It’s like deja vu. A couple of weeks ago I booked afternoon tea at Hotel Brooklyn and visited Manchester Art Gallery. That afternoon tea was their Brooklyn tea, this one was their traditional tea. When I’d gone to the gallery I had to cut my visit short but vowed to come back for what I’d missed. On my return what I’d missed had gone. There was some other stuff but not what I rushed past last time. They did have a room of tea drinking and afternoon tea paraphernalia in the shop.
I ended up having time to spare but not enough time to do a lot more so I went to Chinatown which is just behind the gallery to browse in a supermarket. It’s so interesting to see all the different foods. I was drawn to the sweet section and was tempted by wife cakes, mochi and various little nibbles. I looked at a few restaurants too. They seem quite big with a lot of covers and quite empty with only a few Chinese people in them. Maybe they fill up in the evenings. I can’t help looking for the sweet section. There are usually steamed custard buns.
I headed for the hotel which is just over the road. The waitress took me to the snug I think she called it.
My mind went through all the issues such as practicalities, seating position, comfort, awkwardness, would I prefer to sit where I was last time rather than, “how nice.” My indecision was obvious and the waitress said I could sit somewhere else if I wanted but this was a popular spot. I said it was okay and would sit here.
The tea arrived.
Argh it’s so white! I tried to hide my disappointment. It does not compare well to the Brooklyn tea I had two weeks ago. The sandwiches looked cheap and strangely small yet plentiful at the same time. The sweets looked shop bought. I got two big scones at least with two pots of Bonne Maman jam and there was proper clotted cream. I thought the sandwiches were double deckers so I pulled the skewer out and ate it. I then realised they were separates just skewered together. They were actually quite pleasant. There was cheese and onion, ham and tomato, egg mayo I think and a salmon but two of each. I had a scone and it was great. I had put jam on first and cream and it was messy and hard work. I thought that for the next scone I would do cream then jam. The sweets were a vanilla slice which was messy to eat, a cream horn and a banoffee pie or maybe it was meant to be Manchester tart. Again they were all pleasant enough and quite enjoyable.
The scones were a good size, I’ve quite a few tiddlers recently. I love the tea pot. The tea was just breakfast tea. It was okay after it steeped for a bit.
It was half way through the banoffee thing that my phone rang. It was the solicitors. They said that they were ready to exchange and complete on the house I was buying. My heart beat faster. It was finally over! It wasn’t as I still had to sort out something but the day after it was over and I got my key on Saturday.
I started on my second scone by putting the cream on first then the jam. Much easier. I think it tasted better too as my tongue hit the elements as scone, cream then jam. I rushed the scone as I had to get home to sort house things out.
There were actually other people in. A couple who had stayed at the hotel had afternoon tea next to me. They had eclairs on their stand. A doddery old man sat nearby in one of those yellow chairs. He ordered a beer, then another then another. The couple next to me couldn’t finish their tea so they offered their sweets to the old man. He accepted. How lovely of them. Waste not want not. Then the old man became a photo opportunity I didn’t take. He looked a bit out of place anyway due to his clothing. Now he was sat in a fancy chair with his lager eating an eclair. I said to him that was a nice treat. He looked pleased and enjoyed the sweets. Then he started talking to me. I was worried about what he was going to say but it was all pleasant. He usually drank at the Yates’s up the road but it was closed due to a stabbing. I said this was a nicer place to be. He agreed. “There aren’t any dickheads,” he said. Very true. I think he was going to be a regular as it seemed he’d been the day before.