Cream Teas Please…

On Saturday it was Simon’s birthday, our zoo keeper son, and for the first time in his 24 years of life we weren’t there to celebrate with him.  Instead of moping around and reminiscing alone while he slept through the night we decided to be tourists for the day and hang out in London on our Oyster cards.

We headed for St. Paul’s Cathedral first which was, thankfully, protestor free for the first time in weeks.


Police were patrolling even though the City, the financial area of London, was closed for the weekend.  Odd people were still prowling around, one was a man clad from head to toe in black and white walking towards the Cathedral steps, arms outstretched in front of him bowing and speaking in tongues. We sidestepped him so as not to be trampled.

Apart from that it was quiet on the streets and the line into the sanctuary was not long at all.

A lady in front of us asked,

“You have to pay?  To get into a church?” and the answer was,

“Yes, £14.00!”

When it was our turn we said,

“We’re here for mass,” and were allowed straight in, no ticket, no ‘ch-ching ch-ching.’

We walked to the area under the dome where the eucharist was to be celebrated and looked up and I would venture to say, since we’ve just been there, the mosaic artwork adorning the upper reaches of the cathedral are more impessive than the Sistine Chapel.


Well, for one thing the crowds in Rome were so enormous we couldn’t spend any time gawping upwards at Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece and for another, the sun glinting off the gold leaf at the City Cathedral, was pretty awesome.

Go and take a gander,

After craning our necks and walking around the quire and dome perimeter we proceeded to hear mass.

Impressive stuff huh?  Mass at St. Paul’s under the dome, about 50 of us!

Then we went downstairs to the crypt where we took in the tombs of Nelson and Wellington, ate lunch in the refectory and watched a bridal party make its entrance.

Impressive too huh?  Getting married at St. Pauls’ when your name’s not Windsor or Spencer!

Impressed out we began our trek to Hampton Court for a cream tea.

Hubs’ travel pass gets him everywhere for nothing and my Oyster card saves me standing in ticket lines, bottom line is we travel for half price.  Hubs prefers to think he travels for free.


The train made at least twenty stops on its 35 minute journey,most of them were quick spin throughs consisting of the guard hopping off, waving his flag and hopping on again with a blow of his whistle.  You snooze you miss your stop!

We didn’t pay to enter the palace, we’ve been there done that for the last 26 years, ever since our oldest was a toddler in a stroller.


Instead we walked around the grounds admiring the budding daffodils and crocuses and circled the maze from the outside looking for a way to burst through the closely packed privet.


When we’d exhausted the woodland walks and pruned rose gardens, we set off in search of our cream teas.

We wandered down a main road where pedestrian intolerant motorists parped at us with obnoxiously loud horns.  Their road rage eclipsed the beauty of the quaint little pastel painted houses to such a degree that we only got one photo.


We chose our cafe, the busiest one along the road and went inside.

“Do you have cream teas?” hubs asked in his poshest American accent.

The blank look I received from the server behind the counter spelled trouble!

“Sorry?” she said in her poshest Belgian accent,

“Two cream teas,” I interjected in London English,

“Ah!  No,” she shook her head at me, “no cream teas, we only have milk teas!”

“Then we’ll have two cappuccinos and a piece of cherry cake,” I said delightfully and we went to wait at a table outside.


“What did she say?” asked a confused hubs.

“In essence she said, no cream just milk for the teas!”

Hubs laughed and took a photograph of a car parked alongside us,


“Smart Arse!”  He laughed.

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