Tuesday, 4 July 2017

A Very English Pastime

I’m not sure pastime adequately describes our obsession with tea. Terry and I always wake up to a ‘nice cup of tea’ and drink several more throughout the day. On holiday, we like nothing better than afternoon tea with all the trimmings. What could be nicer than a plate full of traditional finger sandwiches, freshly baked scones with jam and cream and a selection of handmade cakes? It might not be good for the waistline, but it’s certainly satisfying. 

We are quite partial to the odd glass of wine too, but more of that later!

The Tea Terrace, Guildford;

How could I say no to an Eton Mess?  

“All true tea lovers not only like their tea strong, but 
like it a little stronger with each year that passes.” George Orwell


“You can never get a cup of tea large enough 
or a book long enough to suit me.” C. S. Lewis


“Tea is the elixir of life.” Lao Tzu, Ancient Chinese Philosopher 

The Terrace Pavilion, House of Commons, London;

This tea came at the end of a fascinating visit to The Houses of Parliament. We booked our tour before there was any talk of a General Election, and we were initially disappointed thinking we would miss out on all the hustle and bustle that usually goes on. As it turned out it was probably the perfect time to go because we got to peek into bits not normally open to the public. 


This spread might look small, but I can promise you it was delicious and more than adequate. Terry managed to eat everything, but I left half of the scone and most of the Millionaires Shot because I was too full to finish it. I wanted to ask for a 'doggy bag', but I don’t think they would have let me leave with a shot glass full of chocolate!


We took tea under the green and white striped awning, and then it was out onto the terrace for a glass of wine.  


The views along the River Thames are quite spectacular. 




With the thought of terror attacks on everyone’s mind, armed police are never far away.


Here river police give us a cheerful wave as they patrol the river. We felt very safe, which makes it even harder to comprehend the attack on London Bridge just two days later.


Taking a quick snooze just as many British politicians do.



The decision as to who would win the election was still seven days away making this the most popular seat in the house with people queuing to have their photo taken.  



I’m not sure why Big Ben looks drunk maybe it has something to do with the wine we enjoyed on the terrace!


After a very enjoyable day in London, we returned to our hotel in Horsham and later found a lovely Sicilian restaurant where we enjoyed a delicious meal and another glass of wine. 

Are you a tea drinker? Or perhaps you prefer a nice glass of wine?

68 comments:

  1. Tea......
    I love to drink tea.
    It's just so good for me.
    But if I drink too much tea,
    It makes me really have to pee.
    But there is no place I'd rather be;
    Even though I have to pee,
    I will sit right here and drink my tea,
    As it's very good for me--
    Just me and my cup of tea.....!

    HaHa! Bless! ooooO! A post about food...Just up my
    sweet trolley..! :). I'm not so much a 'sweet' person,
    l'm more a savoury person, though l will eat cakes etc..
    if baked, made, or given me..! One thing this Sicilian,
    has taken to is tea..especially cream teas..!
    My first tea of the day, around 6:30 is a Green tea,
    with lemon and honey..during the rest of the day it's
    Earl Gray, with lemon...I drink coffee when out, in
    Costa, their coffee is very good...well, it's Italian!
    So..yes! I am a tea drinker, and a wine drinker...Hic!
    Though l'll leave the wine...I've won a lot of money,
    over the years, drinking people under the table, no
    one, but no one has ever beat me at drinking wine. I
    have photos of me in my high chair, with a bottle of
    wine at my lips! :). But, that's another story!

    I've said before...Cities do nothing for me...That
    includes London...And, what have we come to, seeing
    those two coppers, armed to the teeth! No! Sorry!
    Not in my book..you can keep it! I'll enjoy my tea
    and wine out in the West Country...Dorset, Devon or
    Somerset! Green grass, trees, and fresh air...! :).

    And the Sicilian Restaurant...Lovely...Well, we've
    discussed the Carmela before have'nt we Barbara...! :).

    And...the making of tea.....This is interesting...
    https://www.itoen.com/all-things-tea/preparing-tea

    Well..Don't know about anyone else...I'm off for a
    cuppa....!!! :0).


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    1. Ha ha Willie, How on earth do you drink and pee? No, please don’t answer that it would be far too much information!!
      Just to make you laugh the doc has just told me I need a caffeine-free month! No tea, no coffee, no chocolate and no alcohol either! I guess it serves me right for so much indulgence on holiday.
      I might have to try green tea with lemon and honey (assuming green tea is caffeine free?) I’m drinking nothing but water with a slice of lemon at the moment; it’s OK during the day but pretty miserable first thing in the morning.
      We really enjoyed visiting London, but it is always lovely to be back in dear old Somerset and we certainly feel much safer here.
      We have discussed the restaurant before Willie, what a shame you couldn't have enjoyed it with us.

      I’m off for a cup of water – enjoy your tea. Thanks for the link I will take a look now.

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    2. Well..Lemon and honey are very good for you...
      And, after a meal, especially your evening meal,
      you should eat half a lemon..It helps the digestion,
      cleans the teeth..and dare l say it...keeps yer
      bowls open...! HeHe! And, as for the honey, well,
      those little bees don't work their little backsides
      off for nothing! Bless their little furry bums..! :).

      So, the Doc told you to give up ALL those things....
      To hell with that...The only thing l'd give up....
      Is going to see him...! And, as for water, the only
      thing that's good for is washing in...one self and
      ones cloths..!
      And, people go out and buy water in bottles...Come
      on...Mine comes out the tap, in fact Dorset has the
      best tap water in the whole country...Well..it's wet
      at least..! Water in bottles...what a con...! :0).
      I'm off for another cuppa..! :0).

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    3. The doctor tells me it will make a new woman of me so Terry is all for it! I’ve managed just over a week so far, but I am going to try the honey and lemon. I’m not sure I could eat half a lemon (not unless it was covered in sugar).
      The Somerset water is pretty good too – but not as good as tea of course.

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    4. Definition of a new woman...send this to yer Doctor..
      and tell him to replace his 'white' stick...! :0).
      The New Woman was a feminist ideal that emerged in the late nineteenth century and had a profound influence on feminism well into the twentieth century. The term "New Woman" was coined by writer Sarah Grand in her article "The New Aspect of the Woman Question," published in the North American Review in March 1894.

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    5. My doctor is a her not a him and I'm pretty sure she dosen't need a white stick but I will pass your message on. :)

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  2. I am very envious reading this, I so miss my home town of London. What a wonderful time you had there, and all that lovely food and tea and wine - I would have preferred coffee, I'm afraid I never really liked tea! Thanks for an enjoyable post, hugs, Valerie

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    1. Hello Valerie, I didn’t realise you came from London. I hope the photos didn’t make you too sad. I’m not a big coffee drinker, but I do love a nice cup of tea and afternoon tea is always special. Thanks for coming over.

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  3. I am very fond of both. I drink a LOT more tea than wine though - which is probably just as well.
    Loved your shots of London too. And am very glad you weren't there three days later.

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    1. I drink a lot more tea too, but a nice glass of wine on holiday is always a treat. We walked across Westminster Bridge and read all the tributes left there after the last attack never dreaming there would be another. We were shocked and saddened when we saw the news.

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  4. Looks like you had a lovely time. and the Afternoon Tea looks great.

    I had afternoon tea when it was my friend's birthday the other day.

    Julie xxxxxxxxxx

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    1. It was wonderful Julie and the sunshine really helped. xxx

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  5. It's terrifying to think of the attacks. I know how strange it feels to be in a place and a couple of days later to hear about an attack. This happened to me too, I was in Manchester on the Saturday and Sunday before the attack at the concert on Monday.

    Before moving to UK I had no idea what cream tea and afternoon tea were. Now I can't imagine my life without them. I still drink my coffee, but now I drink regularly tea too, almost daily.

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    1. Hello Anca, it is awful to think about it, but I guess we were the lucky ones. I just feel so sorry for anyone who gets caught up in these things and for their families.
      Afternoon tea is always a special treat and one we take full advantage of on holiday. :)

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  6. Oh Barbara, do you know that as I opened your blog, I started my cup of TEA! I am at this very moment, enjoying my cuppa with you and Terry!

    It's always a joy to see a blogger friend's face, and to see you is a delight. You and Terry both are beautiful fit, and happy! Ruben and I must have our tea daily; he eats the trimmings while I do watch my small waistline and enjoy a dollop of milk with my tea, but that's about it. Tea however, is a soothing elixir and the time it takes to enjoy it is time we give back to ourselves. We relax and rethink ideas.

    I would love to go to London one day, but we are seriously considering going into the countryside. We have finished watching the Netflix series, "Escape to the Country" and are now watching, "Grand Design." WOW. What a fabulous place the UK is!

    Wishing you a magical rest of the summer dearest Barbara!

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    1. How lovely Anita, I do wish I had known so that I could offer you a piece of home-made fruit cake!

      Our daughter in law in Australia never misses “Escape to the Country” and when they were last here they went looking for some of the houses and places. There are some beautiful towns and villages, and I know you would love them, but then you live in a beautiful part of the world too. Happy summer dear friend.

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  7. What a wonderful day you and Terry had in London! The visit to Parliament is always exciting and your tea there looks delicious. Tea is one of the traditions I still enjoy everyday, thanks to my dad. You and Terry certainly know how to enjoy life. (So glad nothing happened while you were there.)

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    1. Hello Alex, it really was a wonderful day. We’ve often stood outside the Houses of Parliament but to be inside was something else (and probably the safest place at the moment). We would really recommend the trip to anyone who has not been.

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  8. TEA!!! I would die If I had to give up tea and chocolate for a month!!!! Oh, those lovely afternoon teas.... I hope you and Terry will let me pin some of the photos on to my Celebrating Britain board. You and Terry look as if your waistlines are slim enough to enjoy those lovely teas. I confess I have given up bread and biscuits and cakes- but never tea or plain chocolate.... Beautiful, delicious, blog Barbara! I LOVE the photos of you enjoying your Eton mess. I have so many fond memories of Guildford. Did you look for/find any books?

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    1. Hello Colleen, it’s really not easy going without either but chocolate is the hardest! Still the month will go quickly, and it is such a little thing compared to what some people have to go through.
      I would love you to pin some of the photographs, please go ahead.
      I did buy a few books, but they are all new ones from National Trust shops and places like that. I do believe it is the first time I’ve not visited a charity shop on holiday – poor Terry is so fed up with them I thought I should give them a miss, but it was hard. I’m off to Salisbury tomorrow so I’m sure I will make up for it. :)

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  9. Oh what a wonderful adventure. I've only been to one Tea and I enjoyed it immensely. Your pictures make me long to visit England.

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    1. Dear Sandra, you must and when you do please come and say hello!

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  10. Hi Barbara,

    How mostly quintessential with a reminder of the more sobering situations we're now contending with.

    Oh how I yearn to wander down The King's Road in Chelsea and visit the house that I was born in.

    Wonderful photos and thoughtful captions. Now for some toad-in-the-hole, some bangers and mash, a bit of Eton Mess and maybe, just maybe some spotted dick.

    Time, in my case for a cup of coffee.

    Cheers,

    Gary

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    1. Hi Gary,

      I do hope you get a chance to wander down that road again but be prepared for lots of changes if you do. I went back to see my childhood home last year only it’s no longer there. It was a sad moment, but I’m glad I went as it still felt like home even though ‘home’ had gone.

      Eaton Mess and Spotted Dick would be my idea of heaven, and I wouldn’t mind some sausages either!

      Thanks for coming over. Barbara

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  11. It looks like a fantastic time, Barbara! I love tea and I thoroughly enjoyed your post and lovely photos!

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    1. Thanks so much Linda, it was a really nice week and we were sad when it was over. Never mind, our next holiday will be to see the family in Australia so something lovely to look forward to.

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  12. This could kick off a series of blogs on tea in children's books, starting with The Mad Hatter's Tea Party and The Tiger who came to Tea!

    The Germans have many varieties of tea, and in fact we have a tea shop in our not-very-big-town (selling loose tea rather than serving it): BUT they drink their black tea without milk and for this reason it's quite weak in flavour, so I always stock up on PG Tips or similar when I'm over in Blighty.

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    1. What a good idea Sue! I can only think of two at the moment (Bee Makes Tea by Lesley Sims and Tea with Grandpa by Barney Saltzberg) but there must be loads more.

      We take tea to Australia whenever we visit! Our daughter in laws parents love Yorkshire tea because that is where they were originally from, but our son and daughter in law ask for PG Tips. Other requests include Monster Munch (corn snacks) and Cadbury's chocolate, which is not always practical considering the temperature when we arrive!

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  13. Aww, you guys look so happy. I loved seeing your trip to London, so thank you for sharing all your gorgeous photographs. The quotes are perfect and I will be stealing them for future Instagram posts ;) As for me... I don't drink alcohol, but I am a tea drinker and I like it strong xx

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    1. Hi Yvonne, I will look out for the quotes on your instagram posts. I pinched them from the place mats at The Tea Terrace. :)

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  14. Tea Time is such a civilized tradition. I have a good friend who has lived in the U.S. since childhood, but was born in GB. She still sets aside time for afternoon tea, and since we are together a lot, I'm now doing the same. Loved your London excursion photos.

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    1. Afternoon tea is the best! It’s a shame the doctor has banned from drinking it for a month (how ironic) but the time will soon pass, and I hope to be back to full ‘tea drinking mode’ before too long.

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  15. Now that's where to dine! Not into tea but wine afterwards would've been great.

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    1. It was a great experience Alex and well worth going if you get the chance. You can always skip the tea. :)

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  16. As I host a weekly tea type party on my blog, I thoroughly enjoyed your tea post. My grandmother was pure British (I was raised from birth by my grandparents), and although she drank coffee most of the day, she set time aside each afternoon for a cup of tea and a small snack. Although I loved the camaraderie we shared over the ritual, I was never a big fan of tea.

    So this post brought back fond memories of afternoon tea, and the finger sandwiches, scones, and desserts. I also enjoyed your photos of London, because it's on my list of places I hope to see one day. Big Ben did look a bit loopy, but the police looked very friendly.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, because I have really enjoyed reading yours and seeing your wonderful photos.

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    1. I’ve read and enjoyed several of your ‘tea party’ posts, but I must visit again and read some more. I don’t particularly like coffee because I have strong memories of the kind that used to come in glass bottles. It was always bitter and unpleasant and rather put me off for life. If someone offers me a cup, I will drink it because I was raised to be polite, but it’s not my drink of choice.

      I love your description of Big Ben – the whole photo looks a bit loopy, but I can’t work out why. I'm sure my hubby who is a keen photographer can explain it, but I keep forgetting to ask him. I expect it has something to do with the camera lens or something.

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  17. Oh, such a wonderful post! Love what you did with the soft pretty pictures of you eating that delicious Eton Mess. All of your photographs came out great. Although a nice picture, it's sad to see the police with their huge weapons. I've always thought of England as such a peaceful place. It's good they are there to protect your beautiful country though. As for drinks, I drink decaffeinated green tea and can honestly say I've never had a cup of coffee. I sometimes like the smell of it roasting but the taste never drew me in. Two lovely tea adventures come to mind from our long ago trip to England (about 8 years now). We had a small taste of tea time at the Orangery at Kensington Palace and also at the Maids of Honour near Kew Gardens. Thanks for another fun post, love the Tea Terrace quotes, too!

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    1. Hello Marcia, I always look better in soft focus. All the film stars do it so why not me? :-)
      It was quite a thing to see so many guns and not something we are used to, but sadly it’s necessary in these troubled times.
      We’ve also had tea in the Orangery at Kensington Palace but never at Kew Gardens, I must add it to our list of places to try.

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  18. I didn´t start to drink tea until I met my British hubby over 40 years ago. I love a proper English tea and had a favorite tea shop in Vancouver called The Secret Garden. WE had a lovely tea at Betty´s in York earlier this year. What a great experience to have tea at the Parliament buildings! Your pictures are perfect. I love this English pastime.

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    1. Hello Darlene, The Secret Garden sounds lovely. I hope we get to try it one day. We visited York a few years ago, but Betty’s was full and people were lining up outside! We will go back and try again one day.

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  19. I want that light blue with roses, polka dotted tea pot!

    Have a great one, Barbara:)

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    1. So do I! Enjoy the rest of the week. x

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  20. Afternoon teas I love it. I fact I am having one now.đŸ˜€ Were you in Guildford? That is very close to us. If you ever come this way again do let me know. You will be very welcome to come and have tea with us.

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    1. Hello Shashi, we spent a day in Guildford on the way back from our holiday. I love it and really miss it now that we live in Somerset. We moved down here from Hampshire (I know Guildford is in Surrey, but we were close enough to visit almost every week) twenty years ago, there are lovely places in Somerset but Hampshire is really home.
      It would be lovely to meet you and if/when we get that way again I will let you know.
      Thank you for coming over to my blog, I appreciate it.

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  21. I've always wanted to visit London. Thanks for sharing!


    www.ficklemillennial.com

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    1. My pleasure Gina, thanks for visiting my blog. Barbara

      Delete
  22. Oops, my previous comment disappeared so I'll try again. Tea, absolutely! I'm glad my taste buds switched me from coffee to tea about 3 years ago. Don't know what I'd do without my teas and dark chocolates. Your Eton Mess looks so inviting, Barbara. Both you and Terry look great in the pictures. It fills me with joy seeing you two enjoying your vacation. (The attacks are horrid and please do be alert when you travel, my dear friend. Still, it's good to see people walking on the streets, taking pictures, enjoying every moment. This is also important. :) )

    Speaking of joy, I have a piece of news to share: my elder sister in KL gave birth to a healthy baby girl last month. I'm an aunt again and we're visiting them next week!

    Stay well, Barbara. Talk to you again soon. xoxo C.

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    1. I don’t know where the comments go Claudine but thank you for trying again.
      The Eton Mess was absolutely delicious (wish I could go back for another!) We really enjoyed our time away, but we were on our guard, especially in London, or to be truthful Terry was on guard. I tend to get carried away with things and forget to keep my wits about me.

      Lovely news about your sister, please pass on my congratulations to your family Aunt Claudine!

      Hugs to you sweet friend. xxx

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  23. What a lovely visit! That's one place I look forward to seeing for myself one day, but not to drink tea. Too many amazing historical sites to hit! I actually don't drink tea...or wine. Okay, that's not true--I will do an herbal tea with some honey when I'm really in the mood, but nothing with caffeine. *shrugs* Different refreshments for different folks, eh?

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    1. I’m sure you would enjoy it Crystal it is well worth a visit. I’ve sworn off caffeine for a while on the advice of my doctor, so I’m trying out all kinds of different drinks. I do miss my tea, but I’m trying out all kinds of alternatives. It probably serves me right for enjoying so many treats on holiday. :)

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  24. I used to hate tea - never drank it. A few years back my husband made a cup of hot tea and he had creamer and sugar in it. He made me take a sip and I liked it. Now I drink at least one cup of hot green tea a day with creamer in it - which is probably a no-no, but I like it that way.

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    1. Hello Janet, I’ve not tried green tea with creamer, but I may give it a go. I’m sure green tea is healthier than the kind I normally drink. I’m willing to try anything once, if I don’t like well no harm done.

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  25. Hello Barbara, that was really delightful reading about your day in London. I thought that tea time spread looked so delicious and, oh the Eton Mess - I've seen recipes for it and that too would be yummy.

    We both start our day with a cup of brewed espresso coffee and then we both like tea throughout the day.

    Both of you look very happy with your day out and thank you for the lovely post and photos. Cheers now :D)

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    1. Hello Sue, I’m really pleased you enjoyed reading about our trip to London. I’m always partial to a good Eton Mess, and that was certainly a good one.
      I wish I liked coffee because it always smells delicious, but I just don’t like the taste. I do drink it to be sociable but would much rather have a nice cup of tea.
      It was a lovely day, thank you for coming over and leaving a comment. Barbara

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  26. How lovely!

    Can you believe I don't like tea... or coffee for that matter. I just don't like the taste (and coffee makes me feel sick for days!). Then allergies mean I can't have Afternoon Tea anyway (unless it's a special free-from one!).

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  27. I really appreciate seeing photos of London as it is these days. Sad to see the police as part of the scenery and yet that's a bit of a relief, as well. It looks like a wonderful time -- and I love your tea photos. Eton Mess is a favorite of mine and to take tea in such a way would be quite divine!

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    1. Hello Jeanie, I too thought it was sad to see so many police around, but I was also glad they were there. It is a shame we are living through such troubled times, but we must all keep on keeping on.
      The Eaton Mess was truly scrumptious!

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  28. I was a tea drinker until I turned 30. Then I became a coffee drinker (I never liked it before then). I do still love and enjoy tea and I tend to drink a lot of it in the fall and winter- but in the spring and summer I mostly drink coffee. I had to laugh at the tea quote about stronger tea every year because I do drink stronger tea every year and even changed the way I drink it. Interesting!

    Your tea looks delightful. So glad you had so much fun and that you took so many photos. I feel like I got to see what it was all about. The wine on the terrace sounds fun too. Such gorgeous views!

    I am glad you felt safe, but so sad about the attack on the bridge only days later.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

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    1. One of my grandsons refused to try coffee when he was younger, but he got a taste for it in his twenties and now loves it.

      Terry is a keen photographer and takes hundreds of photographs wherever we go, and I sort of join in, although I don’t take anywhere near as many as he does.
      Thanks for looking at all the photos.

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  29. I love tea! I drink it everyday! Looks like you had a very special adventure! Truly enjoyed the pictures and I got hungry from all the goodies! LOL! Big Hugs!

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    1. Those goodies were good! Thanks for coming over.

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  30. Love afternoon tea, don't do it often enough. Trouble is if I have lunch not ready for afternoon tea till about 6pm and if I have afternoon tea between 3 and 4pm cannot eat my dinner! Lovely photos of your break. xxxx

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    1. I know what you mean sister, but it’s OK on holiday because we usually walk off afternoon tea before it’s time for our evening meal. Glad you enjoyed the photos. xxx

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  31. Oh my goodness Barbara This post is brilliant. Love all those photos. You and Terry seems to be enjoying life so much.
    You know I am a strong black tea lover... and one of the things I miss from the UK is to have afternoon tea in a lovely hotel

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comment. We have friends who are going through a tough time at the moment, and it’s made us determined to enjoy life as much as we can.
      I wish you could have shared afternoon tea with us – there was more than enough to go around.

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  32. Definitely tea over wine for me. I wish afternoon tea was common here in the US (you can find it in certain hotels or inns, but not really outside of that). Maybe I could take it up on my own. Make myself tea, finger sandwiches, and some of the other traditional foods once a month or so... it's worth thinking about and possibly acting on :) Lovely post, and I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to London.

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    1. Maybe you could invite a couple of friends over for afternoon tea and with any luck they might invite you back. It’s a nice thing to do and much easier than hosting a dinner party. :)

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I really appreciate your comment. Thank you!
Barbara xx

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