ME and Ophelia

Monday, March 01, 2004


Afternoon tea at The Ritz

Afternoon tea (what afternoons are made for) is an old English custom.

Even these days, it's not unusual for "afternoon tea" to involve one's best china and silver, damask tablecoths and napkins. Freshly cut flowers, tiered cake platters with lace paper doilies. Loose leaf tea in pre-heated teapot, tea strainer, milk (poured into cup after tea), tongs for sugar cubes. Dainty cucumber sandwiches (no crusts) with fresh pastries and scones with butter, clotted cream and jam. Leisurely sips and nibbles and light hearted conversation.

In the early 1980's an American friend treated me to tea at The Ritz Hotel London. It was unforgettable experience as waiters silently swished around us every ten minutes with mouthwatering culinary delights and amazing mini pastries elegantly sculpted into swans and powdered with snow white icing sugar.

Last week, three super lady friends visited me here at 3 pm on Shrove Tuesday for afternoon tea and pancakes. A wonderful day. Table was nicely laid and decorated with their gifts of yellow and white, long stemmed daffodils, exquisite snowdrops (tall, a rare species) and lush greenery fresh from their gardens. Served sherry, followed by Indian and Chinese tea, steaming hot paper thin crepes sprinkled with a selection of cinnamon sugar/lemon juice and caster sugar/home made plum jam. And freshly ground Austrian coffee in my Bavarian porcelain coffee set. The aroma, festive cheer and colour, charming and fun company was a real treat and like Christmas. On top of all this generosity, I was given a framed antique pencil drawing of the sweetest looking pussy cat anyone ever saw.

For Lent, I've given up whingeing. Seem to recall that forty days of Lent is to do with Jesus going into the desert for forty days and forty nights, but I can't remember the meaning of Pancake Day. Here's an explanation of Shrove Tuesday.

# posted by Ingrid J. Jones @ 3/01/2004
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