Review Number Ten

10) DIY Cream Tea – Loose Valley

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Boom!

Hot off the press!

Yet another Cream Tea review!

Amazing!

I think it’s the sun, as soon as I feel warmth on my skin, my body goes into autopilot.

‘Must eat Cream Tea! Must eat in sun! Must make picnic!’

In a drooly creepy zombified kind of way, of course…

I have to be outside!

If the sun is shining, that’s it, I can’t stay indoors, it just feels unnatural and a complete waste if I don’t; especially as I’m in the UK. The weather here can be so unpredictable and frustratingly flighty. You never know when you’ll see Mr Blue Sky again, so outside I am drawn and outside I will stay.

Now on this particular occasion, this being the 16th of March and a SUNDAY, Ash and I decided to stick as close to his home as possible.

We had options; Sissinghurst Castle (the only local National Trust Property that was actually open), Headcorn and, our usual back up option, Leeds Castle.

But redoing those places just sounded a bore and unnecessarily far off… SO… as it was so lovely and we were feeling rather ‘picnicky’ we stuck to Loose Valley. We just walked out of Ash’s front door and found the closest and most scenic field available…

BUT THE PREP?!

Oh yes!

The prep!

The DIY job!

Right well, before we set off on our epically short venture we had to get the GOODS!

Ash drove us to Morrison’s to retrieve our supplies!

Roddas clotted cream: CHECK!

Cheap ass Raspberry Jam: CHECK!

Actual Raspberries: CHECK!

Scones: Errm…

DA ACTUAL HELL??? YOU ONLY HAVE FRUIT, CHEESE AND CHERRY SCONES?! WHERE DA PLAIN SCONES AT? DA HELL AM I GONNA EAT?

‘MORRISON SLAVE WHERE ARE YOU HIDING YOUR PLAIN SCONES? I SEE NONE ON THE SHELF! I DEMAND YOU FIND ME SOME OR I AM GOING TO FLIP OUT!’

‘Hang on let me check…’

*WHILST HYPERVETALATING* ‘ASH WHY IS GOD DOING THIS TO ME?’

The Morrison Drone returned with the worst news imaginable.

‘There are none.’

WHAT????!!!!!!

As you can imagine, I was dreadfully unhappy.

Ash held me as I fake sobbed dramatically.

Tightly, I might add, I think he was scared that I would beat the shit out of the Morrison employee, but my sorrow was stronger than my wrath.

I vowed never to shop at Morrison’s again.  

So after Bandicoot unruffled my feathers we went on a little adventure.

MATHMATICAL!!!

(Sorry, recently got into Adventure Time and I’ve taken to using their quirky exclamations… Amazing show… Really!)

Anyway… Spar and a Co-op were a major disappointment. I was almost losing hope, I thought for sure that none would be found, I was almost fake sobbing again… I was fit to burst as we pulled into to our last available option….

Who knew Tesco’s would be our salvation?!

I certainly didn’t, but there you go. TESCO SAVED THE DAY! YAY!

So, with a pack of four of Tesco’s finest we finally got on with our picnic. We made up some wraps, packed some samosa’s, brewed up a flask of tea, nicked the dog’s blanket and went to the valley of choice.

The sun was smiling, a river nearby trickled musically, ants invaded Ketchum’s juice cup, a soft breeze kept lifting up my dress, revealing my knickers to the world and a haze of wood smoke gave the scene a rustic smell.

Ah, it was glorious.

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And for a DIY Cream Tea, we did an excellent job. Though the scones weren’t exactly that big, there was certainly a gluttonous amount of them, quantity meant more to us that day it seems. But my finest plain scones were delicious, they were much better than the cherry ones Ash had settled with.

Oh and the jam! Like Bandicoot and I always say; raspberries are finitely better than strawberries, they just taste ‘redder’ (as Ash put it), I find strawberries are always such a disappointment. Who chose them anyway? Who decided strawberries were traditionally English? I’d like a word!

Also! Who needs to splash out for good jam? The cheap version was excellent and worked really well with our fresh raspberries.

I don’t think I need to sell Roddas Clotted Cream to anyone, it’s damned good and the sun made it gloriously spreadable!

The only downside to our DIY Cream Tea was that the tea itself tasted a little plasticky… can only blame Ash’s stupid flask…

Stupid flask.

But oh well, I didn’t allow such little trifle’s to dampen my mood. Basking in the sun, gorging on Cream Teas and lying on Bandicoots belly was utter bliss.

I treasure little moments like this.

They are truly priceless.

I definitely think I was a cat in my past life… I can’t get enough of lying on people’s bellies, warming myself in the sunshine and lapping up cream…

I can purr and I even like people stroking my nose!

I know… pretty weird…

Ah well, I’m looking forward to more sunny days and, of course, more Cream Teas.

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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.