Where better to take tea in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee year than this establishment that is decked out in Union Jack flags and bunting? The 1940s is brought to life by the waitresses dressed in delightful dresses and headscarves in the style of the times and in the beautiful kitchen dresser on which cakes and silver tea canisters are displayed. Lovely details include the 1940s green crockery and silver sugar tongs, newspapers and artefacts of the time. The menu is designed as a wartime ration book and any leftovers are packed into cardboard boxes that were originally designed to carry gasmasks.
Fortunately the food on offer reflects modern tastes - thick sliced ham has replaced the spam and carrot cake and iced cupcakes are the order of the day. The Ivor Novello Tea consists of sandwiches, scones and cakes, reasonably priced and prettily displayed. Tea lovers are spoiled for choice with 14 blends of loose leaf tea. We chose the Fourteas house blend which arrived in huge white Betty teapot along with a five minute timer so that it could steep perfectly.
The Fourteas is a little jewel that adds a theatrical touch to the pleasure of taking tea. Long may it reign.
We discovered the Auberge des Peintres in the picturesque hamlet of Saint-Ceneri -Le-Gerei on an overnight stop in Normandy. Situated on the main square in a building dating back some 300 years, the bistro’s wood panelled walls were hung with canvasses of local painters, continuing a long association with writers and artists including Baudelaire. All the old favourites were on the menu. Starters included rilettes de maquereaux, ouefs cocotte, pates and salads. Juicy pave de boeuf, pink magret de canard, creamy gratin de mer, andouilletes, boudin noir, and cote de boeuf were but some of the mains. The joys of chocolate fondant, charlottes and tarte tatin followed. Prices were reasonable for the excellent cooking. Best visited in the evening when day trippers have left and a pre-dinner stroll takes in the frescoed, Romanesque church, a beautiful stone bridge under which kayaks glide, wild flower gardens and Les Jardins de la Mansoniere, a garden in which candlelit classical music concerts are hosted in summer.
Le Bourg, 61250 St Ceneri le Gerei, France
Google map: bit.ly/wMIn2g
This small gem of a beach is much loved by locals, both human and penguin. Situated within a sanctuary for 3000 African Jackass penguins, the crescent of white sand is backed by dense vegetation in which the penguins nest. The sheltered bay is surrounded by huge boulders on which children love to climb and leap into the sea. Penguin couples waddle down the beach to cool off in the water and seem happy to swim among excited children, posing for photographs or playing Pied Piper as they lead curious kids into the rock crevices to explore. A fantastic family day out is on offer including a visit to the penguin breeding sanctuary or a delicious lunch at the restaurant adjacent to the free parking area where local traders sell African artifacts. An entrance fee to the beach is charged (about 50p) which helps fund the penguin conservation.
Boulders Beach, about 45 minutes drive from Cape Town, close to Simonstown.
Google map: bit.ly/ubjLTM
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