We made a break for it, Oma, my sister J, and I. Dear old brother-in-law made it possible for us to escape for the day sans little people, and without a second thought or a look over our shoulders we did it - a day out, just the girls.
Off we hied to Nottle - an historic town with connections to the theatre that has beautiful architecture with, as we discovered, a wonderful little stretch of fun shops to poke around in. Before this day, with a 2 and a 3 year-old Peanut in tow, narrow aisles of expensive china or reachable-from-a-buggy shelves of chocolate have not been high on our list of possibilities, so we would ooh and aah at what was within, our noses pressed to the windows.
We walked and browsed for hours, delighting in cheeses and teas, French linen and classic movies, bakeries and Irish woolen clothing, souvenirs and shoes. It rained, but we were each equipped with brollies, undaunted by being slightly damp, enjoying the fact that the weather kept other people under cover of their own homes.
The highlight of the day was tea. Classic high tea with cucumber sandwiches, little cakes, and scones with clotted cream. Heavenly! We sat on red velvet chairs at a window overlooking the street. The table was set with hotel silver and a beautiful white rose floated in a crystal bowl. We each ordered our own tea, so there we were, three big tea pots and two silver towers of delectable nibblies.
It was delicious, not only to the palate but to the eyes as well. We were nearly giddy with the experience of fine linen, beautiful china, lovely food, gentle music, old silver, discrete service - things that a woman's heart delights in. We laughed often at the idea of the boys being faced with the offerings - they would surely be disgusted at how small the food was, and it's guaranteed something would end up broken. Not to mention the fact that it took nearly two hours to drink tea! But drink it, we did. Three entire pots of tea. Heavenly!
We toasted the Duchess of Bedford who grew hungry between lunch and dinner and began to ask for bread and cakes with tea in the afternoon, instituting the practice of Afternoon Tea. And what a good thing it is! I know I tend to be very romantic about The Days of Yore, but isn't the idea of Afternoon Tea appealing? We could of course just meet for a hot beverage in a cardboard cup from the Hockey Player's coffee shop with our choice of baked-from-frozen doughtnut but I say let's bring Afternoon Tea back; let's pause in the afternoon for sustenance and conversation. Let's set the table with our good china and best silver, brew a perfect pot of tea, and enjoy some lovely food together.