My American friends have asked me over the years if we still go in for afternoon tea in London. Oh, yes we do, with gusto!
During May I was invited to afternoon tea in the Royal Overseas Club and it was scrumptious. In winter, afternoon tea is best enjoyed in front of a roaring fire. In summer, it is optimum when sitting on a balcony, overlooking Green Park with a summer breeze cooling the Earl Grey tea. The egg sandwiches were prepared with granary brown bread, and the cucumber sandwich was made with very finely sliced cucumber layered on top of each other with lashings of butter on the bread. Resist judgement of this noble sandwich if you have not tasted it. The cakes did not have icing or frosting - those swirly toppings on the cakes that you see is in fact zesty, fruity mousse! The lemon variety being topped with a blueberry.
I drank three pots of tea, and enjoyed a very edifying conversation on many things, including the life and times of Zélie Martin, the recent referendum on gay marriage in Ireland and why feminist ideology can be taken too far.
My blood was fired up with caffeine and I went home by walking the long way across the park, watching the late afternoon sun shine pools of gold in the Serpentine. That night, I was in especially zippy form, and did a lot of good work with the American author, whose brilliant book I have been editing and which will be published soon.