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Wednesday, 24 December 2003

Tea at the Ritz


It's a weirdly mild, warm Christmas in London. I walked to the tube feeling like a librarian in a purple tweed dress suit, stolen from Wickedex's wardrobe (which JatB likened somehow to necrophilia), blue hornrimmed librarian specs and a teeny red handbag. Boarding the second tube, after running from the first one squealing, librarianishly, that it was the wrong line, I proceeded to immerse myself in a tale of how if Clinton had fucked that intern in the arse, she'd never have told on him to Linda Tripp. That his real problem was forgetting how to Mafiosise his extra curricular shags by embarrassing people enough to keep their mouths shut.
Yeah, what I thought, I ended up reading someone's philosophy periodical's interview with Phillip Pullman instead.
At the Ritz, we had to ask where the Palm Court was, as the ten humongous Christmas trees rather obscured the view of mirrored doors and surfaces in every direction. We were shown to a table by penguined chaps (the table at the front of this picture), and proceeded to beat even the vicar two tables to the left with consumption of four tiers of crust-free finger food, dairy cakes, and petit fours.
Moving on from four silver teapots of Earl Grey to champagne, we and the toothless colonel parked outside the ladies powder room voted all the old dears in the place into rank order. We earnestly and delicately discussed tea, blogs, NYE Resolutions (never make them till November), voyeurs, Joe Pesci, sex, Colonel Peacock, friends, Duch's erratic love life, the other customers, Mr Bean, shoes, how to throttle a man to death between your thighs, Maccers, Viagra, fake tan, the toothless colonel's teeth, stockings, the King William College Quiz, SarahSpace's diet pills, parents of restricted height, the downbeat ending to Saturday Night Fever, neighbours, insanity, stiletto heels, and invisible non-existent children.
Afternoon tea passed, the Sinatraesque pianist shook off his geriatric stalker, and a crowd of choristers manifested themselves beyond the china crockery, to serenade us with Victorian carolling.
The second sitting of late afternoon tea began, and the ladies' dresses began to veer away from the matching tweeds and pearls, into flounces, taffeta and finery. JatB and I whiled away another two hours trying to spot Belle de Jour (there were around five hundred possible contenders).
A string quartet replaced the choristers, to hard stares and resounding unpopularity from all except the sudden influx of little girls wearing party dresses who wanted to waltz across the floor at the speed of Wonder Woman (by waltz, I mean jump up and down wiggling your arse in mid air, naturellement). The lights dimmed. The penguins in red waistcoats allowed themselves a giggle at the running hordes of gaudily frocked children. Cocktail hour began.
Polishing off the champagne, we began to look out of place, what without obvious plastic surgery, clothing unslashed to the thigh, and - the toothless colonel had left - no rich fat ugly bloke bankrolling the taffeta; we decided to walk along Piccadilly, past Eros, Leicester Square, and to look at the tree in Trafalgar Square, before going home.
The National Gallery had been lit up to resemble a particularly ugly Christmas present, although thankfully Big Ben and Nelson's Column had escaped the horror. Everywhere, in the sweltering mildness, tourists were decked in wintry bobble hats, ski jackets and scarves. Jumping onto the Bakerloo line, there was no giant flea, just a tattered copy of the Metro telling us the startlingly obvious: the tube strike had been cancelled. The beggars and buskers continued to ply their trades, regardless.
I'm definitely doing tea at the Ritz next Christmas Eve.

This page graced by sarsparilla at 11:18 PM GMT
Updated: Wednesday, 24 December 2003 11:31 PM GMT
Post Comment | View Comments (18) | Permalink | Share This Post

Thursday, 25 December 2003 - 2:22 AM GMT

Name: Lux
Home Page: http://www.shylux.blogspot.com

That sounded like a marvellous time!

It's foggy and pouring rain here. Maybe God has it confused with Noah's Ark Day. oh well. Have a Merry Christmas, Librarian Vanessa!

Thursday, 25 December 2003 - 9:59 AM GMT

Name: billy
Home Page: http://billyworld.typepad.com

...so you had cucumber sarnies AND beef ones :^)...4 pots of tea???...no wonder you noticed the colonel sat by the powder room :^)...
...happy day to day :^) - eat chocolate :^)...

Thursday, 25 December 2003 - 10:00 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Not a chance in the world that I'd be able to avoid it. Merry Day!

Thursday, 25 December 2003 - 10:03 AM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Foggy sounds lovely. I shall be wearing sweaters and bobble hats regardless of the heat today - [Yul Brynner] Tradition! [/Yul Brynner]

Thursday, 25 December 2003 - 1:03 PM GMT

Name: miss fee
Home Page: http://glitterqueer.blogspot.com

hey... i don;t think i get the 'christmas present'??

Thursday, 25 December 2003 - 5:22 PM GMT

Name: billy
Home Page: http://billyworld.typepad.com

...hang on...*tradition* is the cry of tevye in fiddler on the roof...and that has to be topol not yul brynner!!!!...I love my musicals :^)...

Thursday, 25 December 2003 - 6:02 PM GMT

Name: Inspector Sands
Home Page: http://www.casino-avenue.co.uk

Sounds excellent - merry Christmas :-)

Thursday, 25 December 2003 - 6:26 PM GMT

Name: sarah

what a fantastic way to spend new years eve! Have a good one pet, and thankyou again for the prezzie, I am now going to try reading it sober.

Friday, 26 December 2003 - 12:23 AM GMT

Name: Sie

I read this some time ago and seem to recall that you had some sort of time travelling incident but I cn't remember tye details at the momet fo some reason.

Happy whyatever

Friday, 26 December 2003 - 12:21 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Oooh, buggery, you're right! Topol rules.

Friday, 26 December 2003 - 12:23 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Sounds like you imbibed a bit of ye auld Christmas Spirit there, Sie.... Merry Christmas!

Friday, 26 December 2003 - 12:23 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

New Year's Eve? There's an idea. I actually got invited on a date on NYE, but I'm too scared to go.....

Friday, 26 December 2003 - 12:25 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Back atcha - yours is my favourite newly discovered blog, despite Creepy having recommended it about a zillion times.

Friday, 26 December 2003 - 12:26 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Oh, sorry, Miss Fee - I think perhaps my Liqueur - stuffing had started working early....

Friday, 26 December 2003 - 2:57 PM GMT

Name: paul
Home Page: http://noxturne.blogspot.com

Sweet! That sounds awesome! You didnt' dance though?

Friday, 26 December 2003 - 6:47 PM GMT

Name: sarah

Oh dear, had I started on the Kronenburgs when I wrote that? Quite clearly my addled brain meant Christmas Eve.

You only live once, go on the date. You know you want to really :P

Saturday, 27 December 2003 - 7:43 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Nuh-uhhhh - I'm too petrified. My Resolution was to go out with gels more, but I don't have to do that until the day after, and ya cain't make meeeeeeee....

Saturday, 27 December 2003 - 7:45 PM GMT

Name: Vanessa

Nobody was *meant* to dance, but the little kids were too wedding-stylee-hyped not to leap up and down on the spot and cut some Michael J Fox style rugs.

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