Tea for seven and seven for tea

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(or seven fall into a sugar induced coma)

I am very excited to report that I have been somewhere lovely for afternoon tea, thus achieving the first challenge on List 34.

I found some friends who could attend, a venue and a menu (mid sentence rhyming, how super) that was slightly out of the ordinary. Why have PG Tips and a scone when you can have apple pie tea, meringue carrots and edible chocolate cups? At the Sanderson Hotel in the West end of London, you can have a mad hatter of an afternoon tea fit for a March hare, a dormouse and even Alice.

The hotel is rather fancy, five star don’t you know, but this is probably a good thing, otherwise I suspect at least one of our party would have insisted on us channelling our inner Lewis Carroll outfit wise and we’d have been in fancy dress wandering around the West end shouting “Off with their heads” and “You’re entirely bonkers”.

Afternoon tea itself was very creative; drink me potions in delightful little bottles (so delightful that I suspect one of our party stole one… shhhh…don’t tell anyone), cakes shaped like clocks and fizzy popping candy making a curiouser and curiouser appearance when least expected, Heston Blumenthal style.

The savoury selection was also yummy, multi-coloured triangle sandwiches nestled alongside teeny homemade quiches. Although as tasty as the cucumber and chive cream cheese on spinach bread was, I couldn’t shake the feeling that eating bright green bread was wrong on a ‘is this loaf radioactive?’ level.

There were some delicious mini savoury scones, unfortunately these were placed rather too near to the delicious mini sweet scones and some idiot got them confused.*

*possibly me

I can however confirm that cheese scones with strawberry jam and coconut scones with herb butter both make for unusual but not entirely unpleasant taste sensations.

Two hours later and we were all full to bursting and about one piece of rainbow coloured white chocolate or strawberry and cream flavoured mushroom away from type two diabetes. Alice may have thought it was the silliest tea party she ever went to. I prefer the Mad Hatter’s approach “it’s always tea time”.

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My Asdaversary

ASDA_logo Thursday was my Asdaversary. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that term (which is actually everyone, because I just made it up – copyright: me), it describes the moment, that happens roughly once a year when I momentarily forget why I don’t shop in Asda and I find myself carelessly wandering into a store in a cloud of innocence and naivety, previous Asda experiences eclipsed by the passing of time.

This blog entry is therefore designed as a warning, an aide-mémoire to myself. A reminder of the fact that I don’t shop at Asda because it is a truly terrifying ordeal. The retail equivalent of the Jeremy Kyle show.

On Thursday, I was lured into a store because it was 1.30pm, I was in Crawley, I didn’t have lunch with me and I was about to attend a disciplinary hearing where a growling stomach would not have been a very professional addition to proceedings.

I just wanted to buy a sandwich and a bottle of water. 2 minutes in and out, or so I thought. I wasn’t reckoning on the shop being about the size of London and it had completely slipped my mind that it would be filled with more tattoos, leggings, fake ugg boots and sovereign rings than a Saturday afternoon at an Argos half price sale.

Asda shoppers generally fall into the following categories:

a) The Gravy stain brigade
Always wearing a top, t-shirt or cardigan with a prominent gravy or grease stain visible. Often smell a bit funky, as though their washing routine involves being licked clean by the dog. Most likely of all Asda types to use a deep fat fryer and to not know what broccoli is.

b) The flip flop faction
Old women with gnarled old feet that they insist on exposing to the shopping world by wearing flip flips or open toed sandals, no matter what time of year. They wear nail polish in a vain attempt to make people believe that they have young, pretty feet. They do not.

c) The shorts squad
Male equivalent of the flip flop faction. Men, usually with beer bellies, who insist on wearing shorts all year round. Potentially to show off the giant tattoo of the Union Jack, a bulldog or a black panther proudly shouting out from their calves.

d) The “he really should have put something on the end of it” contingent
Young couples, looking tired and miserable, glaring at each other whilst traipsing around the shop looking for nappies and formula milk to placate their very unplanned screaming child.

e) The see you next Tuesday cohort
These people use the evil queen of swear words in everyday conversation. We’re talking about the swear word that should only be used in dire emergency swearing situations. To prevent using the word right now, I’ll replace it with another alternative word like erm, blunt. So an example of something they might say would be: I just took the blunt of a car to the garage. Two hundred blunting quid, bunch of blunting rip off merchant blunts. These characters are likely to describe their daughters as “mares” and dote on their sons (who may fall into below category).

f) The car crew
Young men, likely to be buying Carling, Pringles and Marlboro lights. They drive to the store in their suped up Peugeot 106 or Ford Fiesta and strut around like they are gods gift to women. Although, I suspect that the bigger the exhaust pipe on the car, the smaller the driver’s penis…

g) The polyester prince and princess
He wears ‘slacks’, slip on shoes and has exceptionally greasy hair. She wears floral outfits from a specialist “clothing for the over 50s” supplier and has quite a pronounced five o’clock shadow. However, they dote on each other and there are clearly sparks between them, although that might be the polyester overload.

ASDA : A Superbly Damming cAtalogue of reasons not to shop there…