Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Earning (or is that eating?) my keep

I’ve recently been given the same award by two lovely blogger ladies who have very different lives and very different blogs. In an e-mail I asked one of them to please please take hers back and she (rightly) said that it was hers to give and mine to decide whether to do anything with. In the spirit of acquaintance-ship I’ve come around to agreeing. There was a time in the early days of this bloglife where I would have gift wrapped and sent you my left arm had you given me an award (I bet you that’s why I never got any!) but I’ve grown older, wiser and way grumpier. So I choose not to accept awards or pass them on. As I’ve said before, everyone on my blogroll is chosen for a reason, specifically my reasons, and each one of those on it are worthy of a mention. But I find back-patting tiresome. And I don’t think I ‘deserve’ an award any more than the next gal. And I don’t love my blog. Or most of my rambling/ writing. And to top it all I AM JUST PLAIN LAZY. But in the spirit of not pissing everybody off, I am grateful. But I won’t do it (i.e. put it up and and pass it on) with any conviction and that I cannot do without. So I must humbly bow out. Not of blogging (yet) but of award and tag thingies.

Now that that is out of the way let me get on with the business of blogging. Which I seem not to do often enough these days. If I promise to change will you love me?

Two Saturdays ago we had the ONE day of summer weather surely due to us. It was so beautiful SO BEAUTIFUL that I felt skin tingly all day what with the warm sun beating down on me. After a blazing 60 lap swim (my highest ever and yes, I am very proud!) I abandoned my boy for a Hen Doo. Hen Doo’s are (or is that were?) not de rigueur in India. At least not the ‘lets all go and walk around some Soho-type bars with bunny rabbit/ sex siren costumes and number plates hung around the neck drunk as can be’ sort of variety. All I remember from when I got married is having a massive party organised by best friend for 3 of us chicks who were all getting married within 2 days of each other. Actually that theoretical bit is pretty much all I remember as I consumed about a bottle and a half of wine and danced madly till I fell asleep at 5am. So in some ways the ‘drunk as can be’ bit does fit. No licence plates or traipsing through bars for this girl though.

This Hen Doo was for a girl getting married (maybe I should say woman?) who is quite pregnant. So are some of her dearest friends. She insisted she had no energy to stay up past 8pm and instead decided that we would ‘take tea of the English variety’ at a café followed by a viewing of Grease (her favourite movie) from the safety of her couch. So there I was, in East Dulwich, a part of London I have never had reason to explore. It was to be a late lunch/ early tea thing and since I had had my swim and then traipsed across 2 stations and train changes to get there I was absolutely starving. It was a longish walk to Lordship Lane; the friend I traveled part of the way with and I could have chosen to take the bus but neither of us wanted to waste the sunshine and chose the leisurely walk instead. Lordship Lane is a mix of lovely boutique-y shops and independent grocers. It was buzzing with people and their prams and their shopping. We reached Le Chandelier on time and went in even though no one from the group had arrived. They did arrive a few minutes later and we promptly retired to the (weirdly) French-Moroccan themed room upstairs.

Le Chandelier is a ‘Tea Room’. The downstairs is bright and airy and Oh So Pretty. There are many a different chandeliers hanging from the ceilings and rafters, but not in an in-your-face way. I think some were antique and others quite new. The food menu is quite substantial with proper lunch things like club sandwiches, large salads and omlettes. They also seem to take their loose leaf teas quite seriously with a detailed separate menu explaining the large selection of teas. In fact Le Chandelier sells both loose leaf tea and chandeliers, you have only to ask for the correct menu.

To eat I chose an Afternoon Tea which came as good English teas should, on a tiered platter, each level of delicious indulgence precariously balanced on its own paper lace doily. The bottom layer had half a sandwich each of salmon and egg mayonnaise and two canapés (one each with smoked salmon and ham). The middle tier had a large slice of chocolate cake, a round apricot tart and an apple triangle. The top tier had 3 scones and a generous helping each of strawberry jam and clotted cream. I chose an Oolong tea to wash it all down. It looked beautiful. I only managed to wolf down the canapés and sandwich and then I HAD to have one of the warm scones, so I donated all 3 pastries and the remaining 2 scones to the 3 pregnant women who wolfed them down without letting them touch the sides.

I have to say this is only my second time of having an English afternoon tea. The first was many years ago and it was fab although a bit rich for my system and somewhat at the time unaffordable. I’ve always wanted to go somewhere fancy like the Dorchester or the Savoy or the Marriott in County Hall to try a proper tea. I’ve never managed it, each time being intimidated by both idea and price. Le Chandelier was the real thing at a fraction of the cost.

We looked at some hilarious pictures of the Bride through the years (secretly prepared by her best friend) and were regaled by stories of her childhood and teen years. We laughed a lot, a LOT, considering that most of us had never met before. It was a lovely afternoon. Many (and I mean MANY) hours later we were done, with scones, cups of tea and tales. While a majority of the party went off to enjoy her sunny garden and then watch Grease with a non-alcoholic cocktail in hand, I and the friend I traveled part of the way with headed back into town.

If you want a quirky afternoon tea I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it. Ditto for a chandelier. Make the trek.

Le Chandelier: 161 Lordship Lane, East Dulwich, London SE22 8HX. Tel: 020 82 99 33 44


  1. I agree with you at some level about the tagging/awarding being a tad tiresome, but if I put aside my all the cynicism, I can see why they can be very encouraging to fledgling bloggers like me. But yes, I see the point your making.

    Also, I may be getting it horribly wrong, but is it not hen 'do' - 'do' as in party/event?

  2. Anonymous11:53 PM

    I agree with you, it can be a bit too back patting ish, but feel churlish too refuse. At least accept the thanks I gave you in my acceptance speech :)

    What's the weather like now? Can we take each other for afternoon tea when I am back?

  3. Well, for a minute there you had me thinking you were going to throw the darned award in my face... ;-)

  4. OOoh how lovely - the afternoon tea sounds v.delicious!

  5. Hey...I feel the same about awards. I write about my life and it's more like a verbal diarrhoea (sorry 45mins nothing against you and thank you for awarding me one!!).

    And while I feel very very honoured and motivated due to it, I am stuck at passing it on to someone.

  6. Blogging awards... sigh!!

    That hen do seems to be quite a sober one. Tch tch tch!! :D

  7. Anonymous7:50 PM

    Hey, it's okay for people to shun the Oscars once in a while. It only increases the value of the award!

    The afternoon tea concept is so quaint. Would love to go sometime.

  8. 60 laps? SIXTY laps? Wow! I'm beyond impressed! How long did that take you? Man, I'm impressed!

    I'm not a confident swimmer or a good one, but a few months back I'd built up enough stamina to do about 40 laps in 35 minutes... then I didnt go swimming for a few months and now I'm finding that it's soooooooooo easy to lose ground. *sigh* Building it up again now...

  9. Anonymous7:52 PM

    You see, this is why instead of being churlish, I turned it into a tag. More back-patting for me! Although, I hop you're going to come on my show. Please come! Wear your new bling

  10. Anonymous6:09 AM

    oh that reminds me, the hotel round the corner from yours & my workplace does afternoon teas. Lets go there sometime