Sunday, March 16, 2008

Have Tea At The Ritz In London

When I was five, I wrote to Jim'll Fix It, to see if I could become a Charlie's Angel for a day. The Charlie's Angel thing never happened and I never got the Jim'll Fix It badge, but when I used to watch the show, having tea at the Ritz was the type of 'fix it' that Jim would happily do for someone and I'm pretty positive that's possibly where I got the idea from, that I wanted to do this.

The Ritz hotel has been open for 100 years and having afternoon tea is an institution in itself. This made me very nervous, in the taxi ride to the hotel. For a working class girl from Notts, there is always a thought deep inside that perhaps you are not good enough for a particular surrounding and I was dreading walking in and feeling immediately out of place. I could almost see all the old women, with their glasses perched on the edge of their noses, looking at you, as you walked past.

From the outside, the hotel looks very much like any other in London, but once inside the grandeur and splendour is apparent for all to see. You feel very much like you've stepped back into the 1920's and you can imagine the gentry that would have dined there, as you walk through to the Palm Court. There were no old women judging you as you went past, just normal people, coming to The Ritz as I was, as a special treat.

As we were shown to our table, the china cups and plates were waiting for us to dine. We requested our specific brand of tea (there are over 12 to choose from) and it was brought to us in silver pots and poured through the tea strainer into the china cup. We were then served sandwiches and cakes. Being a vegetarian, there was a limited amount that I could eat. The sandwiches and cakes were nice, but nothing special. The scones were then served and they were definitely worth waiting for! Freshly baked, they were still warm from the oven and as I spread the jam and clotted cream upon them and took my first bite, they melted in my mouth!

As we refused seconds (the waiters will quite happily bring you more selections of anything you required), we took the time to savour the ambiance and have a general people watch. There were the typical foreign tourists, the birthday parties and the courting couple, who could have really done with getting a room, but perhaps couldn't afford one at the prices, The Ritz charge.

All too soon it was over. We paid the bill (a whopping £74!) and said our goodbyes. The door was opened, as if by magic by the two doormen and we braved the chilly, London night, to go back to our hotel.

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