January articles often focus on the latest diet for shedding those extra pounds gained over Christmas. As a change I thought I would write about a shop which sells bread rolls, cakes, cream buns and all those treats that many of us enjoy throughout the year.
The New Cottage Loaf in the High Street is managed by Pauline Thurling who not only caters for the people of Lee but also donates to various good causes including St, Faith’s church. Pauline is the fifth of seven siblings, 3 boys and 4 girls. Her father was a civil engineer but worked as a teenager for Green’s Bakery, Gosport so perhaps baking was in the genes! Pauline, who has always lived in the Gosport area, was educated at Bay House Comprehensive and subsequently spent 17 years working for the Wing family at the Stoke Road Gallery which specialises in picture framing, artwork and art materials. She still remains friends with the family and caters for the annual children’s Christmas parties which the family provides at Community House, Old Road, Gosport, a local charity.
Now married to Ian with 2 children, her career was to take various routes before she finally settled for the catering business. Ian and his brother Roy had both studied at Highbury College gaining their City and Guilds diplomas, Ian in Restaurant Management and Roy as a Chef. Eager to use their skills they started in business together, at first working from home providing sandwiches for various clients and later, acquiring an empty shop in Brockhurst Road and creating the ‘Varieties’ sandwich bar where Pauline joined them. Approached by Vector Aerospace (now Standard Aero) to cater for their workforce, the business grew eventually supplying factories, shops, vending machines and other outlets.
After 8 years and wanting a change, Pauline trained as a phlebotomist and worked for the NHS in local clinics, hospitals and surgeries for the next 3 years. I couldn’t help wondering how many armfuls of my blood she might have taken during that time! Her career however was to take another turn when Ian spotted an advert for The Cottage Loaf and acquired it. Needing by now to care for her aging parents (her father refers to her as a proper Florence Nightingale) and her unwell brother, Pauline required more flexible hours and so left the NHS and returned to the catering world by joining Ian and Roy in their latest project. Between them they now run two shops, one in Gosport where Roy manages the catering side and helps out as chef and The New Cottage Loaf in Lee where Ian runs the business side while Pauline manages the shop.
Pauline was keen for me to express her gratitude for the way that the residents of Lee have continued to support the shop after the change of ownership, and to the existing staff for their ongoing support. As a token of her gratitude to the senior citizens of Lee, she also offers a 10% discount for purchases made on Thursdays.
How she manages to balance family and work requirements and still look so young amazes me. It was a pleasure to meet her. Before I left I asked if she took orders for individual items and, of course, she does. So I ordered a fruit cake (my secret passion) which few shops seem to sell these days. So, delighting in a delicious fruit cake, here’s wishing you all a Happy and Healthy New Year, and even if you did eat too much over Christmas, a little of what you fancy does you good and I’m sure The New Cottage Loaf will be able to provide it.