When we head off to try a new tea room in a place we are visiting, the chances are we might never visit that place again.
So, I wonder, should we warn them of our impending visit?
On one hand, it’s a more authentic experience if we don’t.
But really, is that fair?
In Thaxted, UK, two weeks ago, we found a wonderful tea shop. After we asked “What tea do you have” the answer started with an apologetic “Well, we only serve loose leaf tea…” .
That wouldn’t happen if we planned ahead.
Also we have often missed out on meeting the owner who is having a day off/undergoing a quadruple bypass/ being knighted/ fighting a wildfire / addressing Congress etc: i.e. all stuff that they would have put off had they known we were coming.
There is a downside, though, of signalling our intentions.
It’s not the bonfires out the back burning all the teab*gs and the cancellation of all staff leave so the silverware can be extra well polished. Those things are perfectly sensible.
It’s that I don’t like too much of a fuss being made.
So, here’s my list of what I think is a reasonable, low-key reaction to a visit by myself and Lady Devotea, if you have notice.
- Make sure you have excellent tea in hand, of course, and a selection of pastries and cakes. I’d expect that to be a normal state of affairs anywhere we care to visit.
- Limit the press to just a couple of hand-picked local journalists
- Go for a small brass band, not a large one. Let’s not overdo it.
- A red carpet is not essential, but if you insist…
- Any plaque you have made to commemorate the occasion should be tasteful, not overly large and showy.
- Some form of crowd control if the visit is well publicised.
So, just a few simple suggestions, to be helpful. I’m like that.
Is that a brass band I can hear?