(Previously mentioned here)
We had stopped along the way at a castle, having heard of their splendid Cream Tea. The place was very imposing and serious looking, which should have been a forewarning of what was about to come. But we were hungry, and eager, and nothing could dampen our enthusiasm for scones.
We approached the very large and heavy doors to the castle, Rosie and I letting Ted go in first. Ted is very adept at getting us into places, and making our way for us. Never would we presume to open a conversation with a Maitre d' or a dining room Host, not unless Ted were away. So we tagged along behind him, peeking around at the unbelievably ancient fortress surrounding us. The hall was lined with suits of armor and stately portraits fading with age. It was the kind of place that makes one feel like whispering.
We listened vaguely as Ted spoke with the man in charge, who seemed to be something along the lines of a Head Waiter or Maitre d'. Whatever he was, it was evident that he was Very Important. And suddenly, Rosie and I started listening closely, for we were not hearing happy things.
"Excuse me sir, but do you have a reservation?" the Very Important said.
"No, we don't, but there appears to be space here for us," said Ted.
"Excuse me sir, but I must go and check if we have space," said the Man.
"What does he mean, do we have reservations? And why would they be required?" whispered Rosie. "The place is empty!"
We both giggled because it was true. There wasn't anyone that we could see who was seated or eating anything at all. It was puzzling.
"I'm afraid reservations are required, sir," said the man when he returned. At this point Ted drew him aside ("Might I have a word?"), so that Rosie and I did not hear exactly what was being said. We could guess what was being said, but watched passively, and waited. At last, both Ted and the man were smiling like old friends, and we were handed over to a rather timid looking personage whom, we assumed, was at last our waiter.
We ordered the Cream Tea, and apart from the fact that the order appeared to confuse the little man, and produced the pot of tea long before the scones, we enjoyed our repast. There were far too many scones, strangely, and we tried to return some of them. But this proved also to be confusing, and so we let it drop. All throughout this exchange, I dared not look in Rosie's direction, because we would both surely have burst into laughter and embarrassed the poor thing (he was so sweet that we didn't want to get him into trouble with such a Very Important boss).
The scones were good, although they were not quite a 10. We thought, perhaps a 6? This was partly because just achieving our cream tea was so very difficult, and partly because the clotted cream was rather too thick for comfort. Clotted cream must be just the right creamy smoothness, no more, no less.
But we were in lovely England and on our way to St Ives, so really, who could complain? How many people in this world get to go to a castle for a cream tea? So Rosie and I held our tongues until we were out the doors and well away from any listening ears.
"What on earth was that all about?" she asked Ted. "And what did you SAY to that Man?"
But Ted held his own counsel. We were led to the black Mercedes and deposited therein. "Have you taken your carsick pills?" he asked me.
"Why?" I quaked.
"Because we are about to make up for lost time."
Wherein I strapped myself in, grabbed my pill bottle, and hoped for the best.
See you along the way!