There are 2 places to sit, the Conservatory which would be my first choice in summer months and The Butler’s Restaurant, which was definitely my first choice on a cold January Afternoon.
Butlers Restaurant was full with the sound of ladies laughing, a pianist tinkling away on the keyboard and the occasional sound of Elizabeth’s bell, as she serenaded the tables with not a song, (as no doubt many of you have encountered, on many a Spanish holiday, as red in the face as the rose wedged between the three amigos’ teeth), but a poem about Tea.
There were three choices of Afternoon Tea “The Green & Blacks” Chocolate Lovers and The Chesterfield Traditional, either with or without champagne – my option was of course with champagne. If you’re taking along your little ones, then there is also a “Little Prince and Princess Tea”, and as tempting as that sounded, no way would I be replacing my bubbles for Milkshake!
The tea selection is extensive and I decided to go for a jasmine and Lily tea, a sweet tea with a spectacular Jasmine flower that unfolds in the hot water. Just as my tea arrived at my table, the bell rang and Elizabeth was presented to me. The sandwiches and cakes all waiting to be tasted, I wanted to eat them all at once and then more, but I would have to wait a little longer to devour my desserts. My mum’s words echoed through my head “Eyes bigger than belly Jenni” - Oh this was a test!
Elizabeth’s poems, read some from memory and some from her book, “Distinguished Leaves” were “TeaLightful”. She picked poems relevant to us and our choices of drinks. My friend sampled the Lapsang Souchong and when I had asked her previously how it tasted, she replied “Like a Bonfire in my mouth”. Elizabeth made it seem so much more appealing to me, although, if truth be told, I was still pleased I had my chosen flower brewing.
Being a Tea Poet can be exhausting though and no time for tea for Elizabeth – she was parched. It was really lovely to have somebody join our table and share 15 minutes with us. Then before we knew it, Elizabeth was off and on with the next table.
Well, my gaze fell on the scones, it was way past 3 – and I happened to be thinking, Now's the time, It's time for Tea!