Today I woke up and thought how lovely it would be to have a spot of tea. I dreamed of fancy sandwiches and scones and my own little teapot, but I wasn’t in the mood to dress up and I hadn’t made any reservations. I looked around the internet and found Ye Olde Kings Head, an English pub in Santa Monica. It looked like it would be perfect. I gave them a call and a lady with an English accent said, “Please, love, come by at 12:45 if you can!”
It seemed awfully early for afternoon tea, but I called my friend Erica and she had a few hours to spare so out to Santa Monica we went.
Ye Olde Kings Head spreads over a rather large piece of property in Santa Monica. They are situated only a block or two from the beach. There is a pub, a bakery and a gift shop. A portion of the pub is set aside for afternoon tea, but in the evenings it is filled with the pub crowd. By the look of things, the restaurant is very popular with tourists and with soccer fans.
Erica and I perused the menu. We had a few choices to make- with champagne or without, with deviled egg or without, and we had a selection of five teas to choose from. Erica chose Lady Grey and I chose English Breakfast. All of a sudden we were feeling very Downton Abbey. Pinkies were raised and cloth napkins dabbed the corners of our mouths.
The lady with whom I spoke on the phone was a former employee of the now closed Tudor House. She was bubbly and cheerful and excited to be managing the tea room at Kings Head. She said that she is getting quite a few bridal parties and baby showers and asked if we could spread a “wee word” to our friends. Her English accent and the pub decor made us feel like we were on holiday.
A short time later, a very pretty assortment of treats arrived. The display was served on a three tiered stand. The bottom layer was the “meat layer,” with finger sandwiches of smoked salmon and cream cheese, there was sausage en croute, and turkey and cranberry sandwiches. The second layer had slices of quiche, egg salad, and smoked salmon and cucumber sandwiches. The top layer had scones with Devonshire cream, filled cakes and chocolate eclairs.
We sipped our tea, nibbled on our treats and were pleased with ourselves for making the effort. Often it seems so inconvenient in our minds- to drive somewhere, to fuss over parking, to worry about whether places will be available or crowded, to find something to wear, or spend a few dollars extra. But today, for $20 apiece, we treated ourselves to a sprinkling of joy. We wandered through the shop and laughed at cheeky refrigerator magnets and marveled at English biscuits and candies. We poked our head in the bakery and looked at the meat pasties and scones. We got a glimpse of the ocean and inhaled the sea air. We were back in the car in two hours.
This is the power of The List. Without The List, I might have found reasons to stay home or I might have thought perhaps I just didn’t have the time.
With The List, I squeeze in some sweetness.
I sit in beauty and fortify myself, so when the blows of the next day come, I can manage them.
I have a fresh memory of happiness in my cup.
343 days to go!