It’s hard to tell sometimes what came first — the chicken or the egg. In this case, it has to do with teatime. Did I get addicted to that British style teatime before or after enjoying one at Betty’s Café Tea Room in York, UK? There’s no real way to tell. I can say that there was absolutely no way I was going to travel to York (via Heathrow) from Frankfurt, Germany without visiting a true British tearoom and having a true British style tea time!
The whole experience happened in the early 90s — a time of excitement yet tumult in my life. The excitement came from having the opportunity to experience life in another country. The tumult came from experiencing life in another country — ba dum bum! Seriously, it was quite a joy to live in Germany and do my best to speak with Germans in their own language (further complicated by the odd dialect spoken where I lived), but I did miss some things like not having the person look at me oddly when I asked where the public facilities were. I used the phrase taught to me in German class, but something got lost in translation, I guess. The opportunity to travel to a country that spoke English (well, sort of) again was a great relief. I was part of a group competing in a singing event.
Not being one of the actual competitors, I had time on my hands in York for a bit of browsing and walking about. Sooner or later such activities generally lead to a state of being known as “tired, hungry, and thirsty.” The site of a Betty’s Café Tea Room was like an oasis in the desert (yeah, I know, a tired analogy, but so true here). It was a time of day when they weren’t too crowded, so I got a table right away. It was by a window and gave me a chance to be an observer to those who were passing by just as I had passed by shops and cafés earlier.
The waitress brought my order, and it was like the gates of Tea Heaven had opened up right there on the table. On that pristine white tablecloth she set a gleaming stainless steel teapot with fragrant tea steam emerging from its spout, a tiered plate full of scones and tiny sandwiches and fruit tarts plus little bowls of jam and clotted cream, and a plate and cup and saucer in a delicate pattern, and of course a knife and teaspoon. Time to dig in!
[…sounds of chomping and slurping…]
Ah! Relief! My tired feet were rested. My tummy was sated. My thirst was quenched. And my mind was full of the gentle sights and sounds in the café — the ebb and flow of conversation, the joy in peoples faces of sharing teatime together, and the aromas all around of tea and baking. A memory that comes to mind every time hubby bakes me some scones.
As for which came first — my love of a British style teatime or the experience at Betty’s — right now I am too full to care. Enjoy!
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