Tea at Sissinghurst Castle

Sissinghurst Castle

Originally uploaded by Mr_Chips

The Ravenous Rambler managed a short visit today to Sissinghurst Castle in Kent. This is one of my favourite places. I used to be a fan of the writings of Harold Nicolson when I was young and am now a fan of Adam Nicolson.
It’s a castle that exists in ruins. There is a tower and some of the old walls and a moat. The gardens are the most beautiful in England. There are formal sections and a rough hewn meadow towards the back leading to the moat, where there are bee hives and a dovecot. There are surprise views and long vistas with a statue placed at the end point. In the distant is the Weald of Kent. A perfect place you might think for a ramble and to dream, sketch and write. It would be if the tea arrangements were satisfactory but I have to report that there are some failings.
Fisrt, let me explain that there is a formal restaurant where I am sure they serve tea in china pots. It was just after lunchtime so I headed for the coffee shop and picked up a slice of unnamed cake and a cup of tea. I was shocked that they served the tea in a cardboard cup! They didn’t have red-bush tea so I settled for the normal English blend. Milk was added for me from the plastic bottle. I had put the cake on a china plate but this was substituted at the till for a polystyrene plate. I found somewhere outside to eat and drink – there were some shady seats but I sat by myself on the grass looking out to the house and watching the swallows take long sweeping dives in front of me. The tea tasted OK at first until I had drunk half of it to discover that there was a tea bag in the bottom so the last half was too strong to drink. How standards have slipped.