Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Tea Trolley: Scotland Teas #1

It's about time that I get back to posting about our Scotland trip. Part of me finds it overwhelming to know where to begin. How do I choose the next part of the trip to share and how do I begin to communicate the depth of emotion that accompanied each day of our trip. Probably best just to get started and share something, even if its not everything!

And what better way to jump back in than to begin with some more tea...... Here's a look at some of my tea pictures from week one.

Tea on arrival. I think Michael and I both wondered what kind of teapot we'd find on the other side of the pond, what sort of mugs, electric kettle, etc. Tea would be such an essential part of our vacation that the equipment is rather important.

I was surprised at the shape of the teapot we found, but it worked fine and the more you use something the fonder you grow of it (unless it isn't working well!). But there was no tea cozy, which is a serious matter. Whipping one up out of nowhere crossed my mind, but there was no time for knitting or stitching. In the end, we made do with some tea towels and there was always the possibility of preheating the teapot with hot water.

I think I mentioned that our hostess, Irene, greeted us with homemade shortbread cookies. Oh they were good!!! And she even made sure there were teabags in the cupboard and milk in the fridge! Another friend specifically sent decaf tea to the airport for me so that I would be sure to have an option ASAP! These things do matter!

One of the best gifts of the sabbatical was having 1 1/2 years to dream and plan for the trip. And one of the most fun preparations of all was sitting down at the computer to order our groceries from here in America a few days before we left. I scrolled through the "aisles" and ordered whatever my heart desired (within reason). And I went a little heavy on the tea.....

Not only did the house come with the hearty grey mugs pictured in the first picture, but there was a mug tree filled with dainty blue and white china mugs. Just lovely! And of course it was time to enjoy as many digestives as we could (also pictured below is the gluten free version).

On a different post I will tell about our return to Airdrie but here is a picture of the window in one of the downtown bakeries. I've always been in love with this window. I think the first day we were in Airdrie 12 years ago we bought a sausage roll from this bakery to remind us we were back in Scotland.

On the afternoon of our Airdrie visit we stopped to do some grocery shopping and have a cup of tea and snack. I loved the little plates of tea that were on offer at the grocery store. In fact, I had to bring home a few little personal pots just like that so I could recreate my own afternoon tea plates. What good value too -- afternoon tea for about $3.75 USD.

More options for tea at the grocery store:

I opted for the decaf tea and the gluten free macaroon which was a little too sweet for my liking. And even though it was UHT milk, somehow that was okay because the taste it created brought back memories.

And here we are at the supermarket. I thought of the times I'd come with Rachel when she was Laura's age and younger. A little mother-daughter outing that was in my budget!

 I was always on the lookout for tea paraphernalia in the charity (thrift) shops. I couldn't believe how the prices had sky rocketed! So many of the things were out of my budget. (Ten years ago I amassed a life-time collection of teacups for what I could only buy about two nice sets for these days.)

Here is a shelf in St. Andrews. I would have liked that brown teapot and I should probably have snagged that metal pot too. Oh well. It was too early in the trip to know that everything would be expensive.

A window in St. Andrews advertising scones. I wish you could understand the size of these things. I especially wanted to try one in the bottom shelf. (We didn't get any from this shop, unfortunately.)

The everyday mugs at our holiday home came in two sizes -- parents and children (probably tea and espresso). Tea is part of our family culture and I'm glad nearly all the children are so eager to participate.

When we first arrived the weather was strangely warmer than it should have been. There was even the chance to enjoy several uses of the patio and table. Perfect loveliness!

But lovely weather is long gone, both here and there! We still have snow on the ground, low temperatures, high winds, and promises of more snow! What a winter! At least there is tea.....


Heather said...

Lovely to get another sweet glimpse into your time away - and the tea! How wonderful!

Anonymous said...

I do enjoy your Scotland travel does have a few perks. LOL
I did receive your email, thank you. I will keep my eyes opened too.
blessings, jill

elizabeth said...

lots of beauty here! :) I am noticing some Gluten Free things here; are you GF? I am not (at least at this point) but am learning to bake for others... :)

Kathy said...

Oh how I love your Scotland posts. I think I live vicariously through you. I am a tea drinker and have been since I was a small child. And I love my British teas.

I have a brown betty teapot, but I packed it away when the kitchen was remodeled and I can't remember where I put it. Now that you reminded me about it, I have to find it!

Donna Lynne said...

Hi heather! I had to look you up and check on your little laura! I am reading your sisters adventures in knitting with elizabeth zimmermann and while reading about the baby bog jacket I learned about your daughter's health problems. Seeing a photo of lovely laura at a tea party with her dolly warmed my heart!
Wishing you continued blessings... God is good!
Donna, Lucca Italy

Anonymous said...

How funny to see supermarket "afternoon teas" in such a light! I think many people here in Scotland would be surprised. It's interesting that your children join you in drinking tea. I have only recently been able to tempt my 16-year-old daughter to try a few herbal teas. Today's hit was Camomile and Maple Syrup (by Twinings)!

HeatherMavis said...

It's so neat that you were able to stock your Scotland "home" before you got there! I love your tea culture.