We drove into the one-street town a few minutes before sunset. The murky greyish-blue sky, bare trees and moderate rain fall were all the elements needed for the making of a ghost town vibe. My quirkiness radar piqued upon driving past two street signs on a residential street - one an old peoples crossing, and the other a ducks crossing. From that moment I knew that there was going to be something to like about Trentham.
We went to Trentham to eat at a recommended German restaurant. Since we couldn't find it, we stopped in front of a Victorian era hotel to ask for directions. The hotel was unfortunately borded up - a sign of a lack of tourism in the town. We walked to the milk bar/fish & chips store around the corner to get directions. Two spirited and large old ladies ran the store. The louder one of the two wore a sailor's hat and a porcelian white set of large dentures, which produced a very toothy smile. They told us the German restaurant closed down but told us to visit Mrs Marples Tea Room instead for beautiful foccacias. I noticed this cute cottage cafe during our five minute drive through the entire town.
We moved the car to park in front of the Trentham Hotel pub, which was next to Mrs Marples. I alighted the car first, and was greeted by a young guy smoking outside of the pub. His ears were accessorised with two large black disks, and he looked like every other dark haired muso fanboy in the city. I guessed he was into punk/pop or emo. Expecting the town to be comprised of single middle aged men and old people, I was surprised to see a young guy, especially one dressed like him. He complained about being forced to smoke outside of the pub now, given it was the first day that the non-smoking laws took effect. We walked into the brightly lit, fireplace warm cottage that was Mrs Marples Tea Room. It was a cafe and store that had on display typical old people country items like patchwork quilts, porcelian plates and tea pots, dolls, teddy bears, knit wear, yarn, soaps, and second hand books. I've also never seen this many Golliwogs in my life. The cliche word to describe this country cafe is what else but charming. A middle aged lady was working behind the front counter and making drinks. Her mother worked in the kitchen and brought the food out, always with enthusiasm about the food and care for the customers. They both were blonde and wore pink sweaters.
We settled on a table in front of the fire place and ordered Devonshire tea. The scones were cushiony soft and warm, served with a generous amount of thick double cream and strawberry jam. Quite possibly some of the best scones I've eaten. My friend had chicken soup that looked like it was made with love. The aroma of the herbs and spices was drifting through the air, and it was brimming with large chunks of vegetables - not something I often see in soups nowadays. The tea was served in an illustrated porcelian tea pot and a little tea cup with gold brim. The entire dining setting was the epitome of quaint and ladylike.
The two ladies from the milk bar walked into Mrs Marples soon after and commended us for going by their recommendation, and we whole heartedly agreed with them about this lovely cafe. I thought it was cute that they could close their milk bar when they felt like going for a coffee. Being a small town, they of course knew the owners of the cafe and they started chatting about the goings on in their life and the town.
Later on the young guy from outside the pub opened the door cafe to boldly ask the owner if he could smoke inside here. She told him to go away and everyone burst out laughing. Of all places to smoke, Mrs Marples would be the last. The old ladies and the owner gossiped about the guy and said he was the mad brother of some guy in town. The old ladies complained about his black disc earings.
To top the quirky evening off, a slightly mental STEVE BUSCEMI lookalike walked in to chat with the owner and ask what he could buy from her with the few coins he had in his pocket. At that point I knew Trentham would be a good setting for a film about quirky small town people.
I'd like to sit at Mrs Marples for a day to observe the colourful people, and especially evesdrop on their conversations. I felt like I was watching a cafe scene out of the Gilmore Girls, where different locals come and go during the day, interacting with the owner and people around them.