time, which always seems to be in short supply just now.
Anyway, I placed another order one evening earlier this week, and received an email the next day saying that it had been dispatched and should arrive the next day. I was at home all day, but the doorbell never rang. And though I was in and out the next day, one or other of the girls was in all day, and again, the doorbell just didn’t ring. However, this morning, we found a very soggy cardboard box on the doorstep… the box disintegrated when I picked it up, and sadly the flour sacks inside were damp too.
So I rang the mill and left a message saying what had happened; not blaming them at all, but despairing at the lack of common sense shown by their carrier. The weather forecast was terrible, and there wasn’t a moment when the house was left unattended, and both doorbells work perfectly well. For a while, I thought I might have to rely on supermarket flour until I could get up to Cann again. But as I was unpicking a fabulous metal trim from a lovely but damaged vintage sari this afternoon (more about that soon) the doorbell rang…
There on my doorstep stood the miller himself! His wife had an errand to run down our way, so when he heard my message, checked the order and realised where we were, he popped some sacks into the back of the car & dropped them off directly to us. It’s not often you get service like that these days; well and truly above and beyond the call of duty. So I’d just like to say a huge thank-you to Michael Stoate; that’s what I call good customer service!