Last Wednesday's Women's Hour programme on Radio 4 discussed the rise in popularity of Afternoon Tea. They had a gentleman from Clarridges who brought the "tea" and tea consultant/writer Jane Pettigrew. Apparently afternoon tea is more popular than ever and establishments like Clarridges and The Ritz are booked weeks in advance. I have been longing for some time to take tea at the Ritz and now it seems that should the opportunity arise I probably won't be able to get a table, typical huh... I should have known it was becoming the "in" thing, a well known author with whom I am very slightly acquainted, in a friend of a friend type way, recently held her book launch party there; a sure sign that it is the "thing to do".
I haven't always been a tea drinker although I have never objected to the accompanying scones and cakes. As a student, some years ago, all I drank was cheap Cabernet Sauvignon and occasionally we sipped tea in the Chinese restaurants we used to frequent in London's Chinatown. Later when frantically climbing the career ladder in a busy media type company I survived on buckets of very strong coffee and the odd martini or 5, it is only in my current reincarnation as a Mummy that I have come to truly appreciate the restorative nature of a nice cup of tea. Nowadays I drink only one cup of coffee a day and that is first thing in the morning, I don't intend to ever give it up although I consciously took a decision to seriously cut down on my caffeine intake. My morning coffee is to be savoured, I drink it in the few minutes after the children have finished breakfast and been sent upstairs to start getting dressed, I sit for a few minutes to drink my coffee, maybe read some emails or flick through post and it ia pleasurable few moments. Tea has taken over as my drink of choice but I am fussy. I have discovered that I like my tea without milk and I am particularly fond of Green Tea, my current favourite being Jacksons of Picadilly Green Tea with Jasmine. My favourite cup of tea is the one which accompanies a slice of cake, lemon drizzle being perfect.
We do not regularly indulge in a full afternoon tea although we do manage a teabreak with some sort of baked item most days. This Friday we celebrated the start of the school holidays with a full and proper afternoon tea. We had cucumber sandwiches, scones with rasberry jam and clotted cream and of course some cake. A fresh white table cloth made it feel all the more enjoyable. Tea for the adults and Rasberry Milkshake for children. Our world slowed down for a few minutes while we took our time to enjoy and it was widely decreed that it should be a weekly event. Guess I had better work some extra steps into my week then if I'm going to keep that clotted cream off my waistband.