An English Afternoon Tea

Afternoon tea at the Orwell Hotel, Felixstowe

Afternoon tea at the Orwell Hotel, Felixstowe

In the midst of various activities leading to my son’s wedding in the U.S. early next month, Clive and I paused to catch our breath and finally use a lovely gift card (thank you D, J, F&S!) for afternoon tea at Felixstowe’s Orwell Hotel.

Something about the English afternoon tea tradition is just so civilised – sitting down in a gracious environment, sipping a nice cup of tea and eating everything from cut-up sandwiches (minus their crusts, of course) to scones with jam and cream to fruitcakes and meringues and strawberries and Victoria sponge cakes. There always seems to be way too much food by the time you work your way up or down the multi-level trays of delicacies but it is all too good to pass up.

We’re not experts by any means, but have been fortunate to have afternoon tea in a variety of locations, each setting and selection of treats unique in their own way. The English seem to be able to turn a simple cup of tea and afternoon ‘snack’ into something quite special. The Orwell Hotel is a Victorian-era building whose rooms made us feel as if we were sitting in someone’s beautiful home library, with the great luxury of having the tea served to us.

In Sydney a few years ago, I wrote about a nice cup of tea and how I only really started drinking tea after meeting Clive. He still brings me a cup (mug) of tea every morning, and I’m still wholeheartedly grateful for it. I still have it black, though – no way can I put milk in my tea. And I still switch to coffee after that.

But in the years since I wrote that post, I’ve begun drinking tea in the afternoons and sometimes in the evening, too. Now it’s not only when we go to other people’s homes, but also when we return to our own after being out and about that one of us will say, ‘I’ll pop the kettle on.’ That is, unless we’ve just returned from an English afternoon tea.

Teapot by Carters of Suffolk

Teapot by Carters of Suffolk

Cheers and thanks for reading. Next week’s letter will be from Felixstowe.

7 Responses

  1. I read your posts weekly and enjoy watching you bouncing from continent to continent. It would drive me nuts, but appear to thrive! How goes the memoir?

  2. Brilliant post Carolyn. Made me laugh when I read the end . We just say ” ‘Fancy a cup of tea”. But funnily enough I will say to my friends , ” fancy meeting for a coffee “if meeting in town. Never do I say ” fancy meeting for a tea”. I love my “cuppa” in the morning , but not without milk. I have never had an afternoon tea. I am sure you and Clive had a lovely “tea time ” x

  3. Hello pdunning! Thanks for that — am working my way along! Hope yours going well also 🙂

    Annie, very interesting re ‘fancy meeting for a coffee’ — and enjoy your tea with milk! We will have to meet for an afternoon tea sometime, somewhere in England …

  4. Hi Carolyn,
    How are youy and Clive doing? This afternoon tea looks fabulous!! I have a sweet tooth and the platter looks… delish! I love my tea, also. Morning or afternoon.
    Sending you both lots of love. xox

  5. Hello xpat92! Lovely to ‘see’ you — next Paris (or London!?) meeting we’ll have to have tea 🙂 We are fine and hope you are too. Hugs xox

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