You'll never guess what happened to me at work today? was what I said to my partner, Dave, when getting home! There I was sat in my office working away when I decided to go and spoil myself and have lunch in the Hayloft Restaurant.
Leaving the office, I passed some of the donkeys at Trow Farm, but not before sitting down on the grass by their field where three of them ambled over towards me and I spent some time quietly talking to them and enjoying their company before heading over for a spot of lunch.
Standing in the queue, I had a chance to look around and it was great to see so many families visiting - there were children with their parents, and parents with their parents. So many generations of just one family out together in the Devon sunshine relaxing with the donkeys.
As the queue quickly moved forward, I placed my order and asked roughly how long the wait was while I paid as the restaurant inside was full. Could be up to 30 minutes at the moment and a casual "You wouldn't happen to have a spare 10 minutes on your hands?" question. That was it. My sleeves were rolled up and the offer to help with whatever was needed was my reply!
Nothing to it ... I thought. I got cracking with clearing the tables inside and within five minutes I was absolutely shattered. I had no idea how physical it was clearing tables. It took me a while to work out how to stack my tray as to begin with, I just piled plates, cups and glasses all over the place. Thirty minutes in, I had got into my stride and started clearing the outside tables as well.
In all honesty, I must say it was one of the most enjoyable, yet physically demanding, lunch breaks I have had. I got the chance to meet visitors to the Sanctuary and spent time chatting with them as I cleared the tables.
I came away knowing not only had I done some good, but with a deeper understanding of how hard the staff at the Hayloft Restaurant work. All I can say to Cass and her team - I take my hat off to you.
And yes, if anyone wants to know, I had lunch - a working lunch!