Sunday, 24 October 2010

Teatime Trauma

Just recovering from a Sunday afternoon Birthday Tea which did not go to plan. I booked our table for 3.15 at the delightful environs of the Courtyard Restaurant at the Wallace Collection in Manchester Square. We had celebrated there before and knew they served a traditional Afternoon Tea [readers will know Tea is my favourite meal]. The Man [Birthday Boy himself] and I arrived on time as usual. Our large family table was, luckily as it turned out, alongside one of the walls of the Courtyard. The Daughter, Son-in-law and kids arrived only 15 minutes late but brought the news that The Son and his two were running rather late [not a surprise - it would have been more of a surprise if they had been on time!]. The Wallace Collection closes at 5pm so we ordered "Tea" and started without them.

First problem. No.2 Grandson, still under the weather from a bug he caught at school just before the half-term holiday, didn't even want to eat a scone - there is a first for everything. He kept yawning and eventually we had to let him lie down on a soft bench and he fell asleep. No. 2 Grandaughter took exception to the dainty size of the cakes on offer "I don't want a little cake!" but unfortunately when The Daughter procured a slice of chocolate swiss roll for her she promptly coughed as she swallowed and puked up all down her new dress, tights and shoes. Oh joy could the afternoon get any better? Her Daddy whisked her away to clean her up and she re-emerged in a rather less "chic" outfit.

So now we had one member of our tea party fast asleep and another reluctant to eat anything else. At this point Grandson No.1 and Grandaughter No.1 arrived, advance party as The Son was looking for somewhere to park. Anxious to get them seated The Daughter pulled the table towards her to make some room and succeeded in knocking over a cakestand spilling several cakes and sending a plate crashing to the floor. No.1 Grandson trying to help picked up the broken china and in the process cut his finger [not badly thank goodness]. The afternoon had now descended into complete farce! The Son had finally managed to find somewhere to park and arrived at this point with about 40 minutes left to find his son having a plaster put on a cut finger - such fun.

We were however very impressed by our waiter who, without making us feel guilty and brushing aside our many apologies, helped clear up, replaced dropped cakes and provided the said plaster.

Dear Readers, we were resolute, helped in no small part by the latest arrivals, we did justice to the Tea. Not quite the Birthday Treat I had planned but certainly an afternoon which will become the "Tea" upon which all others will be judged.


  1. Well, no one was killed, at least, but I'm very sorry it didn't live up to your expectations. I'm glad you had a kindly waiter.

    I asked you a question--I think it was you--about your response to my last post.

  2. Aw, so sorry!hope the next one you have will be better!

  3. sorry it was actually grandson no.1 who knocked the table.

    signed-grandson no.1

    I have just been informed that I got the culprit wrong see above.

  4. Ooh no! Sorry you had a disappointing afternoon. I love afternoon tea. Maybe this is an excuse for you to try and do it again?

  5. Thanks - don't worry nothing will put me off Afternoon Tea! I even had a Tea Dance for my Wedding Reception way,way back in the distant past. I still bear the Wedding photographer a grudge as he insisted on taking me away from the table for photo sessions while I watched lots of scrumptious grub pass me by. I finally decided enough was enough as waiters carrying hot cherries and ice cream disappeared into the reception hall, I lifted my wedding dress up so I could run and made a ten second dash to the top table.

  6. A comedy of errors, indeed, although it certainly wasn't funny at the time! I predict this will become a great story in your family's lore.

    Check back into the comments section of my "Satori Redux" post. I have left a note for you there.

  7. Oh my gosh, could the afternoon have gotten any worse!! I'm afraid that's what happens when you go out with the little ones. Best laid plans and all that! I, too, love Afternoon Teas, so that is something else we have in common.

  8. What a palaver! Though I have to admire the spirit of a girl who complains about cake size and then takes such a large bite that she throws up. Bravo.