I spent last week in London. After being raised on the BBC and even getting a degree in British novels, it was my veeeery first time in England. I just loved it. It’s the first time I’ve been overseas and not gotten sick and tired of the silly continent long before it’s time to go home… and that’s a real endorsement, coming from me.
Something I really loved was afternoon tea. I know it’s not really a part of the culture anymore, and I definitely had tea at some of the best places (Claridge’s, Liberty, and the Randolph in Oxford), but I just feel that it’s something I want to do, regularly. I want to go into a restaurant or shop, and be given a three-cup pot of tea brewed from looseleaf, a plate of daffy sandwiches, and a fruited scone with clotted cream and jam. Is it so much to ask?
Well, yeah, it is. Now I’m back Stateside and there’s just no way to get it. Coffee shops are leaving me awfully cold, these last few days–“hot tea” is in a mug and brewed from a bag. How depressing. And the eatables? Stale muffins and highly suspicious packaged sandwiches? Um, no thanks.
What’s really ironic is that I can’t get what I want because the place I live is too big. My grandmother and my aunt both live in small towns that, faced with economic crisis, turned themselves into small-time tourist traps full of antique stores and fudge shops–and both have tea rooms that meet all of my criteria. Both tea shops are called “Thyme for Tea,” incidentally. How very clever.
Don’t you all think that the time of the real-for-sure tea shop has come?