A WALKABOUT AND A VERY SPECIAL AFTERNOON TEA: LONDON, PART THREE

Although it was not our primary activity, our trip to London wouldn’t be complete without at least a cursory look at the town’s “tourist attractions.”   I did find it fascinating that my photos, taken in full color without filters managed to capture London’s overcast nature:

Buckingham Palace:

IMG_0652

 

The Queen is in attendance:

IMG_0654

Big Ben:

IMG_0622

The stroke of twelve – I wished I had taken audio of the chimes:

IMG_0638

The Eye – In my opinion this is a hideous structure that is totally out-of-place:

IMG_0636

The Thames:

IMG_0633

With the camera zoom you can see the albatrosses drying their wings on a buoy.  They were sitting on almost all shown in the above picture:

IMG_0634

While not necessarily British by nature – I still found these black and white images fascinating:

IMG_0639

I liked the shadowy image of this shot “quoth the Raven:”

IMG_5055

On a more colorful note, these are buskers playing in the  Portobello Market section off of Notting Hill:

IMG_9570

You might not recognize this next item immediately:

vandaclocklondon

This clock is found hanging from the ceiling in one of the great rooms of The Victoria and Albert Museum.  The museum of decorative arts and design is the world’s largest, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million “objets d’art.”  The clock commemorates the state opening of the finished Museum on 26 June 1909. There are so many incredible pieces to look at that our quick walk-through of a few hours only covered a tiny section, but we made sure we took at pass at the jewels:

Pinwheel of gemstone rings – I’d wear any one:

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

One of the many diamond tiaras on display:

IMG_0658

This stunning glass chandelier which hangs in V&A’s Rotunda, is a fairly modern piece, constructed by artist Dale Chihuly in 2001. This is the same artist who created the colorful glass pieces in the Las Vegas Bellagio Hotel:

IMG_9571

But enough of tourism, let’s now get to one of the main items on our itinerary – a surprise birthday tea service for my friend Sande:  Lenore and I had made all the arrangements prior to our trip – the only thing Sande was aware of was that we were going to a traditional tea.

Of course I couldn’t plan a tea without delving into the history of afternoon tea, and I must admit I learned a thing or two.  For example, the British tradition of High Tea began in the mid 1700s as an afternoon meal usually served between 3 and 4 o’clock.  Interestingly it was a meal for the working class man, who took his tea  standing up or sitting on tall stools, thus earning the term “high.”  The meal also including cakes, scones and other filling snacks.

Gradually, the upper class adopted this afternoon meal and it became an important event on social calendars. For these people of leisure the tea  served a practical purpose, allowing  the opportunity of a substantial meal before attending the theatre, or playing cards. Since the evening meal or Supper was not usually served until eight o’clock the afternoon tea provided some nourishment between the long period between lunch and dinner.

It was also around this time that one John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, had the idea of placing meat and other fillings between two slices of bread. Voila!

During the 1880’s upper-class society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing-room between four and five o’clock. This afternoon tea consists of a selection of dainty sandwiches, including of course, cucumber sandwiches as well as scones served with clotted cream and preserves. Cakes and pastries are also served.

All of the above was included in our surprise tea with the addition of a strawberry birthday cake, champagne and party poppers served with impeccable style in front of the crackling fireplace in the main parlor of the Egerton House Hotel:

IMG_9572

Scones, cucumber and smoked fish sandwiches – thank you, John Montagu!

IMG_9579

The gingerbread men were my favorites:

IMG_9578

IMG_9574

The scones and clotted cream were also scrumptious:

IMG_9581

 

Version 2

There was an enormous amount of food and we couldn’t finish it all – so we asked the wonderful staff of the Egerton House to join us in our celebration.  All bellies were full and happy.

But the fun wasn’t yet over.  Our poppers not only contained a burst of ribbons but also a gift for each of us.  While they aren’t the Crown Jewels, these are still a treasured memento:

IMG_9618

 

We so enjoyed our short London jaunt and stay at the Egerton House that we are considering making this an annual tradition.  If we do, I am going to try to get my friends to join me in dressing the part, as these ladies did back when:

gettyimages-463919997_custom-bc039e594e32bdfa09e362f5e89a9649b5fd225e-s800-c85

Afternoon Tea, Kate Greenaway, 1886

#

 

 

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s