Charlotte and James on the farm in front of the bell tent, holding local baked goods

As I was kneeling on my trusty kneepad, overalls soaked through on my knees, head torch on trimming lavenders in the misty darkness I contemplated what I should write about for January. I had an idea slowly forming under the head torch, but then as the darkness became too much I arrived into the kitchen where the radio gently burbled away and my senses were bombarded by the smell of cinnamon filling the air and I changed my mind. So I decided to write about my dearest Charlotte instead…

I first met Charlotte back in the winter of 2018, she flew from Sweden to London and caught the train down to Sherborne. I remember the first time we spoke on the phone, two weeks after we knew of each other’s existence, her Scandinavian accent attracted me, it was different and made me smile. I hung in the window to get service and she was in her greenhouse out of the wind. We chatted for an hour, no long pauses or difficult silences. From then on we chatted daily and as the beast from the east took hold she arrived on the other side of the platform at Sherborne station. I walked quickly up the corrugated walkway to meet her, a small bunch of early spring flowers in my hand. We spent the next few days trying to stay out of the terrible wind, even feeding the pigs, (I had less then) she helped me as I struggled to get water to them before it froze in the bucket. It was a stressful time, but she didn’t hide away! Jump forward to June and she moved from Sweden to Sherborne to start a new life with me here.

From day one we were inseparable and spent our time working and planning together, she had boundless enthusiasm and a vision that only complemented mine. Slowly our business grew and because there were two of us it changed and became what it is today. These days Charlotte has much less time to help me with the pigs, that’s become my job again! She has built her role of cake making, pizza throwing, meat selling, organising staff, looking after me and many more, making it her own.

So, over the years we have realised what a good match we are together. It’s quite incredible but from music to flowers to paint colours to TV programmes we have the same taste. We have the same vision for our future and she always supports me with my myriad of new business ideas! She makes me laugh until I can’t stop with her jokes and impressions, she’s so funny which I love. She’s incredibly loyal and will always offer to help me, even if she hasn’t really got time in her busy day.

Her laid back scandi style has become a big hit with our customers, often coming specially to try her cinnamon buns or her latest cake creation in the café. With a very limited kitchen, Charlotte produces quite the most amazing food for us all. Its not all about cakes though, she loves to help me in the garden when she has spare time, we’re really never far away from each other… even as I write she is behind me throwing pizza dough around for tonight’s pizza evening.

Happy birthday Charlotte!

James Hull, Sherborne Times, January 2023