My passion for tea drinking began at the tender age of ten when my Mum and I made a train pilgrimage into the big smoke (all of a 30 minute journey) for a day of shopping. Morning tea or "Mornos" has and will always be a huge part of my Mum's day. Along with breakfast, second breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea (yes..."Arvos") and dinner. No she's not the size of a house, nor a hobbit...she just loves food and I thank her for passing this fabulous pastime onto me.
Morning tea in Brisbane City could only be at one place, the Shingle Inn (not the dodgy replicas popping up in shopping centres...but the first!). Picture original wooden booths, silver sugar bowls and tea pots, lemon meringue pie with a cloud of white mallowy heaven and a giant dollop of cream. Waitresses clad in "shower cap" hats and matching frocks seated you, took your order and presented your chosen morsels with every conceivable utensil (silver of course) needed to indulge. Mum told stories of past visits with her mother. A time when ladies wore gloves and hats....Mum, however, always ahead of her time was wearing hotpants and knee high boots and a bouffant bob with a kiss curl (stuck down with sticky tape the night before)!
As I grew up, and uni and work took me closer to the city, the Shingle Inn still remained a heavenly sanctuary to sip tea, munch on mini lemon curd tarts and crack open a newly purchased Vogue. But then.....a catastrophe so horrendous occurred.....they closed it!!! All the original fittings, the china, the silverware....even the uniforms were boxed up as the building was renovated. O.K. it was replaced with Louis Vuitton and Tiffany but oh how my heart ached for city trips with Bijou playing ladies one day. Followed by red patent leather sandal buying in David Jones for my girl just like my Mumma had done for me.
There has been a little dark place in my heart for the last five years or so where the Shingle Inn used to burn...that is until the wonderful news that it will again shine in a new home with all the original loveliness. City Hall will now be the proud governess of my beloved tea drinking spot and I simply can not wait!!!
In homage to this fabulous news I thought I'd share my ever growing collection of tea cups. I use them every day and never pay too much for them. Yes, tears are shed when a special favourite is broken but things this gorgeous should not be gathering dust in a display cabinet. Nothing is quite so lovely as a dishrack filled with sherbet coloured cups, saucers and plates. It also means I've had lots of cups of tea that day too...bliss!
Why not dig out your favourite cup and saucer and have a cuppa while you meander through all the loveliness at Sophie's. I might just join you.