On an overcast, rainy, very cold February day, I was walking down the street in Enfield (another suburb of London) running errands. I had forgotten my gloves and my hands were numb from the biting rain. I still wasn’t used to the cold humidity of a London winter and I felt the wind cutting through my overcoat. All I could think about was getting warm. I hadn’t planned on eating out, but I was tired and hungry.
I had walked no more than a block when I, literally, almost stumbled upon a sidewalk sign advertising Ma Battley’s Tearoom (Yes, I can be a bit clumsy sometimes). I glanced up and saw an old-fashioned candy store with a variety of delicious sweets gracing the window display. It said Traditional English Sweet Shop and I, with my unhealthy addiction to just about anything sweet, seemed as if I had stumbled onto a bit of heaven.
Stepping into the colorful warmth of a sweet shop, there was such a contrast to the gray drizzle outside that I instantly began to feel better. The woman behind the counter (Ma Battley herself?) called out a cheery “hallooo!” and I responded with a smile and asked where the tearoom was. She pointed upstairs, so I made my way through the sweet shop and upstairs to a medium sized-room filled with pink and white checkered tables and a row of windows at one end.
I sat by the white lace curtained windows and glanced over the room. It was simply decorated in a Country Victorian theme, but without an ounce of pretense. I felt almost as if I had wandered into someone’s kitchen and was sitting at their kitchen table instead of a formal restaurant, and yet it felt just right.
I glanced over the menu and it was filled with simple, but delicious items such as Jacket Potatoes and sandwiches. But on this bleak, wet day, sitting in a London tearoom, what else could I order but tea with scones and clotted cream? What could be more classically British than that? When it was presented to me, it made such an artistic picture that I had to photograph it.
The picture didn’t last long, though, as I slathered my currant scone with jam and Devon clotted cream. Oh my goodness…I had no idea that cream could have the texture of silk! The sweetness of the jam and the texture of the cream were a perfect accompaniment to the berry-flavored tea. My hands finally began to thaw after holding the teacup for a while and I sat there and savored the moment. No wonder the tradition of afternoon tea is so loved by the British! Not only was the food delightful, but just the feeling of hot tea melting away your cares was so beautifully relaxing. I smiled to myself as I thought what a happy cliche I made. Afternoon tea and scones on a rainy day in London…another dream come true for this wandering wallflower.