In Blatherskite, for those who do not always eat at regular times, or who want something extra between meals or classes, there is the Café. Run by the Schools house elves it makes small sandwiches, cakes, soups and other snacks that are available to students.
Interestingly, as well as the house elves running the Café, they are also visible in it. Rather than just magicking food to tables, or serving through proxies they serve in the pen, taking food orders, clearing tables, and even drawing huge chalk murals on the blackboard walls.
Most interesting of all is that the house elves are all free, all employed, and all paid. Barring those few who prefer to exist as elves in service (over as individuals) the house elves of Blatherskite are free, often naming themselves (anything from Maximilien to Mo), and those who prefer to exist in service are gradually rehabilitated by other house elves their pay set aside in a trust until they are able to use it themselves.
The Café is a comfortable space fro all in Blatherskite, eclectic chairs and tables and tableware, plants hanging from the ceiling, walls bright colours on dusty black where the house elves draw.
And what they draw is quite amazing. Honeysuckle writ large, brightly coloured with chalk of all shades, wisteria winding into the corners, birds and bees feeding and nesting in amongst chalk blooms. The view of the world from knee-height, peoples legs crowding in, restricting vision, and in the most careful details, bootlaces, aglets and all, even the tread of a shoe as it rises from a damp floor. Every detail etched perfectly in chalk onto the blackboard walls.
The art changes, day to day, hour to hour, new details added, whole panels changed, sometimes the art going from a sunset one day, to a stained glass window the next, to an underwater scene after three days more, to a pristine copy of Monet overnight. The house elves can call it back, wipe clean the most recent piece, replace it with one from last night, last week, last month, last year, calling up from a single signature, in a single book.
Rarely, oh so rarely, a student might be invited to draw alongside the elves, allowed to create art with the huge daunting creations of the small careful elves. This, students say, is an honour.
To the house elves, and the house elves alone, it is their right. Sticks of chalk stuck in their aprons and behind floppy ears, small clothes enchanted to wipe away the chalk cleanly tied to notepads and apron strings. All as plain and clear as the house elves themselves.
(Blatherskite is the creation of underwater-witchery, the idea of it employing only free house elves is their idea also.)