Pleasant chaos reigned in Dock Cafe over the last few days as normal business continued amidst the ladders, scaffolding, drilling and hammering of the team who arrived to fit our shiny new heaters.
We’ve been looking at several different options to keep Dockers warm over the winter months, and eventually we’ve gone for the kind of heaters usually seen warming open-air diners in Parisian pavement cafes! If it’s good enough for Paris…
(and looking out at the weather, I think they have arrived just in the nick of time – apparently Winter officially starts today!)
As we prepare to enter a whole new era of toasty-warmness in the cafe, maybe it’s time that I introduced you to the two heaters who have been struggling manfully to keep us warm through the ever-balmy Northern Irish Spring and Summer.
Our longest-serving soldier is this faithful old Super Ser (remember them?). I found out from some of the students this week that the Super Ser has a name – they know it (her?) as ‘Malin’s Girlfriend’, in honour of one of the student gang who used to snuggle up especially close to the heater as they gathered on the comfy sofas!
(Which may be a very little thing, but it makes me just so happy when I hear stories like that. How many cafes do you know where the heaters have been given a nickname? I LOVE it that the students feel so at-home and comfortable in the Dock… long may it continue.)
The second heater is a more recent acquisition, but as soon as I saw it lurking in B&Q I knew we HAD to have one for The Dock!
In essence it’s a glorified Super Ser, but designed to resemble an old furnace – exactly the sort of thing I can imagine everyone gathering around at lunchtimes in the shipyards.
I’ve always been inspired by the stories of the revivals, Bible studies and faith discussions that happened around the furnaces in the heyday of the shipyards. So nothing makes me happier than when The Dock’s very own shipyard furnace is used to continue that tradition. Yesterday I had the huge privilege of taking part in the Metropolitan College Scripture Union discussion, sharing ideas and reactions and challenges from a passage in Luke’s Gospel as we gathered around the furnace. Faith being “fanned into flame”, as Paul encouraged Timothy.
So I’m looking forward to basking in the glow of the Parisian pavement cafe heaters for the rest of the Winter – but as the most beloved heaters in The Dock, they’ve got some catching up to do!