Monday, June 30, 2008

Special Day

Three years ago, this little angel joined our family permanently. He has brought so much joy to our lives. Today is a special day of celebration for our youngest grandchild and his parents. Happy Family Day Melissa, Tim and Peyton!!!

Vintage Teapot

I received this teapot a couple of years ago as a gift from a special group of ladies as a thank you for having them to afternoon tea. It is a vintage James Kent Old Foley Staffordshire, made in England. I really like the square bottom, shape of the teapot, handle and spout. It is a nice addition to my teapot collection!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Afternoon Tea at the Fairmont Empress Hotel

A few years ago, we had the pleasure of having afternoon tea at The Fairmont Empress Hotel in Victoria, British Columbia. The Fairmont Empress is one of the "grand" hotels that serves afternoon tea. Their afternoon tea is featured in Bruce Richardson's book, The Great Tea Rooms of America.
My friend, Karla, and her daughter had tea at the Empress a few weeks ago. Karla brought me a package of 10 two-cup tea bags of their signature "Tea at The Empress" blend. The ingredients are listed as: "Top seasonal quality tea from Kenya, South India, Assam, Sri Lanka and China."
Thank you Karla, for thinking of me with this special gift of tea. It brought back many memories of our visit to Victoria and our lovely tea experience in the famous Tea Lobby at the Empress.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Tea and Etiquette Books

Due to luggage space and weight restrictions, I limited my book shopping in England and Scotland to guidebooks at the various castles and palaces we visited, the teatime recipe books in the top photo and The National Trust Book in the bottom photo, Her Ladyship's Guide to Modern Manners. Both teatime and etiquette are fascinating to me and these little books fit nicely in my carry-on bag!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My New Duchess China Teapot

I purchased this 4-cup Duchess China teapot with matching creamer and open sugar bowl at a china shop in Stratford-upon-Avon. I was looking for something with pink. I like the delicate pink floral pattern with a touch of green and blue. It is called "June Bouquet", very appropriate I thought, since I purchased it in June!
I had a couple of interesting discussions with shopkeepers at 2 different English china shops. According to them, there is very little china being made in England. Both gentlemen carry only English -made China and question how much longer they will be in business this way.
According to the local newspaper, prior to our visit Royal Worcester announced their entire operation was moving off-shore. They plan to keep a retail shop open in Worcester. One evening on the BBC news, there was mention of china being made off-shore and labeled as if it were made in Staffordshire. Warehouses had been raided and the china had been confiscated.
I must admit, this makes vintage English made teapots and teacup and saucer trio sets more appealing to me!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Paragon Teacup and Saucer Trio

No trip to England could be complete for me without a new teacup and saucer trio set. I found this Paragon (fine bone china made in England) set in the cellar of an antique shop in Chipping Campden. It certainly is not the most expensive one in my collection, but I just loved the pattern and colors. My only regret is that I didn't purchase it the first day of our week there because there were matching 2 sets. When I went back our last day, one of the sets had been sold. Oh well! Lesson learned -- when you find something you like, you'd better buy it while it is available! (The wise words of GJ, my hubby of nearly 38 years, when I whined about the sold set!)

Monday, June 23, 2008

Entertaining an American B-O-Y on a 3-week Trip to Britain

For those of you who thought he was without his "electronics," I admit it! He took his early birthday gift, a new PSP with him and played it all across England, Scotland and Wales. He looks quite comfy here in our London hotel room, doesn't he?

I Have Been Tagged!

I was tagged by my blogging daughter, Peyton's Mamasita.

The rules of the game: Each player answers the questions themselves. At the end of the post the player tags 4 people and posts their names, and goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment letting them know that they've been tagged asking them to read your blog. Let the person who tagged you know when you've posted your answers.

Ten years ago... I was a Longaberger® Consultant and caregiver for my Aunt Mary. I traveled to Israel and Jordan with GJ on the Berea College alumni tour and was planning the #1
daughter's wedding on August 1st Happy 10th Anniversary Melissa and Tim!

Five things on today's to do list... Go to Post Office and bank. Take AJ to "Camera for Kids" and shopping at Wal-Mart.

Snacks I enjoy... Popcorn, nachos and cheese, sweet potato chips and Edy's Lemonade Fruit Bars. Plain Scones with Clotted Cream and Lemon Curd or Strawberry Jam and a pot of Tea (if that can count as a snack)

Things I would do if I was a a huge house in a fabulous location, have it fully staffed and never do housework or laundry or cook meals again unless I really wanted to!

Places I have lived... Cincinnati, OH and Kentucky

I'm tagging TEA pals:
Rosemary's Sampler - Nancy
Uniquely Tea - Denise
Gracious Hospitality - LaDonna
Steph's Cup of Tea - Stephanie

Hope you enjoy participating ladies!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sticky Toffee Pudding

Nancy at Rosemary's Sampler asked me if I ate a Sticky Toffee Pudding for her at The Crooked House of Windsor. She enjoyed a delicious-looking serving of it when we were there last year. I didn't try it there, Nancy, but GJ and I shared a serving of Sticky Toffee Pudding on two occasions. The top photo was taken at the Inchnacarcoch Lodge Hotel on Loch Ness near Ft. Augustus, Scotland. It was served with vanilla ice cream. The bottom photo was taken at The Old Thatch Inn at Cheriton Bishop in Devon and was served with honeycomb ice cream. I admit there was barely a crumb of either left when we finished!
Note: I did a search for Sticky Toffee Pudding recipes and there are several easy ones on the Internet.

Iced Tea

As my friends know, I enjoy many cups of (hot) tea every day. But, what I missed most while in Great Britain for 3 weeks was iced tea (aka "ice tea" here in the southern USA). The photo above was taken at our local Cracker Barrel Restaurant today. Come to think about it, Cracker Barrel's food might have been the second most missed thing for all of us! (We eat out too often and admit it!) AJ's most missed item was McDonald's cheeseburgers and he couldn't wait to eat "American bacon" upon return. GJ scarfed down a couple of McDonald's cheeseburgers on the drive home from the airport, so I believe it is safe to assume he missed them, too.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Our Favorite Tearoom in England

We discovered The Old Bakehouse Tearoom near Stanway in May, 2002 when we drove by this former estate house on the side of the road (B4077). There was a sign out advertising the tearoom was open. We turned into the drive and enjoyed a Cotswold Cream Tea. We chatted with the owner, Sally Kirkland, who operated a B&B and part-time tearoom and was the postmistress for Stanway all from her home. AJ was 3 years old at the time.
We returned in September, 2003 when he was 4 years old. She recognized us immediately! GJ claims that Sally makes the best scones in the world! We had tea with her on 2 different afternoons during that 2-week trip.
After a 5 year absence, we returned to the Cotswolds this month. One "must" on the list of things to do and see was to visit The Old Bakehouse Tearoom. Prior to our trip, I read where the Postal Service in Great Britain is closing 2500 small post offices including Stanway. We wondered if Sally would still be there. We drove by a couple of different days and noticed the B&B sign was gone and the tearoom was not open. I knew on our previous visits she opened only a few days a week. We found her open on Thursday, June 5.
Sally again immediately recognized us and remarked it had been several years since she last saw us. We chatted about the closure of her B&B and the little post office and our concern the tearoom might not be there. She plans to continue serving tea on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays and work part time in a larger post office. As you can see in the photos, we thoroughly enjoyed her cream tea and homemade cakes. AJ and GJ had her carrot cake and I had a slice of her Bakewell Tart. We so enjoyed our tea and our visit with Sally! It is amazing she remembered us after all these years! Her genuine hospitality and warm welcome made our visit to The Old Bakehouse Tearoom even more special!
Note - To my afternoon tea friends who are reading this and carefully examining the tea photos:
As you can see, Sally serves whipped cream with her scones. She told me you can only get "real" clotted cream in Cornwall (as you can see from my photo in the right column of a Cornish Cream Tea). We also discussed scone recipes and Sally gave me her recipe. I plan to try it soon and convert it to American measurements, if possible. But, no matter how I make them, I have a feeling GJ and AJ will still claim her scones are the best!! A good friend once told me "it is hard to compete with a memory!"

The "Driver" and the "Navigator"

The "Driver", GJ and his assistant, AJ, safely maneuvered us down very narrow one-lane roads, into teeny parking places and on several M highways during our 3 weeks of travel in England, Scotland and Wales. We only took off on the "right" side of the road a few times.
The "Navigator and Tour Planner", Linda, and her assistant, AJ, made all the overnight reservations. scheduled all the attractions and tea rooms to visit and planned all the tricky routes and only had us on the wrong road a few times.
It was a fabulous trip with many special memories!

Last Night in Britain was at the Rosemead Guest House in Horley

We stayed the last night at Rosemead Guest House, a B&B in Horley, located about 5 minutes from London Gatwick. Unfortunatly, we had to leave too early to have Fiona's breakfast so we had our last full English breakfast at Garfunkel's at the airport. We breathed a sigh of relief when we checked in at Delta Airlines with only our trusty folding duffle bag as one more piece of luggage than what we started with, and none were over the weight limit!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Visiting Windsor Castle

Windsor Castle might be the most expensive castle in Great Britain to visit, but I highly recommend visiting it! If you are traveling in England and don't want to deal with the hassle of the traffic and parking, take a bus tour or a train. The train station is very conveniently located within a couple of blocks of the castle. It is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. The art collection, antiques and historical artifacts are magnificent!

The Crooked House of Windsor

Continuing our journey toward London Gatwick on June 10, we stopped in Windsor, one of my favorite places in England to visit. I took AJ and GJ to The Crooked House of Windsor for lunch and our last cream tea of this trip. GJ and AJ were impressed by the little crooked building located next door to the Windsor Guild Hall on High Street where Prince Charles and Camilla were married a few years ago. While we enjoyed lunch, I reminisced about my last visit to The Crooked House with Nancy, Phyllis, Lori and Sandy while participating with the Tea in London Tour in March, 2007.

Visiting Stonehenge

A trip to England would not be complete without a visit to Stonehenge, the #1 tourist attraction in the country! We stopped on our our last full day in England as we drove from Devon toward the London Gatwick area.

Pengenna Pasties and Scones with Cornish Clotted Cream

Everyone told me to wait until I got to Cornwall to eat a real Cornish pasty. And since the Cornish Clotted Cream is legendary, I was geared up for that, too!
We found Pengenna Pasties and Tea Room in Tintagel. Pengenna is well-known in Cornwall for their home-made pasties and their scones using "original family recipes." A pasty is described as a "hearty meal wrapped in a delicious pastry." I ordered the Traditional Pasty (beef, potato, swede and onion.) It was too hearty for me, so I only ate about half of it. Next came an order of their famous scones and "real" Cornish Clotted Cream. Yum! After our walk to the castle ruins, we picked up a few pastries and scones to go at the Pengenna Bakery and to take back to the B&B for a light picnic supper later that evening.
Note: My fellow tea-loving, scone-making Blog friends can just imagine how much I enjoyed stepping into the bakery to watch this scone-making process!! Woo-Hoo!

The North Coast of Cornwall

We didn't have as much time to spend in Cornwall as we would have liked. I wanted to see the coast so we drove across the Bodmin Moor to Bodmin and turned toward the picturesque north coastal villages of Tintagel, Bocastle and the town of Bude on the Atlantic Ocean.
The ruins of the legendary King Arthur's castle and a cave, rumoured to be that of Merlin the magician, are located a short walk from the center of Tintagel. I won't debate the King Arthur legend, but I will say the views of the coast around the castle ruins were spectacular!

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