Saturday, April 23, 2011

A better Birhday celebration at the Whitehall Hotel

This year the event that should have been planned for last year was planned and executed, not perfectly, but close enough (I hope).  Jo had wanted to have a cream tea with all the family at a posh restaurant.  We'd looked at the prices and decided that it could not be afforded.  I found a nice restaurant and we went out for a meal, except it was not such a nice restaurant.  This year there had been various discussions about afternoon tea in the papers.  I was a little wary.  Still I booked the Whitehall Hotel for Sunday afternoon tea.  I'd discussed it with the girls and then let the boys know.  I left telling Jo's mum until the last minute.  My sister and her children came, unfortunately Jo's sister was on holiday, so couldn't make it.

Its quite a long drive (about 50 minutes), with Mike in the car complaining that he's missing football on the TV and moaning about being stuck in the car for such a long time it seemed a lot longer.  The North Essex countryside is a lovely place to be in the warmest April I can remember.  The Sat Nav took us straight there.  Some of our party had to rely on maps and took a lot longer to find it.  It is 'in the middle of nowhere'. 
It didn't look too impressive.  I was starting to worry.

We arrived about 10 minutes early and were led into the restaurant.  We explained that there were still 4 to come.  Drinks were delivered and soon the sandwich course came out, some were held back waiting for the other guests to arrive. Two more arrived and then after some 'phone calls, one made from the hotel phone, because mobile reception is very poor, which we were not charged for, the final two arrived.  The remaining sandwiches were delivered and the champagne was brought out. 

We sang 'Happy Birthday'  and I took a few pictures.  Our waiter offered to take a picture of us all  Here it is:
The cakes were delivered shortly afterwards.  If the sandwiches were nice (very nice), the cakes were out of this world.  All but the Danish slices are made in the hotel - our compliments to the chef.  There was plenty of tea and coffee.  After we had eaten we sat in the garden for a while.  It was still very warm and comfortable in the garden.  The only interruptions to the peaceful countryside were planes leaving Stansted Airport, which is only a couple of mile away.

A really enjoyable afternoon.

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