Sunday 9 November 2008


Picture this. Gemma, 16 years old, looking for ways to pass the time in a small town.

Weekend evenings mean a drink or two in the pub owned by a notoriously oblivious landlord.

Daytime involves meeting friends in town. There is one high street, a couple of banks, bakeries, a small supermarket, a library, lots of charity shops and not much else. So we meet, as do the other teenagers, the old ladies, the families, at Ye Olde Tea Shoppe. We spend hours sitting, talking, and drinking tea. My favourite is a teacake tea, one buttered toasted teacake and a pot of tea, sometimes it's a crumpet tea, sometimes a jacket potato with chicken, sweetcorn, and mayonnaise. We go there a lot, we always sit in the conservatory (the old ladies sit in the front room), we usually hit the charity shops afterwards. These are not the amazing charity shops of our fondest imaginings, these are charity shops with jumbo cords and comfortable sandals designed for our Grandmothers, we still go at least once a week and somehow we still spend money.

13 years later and a visit to Ye Olde Tea Shoppe is still a must. The menu is exactly the same, the prices have proved inflation resistant, it still has the same mix of customers. The only change is my order. Now it is usually a welsh rarebit with a pot of English Breakfast tea. This weekend it was a buck rarebit because eating a perfectly cooked, and perfectly round, poached egg on top of cheesy mustardy toast can only be a good thing.


Maria Rose said...

I have places like that in towns I have left. I love going back and having the staff remember my order!

Jeanne said...

Mmm, love the Welsh rarebit with an egg - what more could one wish for at breakfast?

Gemma said...

Maria Rose - hello again, the staff are an ever changing bunch of local teens, in fact one of my friends worked there when we were 16, so no remembering of orders but that's fine as the whole place still reminds me of happy days with friends.

Jeanne - it was lunch for me and breakfast for Chris and good either way.

Gemma x

Amanda at Little Foodies said...

How lovely! I used to work in an old tea rooms as a teenager. I have very fond memories. I still crave some of the things they used to serve. Sadly the one where I worked is no longer there but there is one in town that I used to visit with my Nan. You've just reminded me that I must take the boys. I would kick myself if it suddenly closed and they hadn't been.