Wednesday 5 March
Today we went to London with Diane and Dag to attend the Ash Wednesday service in Westminster Abbey; the high point is the choir singing Allegri's Miserere, which was unforgettable. And after that exaltation, Diane and Dag made our slide down to earth a luxurious one, by taking us out to Tea (with a capital Tea) at the Ritz.
We started with glasses of champagne while we perused the tea list. We two settled on Ritz Royal English and Darjeeling First Flush, and each of us was supplied with our own silver pot of choice.
Tailcoated waiters filled our elegant three-tier cake stand. Here is Diane inspecting it, though her look of anxiety was only fleeting; it contained all that you might want.
On the bottom were many finger sandwiches, including classic thin-sliced cucumber with cream cheese, dill, and chives on caraway seed bread; cheddar cheese with chutney on onion bread; ham with grain mustard mayonnaise on white; smoked salmon with lemon butter on rye; chicken breast with horseradish cream on white; and egg salad with shallots and watercress on white.
The middle plate had excellent scones, with raisins and without (the ones without had the best sour smack); of course there was strawberry jam and clotted cream to go with them.
And the top contained a macaron, a sort of pink-frosted mallomar, a cream napoleon, and the darkest chocolate-frosted cake with an R button on it. In the meantime, waiters willingly brought more of anything, including fresh-sliced lemon cake and toffee cake.
As we started at 7:30, Tea certainly stood in for dinner; after all that sweetness, no more was needed. An odd way to begin Lent, but we were bowled over by the over-the-top-ness, not to mention the deliciousness, of everything.
So THANK YOU, Diane and Dag, for this lovely day!