Pretty much as forecast, it rained all day today. The outlook for the week end is fortunately much better. Today was my first English lesson at the club conducted over home made cakes (mine) and refreshments. It was a smallish group of differing abilities but thankfully those that spoke some English were more than willing to help those that spoke none. So we went back to basics, starting with the phonetic alphabet and continuing with some brief exercises to illustrate my points.
We also discussed English culture and customs, albeit in French. I was extolling the virtues of afternoon tea, one of my all-time favourite meals. Largely because as a child it was my reward for an afternoon spent learning ballet. My Mum thought ballet would make me lighter on my feet; she used to complain that I sounded like a herd of elephants going upstairs. It had absolutely no effect whatsoever.
We had afternoon tea at The Queen’s Hotel which was largely a haven for elderly ladies and gentlemen whom I would regard very much as my personal audience every Wednesday afternoon. Having been into the kitchen to choose my cakes and pastries directly from the chef, I would return and visit with each individual or group dotted around the vast lounge; politely enquiring as to their activities over the past week, before updating them with my own. One lady used to let me wear her mink stole and hat. I would love giving everyone a quick twirl in my borrowed finery. Sadly, The Queen’s Hotel was demolished to make way for New Street Station.
While living in London I would often meet friends for afternoon tea in one or other of my favourite watering holes. I particularly liked afternoon tea at The Lanesborough (handy for Knightsbridge), The Dorchester, The Westbury (great scones and handy for Bond St) and Claridges.
The home-made cakes went down well, particularly the spiced ginger bread. Fortunately, they left a few slices of both cakes; the other was a chocolate and vanilla marble cake, for my beloved to enjoy.