With my emotions gradually returning to the semblance of normality, ending my self-imposed hiatus from everything and everybody except the Royal Mail delivery man seems timely. It’s been an intense few months – Japan was unique; full of wonder, endless discoveries, blissful moments and complete and utter heartbreak, hence the hiatus. It’s weird; I feel as though the last three years can be summarised as a relentless period of loss in some shape or form and worse still, always when one least expects it. But onwards we go.
And where better to start one’s recovery than Fortnum & Mason. This is my go-to place for presents (and marshmallows). The products are lovely but it is the packaging which steals the show. The ornate biscuit tins and tea canisters are particular favourites. However, on this occasion, I wasn’t there to shop. Being one of the first people I engaged with in the land of social media three years ago and having travelled all the way from New Zealand, there was no way I could miss the opportunity to meet Michelle. So my tears were wiped away, the blusher came out and off I went to Mayfair to indulge in a spot of afternoon tea.
A couple of sandwich servings later, we found ourselves fawning over the presentation of the clotted cream. Details are so important and as I age my affinity for all things (I deem) British increases – the vintage style dish oozes old-school glamour. The lushness of the cream as it covered my scones and welcomed the strawberry jam had me dreaming of daily Fortnum & Mason reservations. Although Michelle spoke of committing the cardinal scone sin – putting the jam before the clotted cream, to which I threatened to have her deported – we spent just over four hours talking, laughing and eating far too much. A little champagne, single-estate Oolong tea and desserts exquisite enough to have us dreaming of Parisian patisseries, afternoon tea at Fortnum & Mason was everything I had hoped it would be and more. Not too shabby for my first outing since August.
Although I’m not quite myself yet and am certainly not ready to fully jump back into everything, dipping my red-painted toe into the water felt good. Although endings are sad and surprisingly traumatic, I realised that beginnings, such as new friendships, are worth every moment particularly when accompanied by warm scones and tea.