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If ever there is such a thing as roadside royalty, I guess Rachels (note no apostrophe) Café comes close.

It lies just northbound of Hagworthingham on the A158 road to Skegness in Lincolnshire, a few miles up from Horncastle, a town renowned for its antique shops (that’s shops selling antiques) and former executioner William Marwood, the cobbler who invented the ‘long drop’ technique, but we won’t go there. Oh, just one thing on that. If you have ever heard the saying, ‘Pull the other one’, that refers to the fact that when someone was hanged, their relatives would attempt to yank the victim’s legs to help break their neck should they be left dangling, kicking and swinging and slowly choking to death. Just a little nugget for you.

Rachels Cafe

As cafés go, Rachels has always proved hugely popular with bikers, with its large car park out front, exterior wooden benches and plenty of interior seating, the tables traditionally packed with passers-by, both on two wheels or four and, on Sundays, roast dinner aficionados.

And now it’s closed. A message popped up on FaceBook in January: It is with regret that we must inform you of the temporary closure of Rachel’s Cafe until further notice. This decision has been made due to unforeseen staffing shortages that have impacted our ability to provide the high level of service and quality you have come to expect from us. Our team is actively working to address these staffing challenges and we are committed to reopening as soon as we can. We understand the inconvenience this may cause and appreciate your understanding during these challenging times.

Almost every day we read about staff shortages in the catering industry, either front of house or in the kitchen, but when it impacts on one of your favourite joints, it really hits home. I checked FB again, and whilst it states it is open, another note states it remains temporarily closed. Confusing. I rang and there was no reply. Fingers crossed the place gets sorted soon.

Meanwhile, back towards Horncastle on the opposite side of the road lies JJ’s. Remiss of me, I know, but I normally ride past it without a second glance on the way to Rachels. I am told there is a bit of an incline to a small car park which has room for around half-a-dozen bikes. Not much room then, but I am assured the food is good.

JJ’s is now on my radar, and when next I am out and about as the weather improves, and the rain, snow and wind have carried on whipping up a frenzy in the North Sea as it crosses north-eastwards towards Scandinavia, I will report back. Meanwhile, I’ll find another roadside hangout.

Gonzo

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