Tuesday, September 09, 2008

A Wonderful Weekend - Saturday and Sunday September 6 and 7

It’s been a fabulous weekend. The best part of it was that we all spent it together, which is my favourite way to spend any weekend. Guy has been looking at cars to replace his four year old, very practical Peugeot. It’s an estate, and has been fantastic for ferrying everything around when we were living between two places and moving, but it’s beginning to get a little past its sell by date. So we’ve been looking at other cars, still estates, but some with a little more style. It’s fun test driving them and discussing all their pros and cons. At the end of the day, it will be Guy’s car so what is important is that he loves it, but we all get very passionate about our favourites!

Last night we went to see An Ideal Husband at the Theatre Royal in Windsor. It was really entertaining. Oscar Wilde wrote the play in 1895 and yet the parallels with both public and private life today were quite astonishing. The play is about a prominent politician who unfortunately began his career with a youthful indiscretion, along the lines of what we would call insider trading today. His wife, and society, see him as a paragon of virtue. When a colourful woman from his past comes on to the scene and threatens to reveal the indiscretion if he does not co-operate with her plans, plans which will involve him compromising all his principles, the plot begins to thicken. Although the subject matter is serious, and the play becomes a real study of society and its hypocrisy, the witty banter between the characters and some thoroughly entertaining situations make for a really funny play, with, I am pleased to say, a happy ending. The version we saw was extremely well acted, and had many famous faces of yesteryear in the cast, so that in itself made for an excellent evening.

Today, we did one of the things on my “list”. I’ve always dreamed of going to The Ritz in London for Afternoon Tea. We booked our table for today back in June as they do book up well in advance. (You can book online if this is a dream of yours as well.) Located in Piccadilly, just across from Green Park tube station, the Ritz has been a London institution for over one hundred years. Afternoon Tea is held in the Palm Court restaurant. It seemed relatively bereft of palms to me, but was very beautiful nonetheless, with decorations in white and gold, and a huge floral arrangement of lilies and other exotic flowers in a massive urn in the centre. It’s a magical place, not least of all because it is one of the few places in London to still enforce a dress code. Men must wear jackets and ties, and ladies must dress nicely too. Jeans, trainers etc., are totally forbidden. And the one man who did remove his jacket during tea (and to be fair it was terribly warm) was very politely asked to put it back on. The air conditioning was immediately turned on at that point. The service is impeccable. It’s totally discreet and yet you never want for anything that it does not appear within seconds. The cutlery and tea services are all silver, and you eat and drink from a china tea service. A three tier tea tray is brought to your table, with beautiful finger sandwiches on the bottom tier, an empty tier for warm scones which appear later in the middle, and the most beautiful miniature cakes on the top tier. There are over ten different types of tea to choose from, all of which are served as leaf tea. You no sooner get close to finishing the contents of one tier that you are offered more of the contents to refill it. Although they have three sittings each day for tea, you never feel rushed and at £37 each, I think it was a fairly affordable indulgence. It certainly is very good value for money. We all left the restaurant totally replete! I could not have eaten another bite. It was a super experience, one I heartily recommend, and dearly hope to repeat!

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