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Sunday, July 20, 2008

Book of the Week: "Margaret Thornby’s Guide to Tea Rooms of Britain"

In light of my recent discovery of Margaret Thornby’s UK “Tea and Tea Room Talk” magazine, my “Book(s) of the Week” this week are her wonderful tearoom guides.

Margaret Thornby has spent more than fifteen years (in cognito!) researching, visiting, and writing about tea rooms. Her first guide was written in 1995 and her latest 4th edition was published in 2006. Her books are concise and informative. She lists tearoom name, address, telephone number, location, opening times, parking – and information on access (i.e., Flat? Ramp? Stairs? If so, how many?) which is very helpful to many people.

Even if you aren't planning a trip to the UK, these guides - especially for the Anglophile - are a joy to read. Who wants to take tea in Cornwall at The Rectory Farm Tearooms? This tea room is set in a 13th century building where stone floors, beams, a huge fireplace, traditional tables and settles create a proper farmhouse atmosphere....or how about tea in East Sussex at The Singing Kettle, housed within a 15th century smugglers cottage looking out over the medieval high street? Do you see what I mean? This is superb reading for tearoom junkies like myself!!

I learned something very interesting in reading her guides and that is that tearooms pay a fee to be listed in the “other” UK tearoom guides. While she doesn’t mention any names, it appears she is referring to the UK Tea Council’s/AA tea guides.

Can you imagine a better profession than visiting (and eating in!) hundreds of tea rooms across Britain? I certainly can't!!!
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