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!

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