Tag Archives: cream tea

Tearoom Tour – Number 1 – Thoresby Park

I’ve been meaning to start a Tearoom Tour of Britain, with a target of 100 in the year. Julia has indicated disbelief in my ability to do this (citing logistical difficulties rather than my lack of capacity for cream teas).

Rather than put a number to it, I’m going to start and see where we end up.

Today we went to Thoresby in Sherwood Forest. It’s not the best of the grand houses in the forest but it’s free and the service is a lot better in the cafe than the off-hand, rude, inefficient and useless service encountered at Clumber. Clumber is a better attraction in general, though expensive if you aren’t a member of the National Trust. But the cafe at Thoresby is a lot better. You may have formed that idea after reading my comments on the disgracefully bad, lamentable, terrible, rotten service at the Clumber cafe.

That’s why we won’t be rejoining the National Trust this year. We aren’t saying we won’t rejoin in the future, but for the next year or two their surly waiting staff will have cost them money.

Anyway, back to Thoresby. We didn’t have much time so we had a quick snack – I had the cream tea, Julia had the toasted teacake and we both had plenty of tea. Very palatable, served efficiently by pleasant staff and in nice bright surroundings, There was no time to look round the courtyard, which is partially closed for the winter, but we have done before, and it is worth a visit.

The downside – the scones seem a bit regular and industrial, rather than home made, but they were still good.

I’m happy to recommend Thoresby to anyone. £8.90, in case you are interested.

To be fair, I’m happy to recommend Clumber to anyone who wants grudging, slow, inefficient service in a dingy room, but it’s a niche market. It’s also slightly more expensive, as I recall, but you do get a free snarl and a long wait thrown in as extras.

 

 

Southwold Pier (Part 1)

In which our heroic duo actually manage to visit a pier, see a very rude woman, eat a cream tea and have a jolly good time. Despite a sunburned head.

Built in 1900, Southwold Pier was originally 270 yards long. During the years of its existence it has, due to several storms and a drifting sea mine, varied from 20 yards to its current 208 yards. Compared to some other piers this is considered a relatively trouble-free history.

It is, to be honest, 208 yards of excellence. It starts well, and is good right to the end. When you get to the end it is also good when you view it in the reverse direction.

One striking aspect of the pier, apart from the signs to tell you where you are, is the bright, clean appearance of the place. The plaques are also a very noticeable feature – they commemorate all sorts of things, and the prices start at £195. It’s not cheap, but it would make a very unusual present. I mentioned this to Julia, but she seems unimpressed by the idea.

This is a selection of plaques – I’ve deliberately chosen some that are related to piers and the pier construction. There are others, including, those to public figures from the town, school pupils, teachers, the town crier and many happy holidaymakers. It adds up to the idea of the pier as a community facility, and makes it a happy place to be.

I’m sorry about all this unseemly positivity, but it’s that sort of place.

The first stop was in the cafe for a cream tea. It wasn’t planned, but we fancied a cup of tea and the rest of it just happened. It was clean and bright with excellent scones but appalling company.

There were three generations behind me, a baby, a mother and a grandmother. It started off slowly with a discussion on breastfeeding and weaning. The baby, to be fair, didn’t contribute much to the discussion.

The mother didn’t get much chance to contribute either.

However, the grandmother made up for this. The woman could talk. She didn’t however, always talk sense, and she kept stressing that she would be willing to donate some of her “organic cooking apples” for the child’s food. I think that’s what we mere mortals call “cooking apples”. We don’t use chemicals so our fruit is organic, we just don’t refer to it as “organic”. I can’t help feeling you should have it certified by the Soil Association before you start calling your fruit “organic”.

That just makes her irritating. What made her appalling was the hand gesture.

A young waiter approached them and asked if he could take their order. The grandmother dismissed him brusquely, telling him they had ordered outside but moved inside out of the wind.  That was bad enough, but as she did it, I saw Julia stiffen.

She told me afterwards that the grandmother had made a dismissive flicking hand gesture to send the young man on his way.

I suppose it’s appropriate that a fine old pier in a traditional old resort should be the last bastion of epic rudeness and disdain for the lower classes.

I hope she gets earwigs in her organic cooking apples.

 

The Cream Tea Diaries

We had an excellent cream tea at Clumber Park on Monday – our second visit of the year. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

 

There are many things I could say about the National Trust, and they wouldn’t all be compliments, but they do know how to put on a good cream tea. At Clumber they may have staffing issues, as we’ve found on both visits, but the teas, when you eventually get them, are excellent.

To be fair, if you take scones, jam and cream it should be hard to get it wrong. On both visits the food has been excellent but the service has stuttered a bit.

 

There is actually a Cream Tea event coming up –

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More Cream teas at Clumber

A Booming Bittern, a Glossy Ibis and a Cream Tea

We went to Old Moor today, an RSPB reserve about fifty miles from home. We went there last year and took so many photographs it took not one, but two posts to publish them all.

Today wasn’t quite so prolific in the photography line.

The day started early when I nipped down to the laundrette to do the washing I’ve been avoiding for the last two weeks, then we had bacon sandwiches and set off.

The lady who checked our cards told us that one of the paths was blocked off to protect the nesting Bitterns. That was the path we had wanted to check out as we hadn’t done it last time. However, as compensation she did tell us there was a Glossy Ibis on the wader scrape.

On the way round we heard the Bittern booming, which is how it always seems to be. I’ve heard Bitterns booming many times, but never actually seen one. They are very good at remaining hidden.

This is symbolic of my life.

However, I did see the Ibis. We walked into the hide, looked out and immediately saw a dark bird prodding at a mud bank. After about twenty minutes it annoyed a nesting Coot, which chased it off. It then lurked in a reed bed. According to one of the other watchers it had spent most of the morning lurking in the reeds and had only showed itself for about half an hour so we were very lucky.

On a dull day a Glossy Ibis is not an impressive bird, looking a bit like a dark curlew. On the other hand it’s better to see a dull Ibis than no Ibis at all.

You can probably guess how we finished the visit by studying the title.

There will be photographs later…

And a description of two prize-winning Senior Moments…

 

Waiting for the Rainbow

It rained this afternoon, as you can tell from the top picture. That yellow blur in the middle of the picture is Julia’s jumper as she traverses the car park at TESCO.

However, as both Dolly Parton and G K Chesterton tell us: Without the rain, there would be no rainbow.

There was no rainbow today, which would have rounded off things nicely, but we did have a cream tea, so it was worth getting wet.

That was my part of the mission – whilst Julia shopped I waited until the rain slackened off, bought lottery tickets and selected two cream teas. Then I waited in the cafe… and waited…

It’s difficult to judge the best time to buy a cream tea when you’re waiting for someone who is shopping. It’s made more difficult when they have a habit of haphazard browsing. And, let’s face it, when you’re looking at a cream tea and salivating it can be a testing twenty minutes.

Eventually Julia’s random retail activities ended and we were able to start the cream tea. The scones weren’t too bad, the company was good (well, I thought it was, Julia may have another view) and despite a nagging feeling of guilt about the calorie intake, I enjoyed getting out.

I suppose it’s possible for a rainbow to be metaphorical.

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Eventually the rain eased up.

Whilst checking for rainbow quotes I found this quote from G K Chesterton.This one isn’t about rainbows, it’s about grandmothers, but it is quite interesting.

The word ‘good’ has many meanings. For example, if a man were to shoot his grandmother at a range of five hundred yards, I should call him a good shot, but not necessarily a good man.