A Confession at 14:37

Dear Tesco,

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I have written to you today because I have been left with no alternative, I have tried to move on and just forget what ails me but, I’m afraid, I cannot. Now, I am not the kind of person who goes around making formal and outlandish complaints all the time, no sir! I’m the type of person who usually bombards her boyfriend’s ears with her superfluous moans and petty grievances or shouts loudly, indoors, where no one else can hear. So you can imagine then what kind of monstrous act could’ve driven me – a common benevolent bystander – to my laptop to write up this letter of complaint.

I was a loyal customer to you back at University which was two years ago now. Your Egham store was, thankfully, conveniently close and I enjoyed those days of freedom purchasing the food I fancied whenever I wanted. I grew fond of your own brand of food and I soon had particular favourites which I could only get from your store. I shall now get to the point of this letter – I was absolutely in LOVE with your bakery’s own Finest cookies. I was hooked. Addicted. Crazy for them. Especially the raspberry and white chocolate ones. They were my luxury items which I made sure I had money for within my budget.

Unfortunately when I left University so did go my freedom to shop. The closest store to my family home is a Sainsbury’s and their cookies don’t even compare to yours. They were in no way a suitable supplement for my cravings. So from once being a loyal and dedicated customer I become a T-Total cookie consumer. It has been hard.

So when I had the opportunity to visit your store a week ago you can imagine just how excited I was. I had my list all planned and prepared before I arrived and headed straight for the bakery as soon as I got in. I had exclaimed to my partner throughout the whole car journey –

‘I can’t wait to finally have those cookies! Do you know how long I have craved them? Almost a whole year! I am so so so so ready to sink my teeth into them! I am going to buy a whole packet for myself and maybe reserves!’ and so on and so forth.

But when I finally reached the counter, when I was finally so close to my prize, they were not there.

They were nowhere to be found.

I have never ever felt quite as disappointed as I did in that moment.

My stomach felt like it had been vandalised and humiliated. The whole trip was a futile endeavour.

WHY DON’T YOU SELL THEM ANYMORE?

Was it just that one store that didn’t have them or have they been completely scrapped? THEY WERE THE BEST COOKIES IN THE WORLD! They were perfect. I loved their soft texture and their chunky pieces of chocolate. Why on earth would you get rid of them? I even checked online and they aren’t there! I am distraught.

You unceremoniously removed them without giving me the last chance to say goodbye!

I DEMAND that you either bring them back or for goodness sake give me the recipe because I cannot deal with them being absent in my life. I know that is lame but those cookies were HEVEANLY! I cannot express enough how much those cookies meant to me. Without them I really have no reason to visit your store ever again and I know it probably doesn’t mean much to you, I am now one of those infrequent customers, but on those rare occasions when I do grace your store with my presence I would love to know that they will be there. Waiting for me. One small symbol of consistency and love from your behalf.

The least you could do is send me the recipe if you don’t think it’s worth your while putting them back on your shelves, no? Anyway, that is why… that is why I just had to write to you and I hope at least that you hear my plea and do something about it.

Yours sincerely,

Alexandra Neon – Finest cookie addict since 2008

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Review Number Four

4) Sissinghurst Castle – National Trust

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On Sunday the 17th of March my Bandicoot and I did our usual; we went to a National Trust property for a cream tea. I had worn a skirt because the weather had duped me into thinking it was going to behave and shine like a good little sun ball, but, I should’ve know better. British weather is as reliable as a drifter, as deceptive as a spy and as cruel as a child. Colloquially speaking… IT CHUCKED IT DOWN and it made my middle finger on my right hand go numb… I even put gloves on my feet when we finally found the sanctuary of the onsite restaurant just to warm up my tootsies that bit quicker.

We had a rushed viewing of Sissinghurst but from what I saw from the restricted view from my hood was rather beautiful. Though I am not really sure how it qualifies as a castle… maybe if I had been able to look around longer a notice board may have told me… but for now I am left baffled. It was quaint and homely nothing like a domineering and overbearing castle should be. Its gardens were playfully hidden by mazes and were still delightfully picturesque in spite of the rain beating down. However, it was a most hurried affair and I was more anxious to get inside the restaurant than look at the estate so we’ve agreed to go again when the weather is in a better mood.

So yes, the cream teas were a long-awaited comfort we desperately needed and I was impatiently pulling my boy towards our destination. He was infuriatingly slow because he wanted to take pictures so steps were quickly taken; I glared and then threatened to run off with the brolly which effectively got the message across. The glare should’ve been enough though… my powers seem to be waning… We were damp and severely chilled by the time we reached the counter, the lady behind it looked rather bemused as did other customers around us who had escaped the downpour and were waiting it out. The lady behind the counter was exceedingly friendly and was in agreement with us that raspberry jam is far superior to strawberry. We also got to pick which scones we wanted, two plain for me and one of each for Bandicoot. I felt absolutely positive by the time we sat down. So happy in fact that I stuck up two fingers to the view of misty fields and draping rain from our window seat. He brought over the tray and I prepared to TUCK IN!

All in all they were good. There was plenty of jam and both of my scones were glazed and plumped to perfection. However, one complaint I do have is that when they provide us with the pre packaged pots of Roddas clotted cream… there’s just not enough. Obviously it’s not National Trust’s fault, some of their tea rooms in other properties provide generous pots of self scooped local varieties but Roddas… Roddas… just because you are one of the biggest brands for clotted cream doesn’t mean you can get away with being… STINGY!!!

The cream to jam ratio therefore was severely imbalanced. Not good for me but my Ketchum wasn’t bothered; the ratio was perfect for him.

What also surprised me was how floury the scones tasted… I assume that because my scone was so lacking in cream my tongue had more chance to appreciate the bun vessel. It was floury yes, but not crumbly, it clung together nicely and was fittingly warm. It was a treat I enjoyed but knew I’d had better.

What ruined the experience completely for me was that Aladdin and I had gone there to relax and take our time because we were in no rush to return to the rain but hovering over us was a group of four elderly people waiting for us to leave. There were hundreds of tables to spare yet they insisted on creating an uncomfortable atmosphere by waiting for us to move. I hate being hurried or forced out of a seat and I couldn’t fathom why on earth they wanted our spot. Other tables were clean ours was covered in crumbs and sugar residue, other tables had four seats like ours but didn’t have us in them and other tables were FREE GODAMMIT!! So abominably rude, one tried to turn it into a joke by saying ‘yes we are waiting har har, I know it’s a bit obvious har har, slightly embarrassing har har’ YES YOU’RE RIGHT YOU ARE BEING OBVIOUS AND BEING RUDELY EMBARRASSING. THERE ARE PLENTY OF OTHER TABLES TO CHOOSE FROM.

I glared. A lot. I took my time putting my coat on, removing my gloves from my feet to put them on my hands and shook my umbrella to make sure it was dry for a good few seconds. They were like vultures as soon as we were an inch away they swooped in with our tray and mess still on the table. I felt no remorse leaving them there either. I continued to glare at them until we were out of the door, but, like I said my glares seem to be weaker than usual and they just laughed at each other as if victorious that they had driven us out. I was fuming. All the comfort and warmth I felt from my adequate cream tea was ruined. The rain continued to storm upon us and all I wanted to do then was snuggle up back in bed… with another cream tea.