Down to a tea
When partaking of a piping-hot cup of tea and a crumblingly delicious slice of cake, where better to indulge than in the Cotswolds? Kevin Pilley takes a tour of the region’s finest teashops
TAKING afternoon tea is a very British artform—some would even call it a ritual. There is a definite etiquette to proceedings and, at Aunt Martha’s tearoom in Drybrook, Gloucestershire, there are small tomes on the tables instructing customers on their behaviour: ‘Of paramount importance, one must ensure that your hostess remembers your attendance because of your repartee and not because of the stains you left on the tablecloth.’
It isn’t only the bigger picture that’s of concern at Aunt Martha’s either: ‘First and foremost never hold your teacup with your little finger extended. This is improper. The bottom of the handle should rest on your third finger.’ The card further counsels adding milk first to save the bone china and always taking the cup to the pot, not the pot to the cup. You must stir soundlessly. And never swirl. Or slosh.
When performing such a ritual, setting is everything and the staff at this Forestof-dean establishment take their role very seriously indeed. The moment you step through the door, you’re transported back in time to 1897, the year of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and greeted by proprietress Mrs Martha Treherne and her workers in