To celebrate The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow‘s publication on 4 June, we headed to Harrods this week, for a lovely afternoon tea at the Georgian Restaurant.
It really was the perfect place to celebrate the book – from the piano music to the silver teapots, we could almost have been in the restaurant of Sinclair’s Department Store itself!
The tea was perfect – dainty finger sandwiches, delicious cakes, perfect scones, rose petal jam and even a trifle in a jam jar to finish with.
Afternoon tea features heavily in Book 2, the sequel to Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow, which I’ve been busy writing recently – what better way to do research for a book than tucking into these delights?
Here’s me and my lovely publicist Maggie, who organised the afternoon tea (and is kind of hiding behind the giant cake stand!)
Thanks Maggie and Egmont for a truly delightful Clockwork Sparrow celebration!
To celebrate the book contract, my lovely publishers Egmont took me for a delicious afternoon tea at The Wolseley on Piccadilly. The grand Edwardian-style surroundings couldn’t have been a more perfect environment to celebrate The Clockwork Sparrow.
The above picture of me signing on the dotted line comes courtesy of my agent Louise: not pictured, the immense quantity of cakes we had devoured immediately beforehand.
No trip to Scotland would be complete without a day trip to Edinburgh, one of my favourite cities.
Though I missed out on the festival this year, there was still plenty to do and see – and having made a resolution to take more photos I can include here on the blog, I thought it would be fun to document our day out with the camera. As you’ll see I’ve had mixed success, but I’m getting better!
We started out with coffee and delicious cinnamon buns at Peter’s Yard, a Scandinavian-style cafe near the university area of the city, which is great for people-watching and also happens to sell the best crispbread ever.
The next stop was the recently refurbished National Museum of Scotland on Chambers Street. Including everything from science to nature, world cultures to Scottish history, this incredibly comphrehensive museum is a great place to explore, and really does have something for everyone – from elephants and flying fish to maps of the stars! Recently we were also lucky enough to be treated to a tasty afternoon tea up in the top floor restaurant, which has beautiful views of Edinburgh’s spires and rooftops.
Whenever I come to Edinburgh, I always enjoy visiting the Fruitmarket, a small but beautifully-formed contemporary art gallery with a great exhibitions programme and a tiny cafe.
On this visit, we spent ages browsing in the lovely bookshop, which has a great selection of contemporary art and art theory books, as well as such delights as Gemma Correll greetings cards, zines by local artists, polaroid cameras, picture books and Tunnock’s teacake badges, before taking a look at their current exhibition – a solo exhibition of work by Ingrid Calame, which had been part of this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival.
Across the road we took a peep at one of this year’s Edinburgh Art Festival commissions – Martin Creed’s Work No. 1059 which has transformed the Scotsman’s Steps. (I didn’t take any pictures of this one for some reason, but you can see some images here).
As evening approached, we thought about going to one of our favourite Edinburgh bars, Ecco Vino on Cockburn Street, but instead ended up going to see a film before ending the day with a meal at Seadogs, a new discovery.
This laid-back restaurant on Rose Street specialises in (you guessed it) fish and seafood, and also has several sister venues close by – the original Dogs restaurant serving up hearty gastropub fare, Dogs Amore (Italian food) and Underdogs (a basement bar). I ate moule frites followed by this rather epic (if badly photographed) syrup sponge pudding to share. What better end to a delightful Edinburgh day?
The map at the top of this post is a detail from artist J. Maizlish’s beautiful map, Sites of the Edinburgh Art Festival 2011, which was also one of this year’s festival commissions. You can download a copy of the map here, or see the original in Edinburgh at the Ingleby Gallery
My still-unwritten dissertation is stalking me… I won’t be able to avoid it for much longer, but in a last-ditch procrastination effort, I’m drinking coffee and looking at these beautiful breakfast pictures from the Bowhaus flickr photostream (via daydream lily and lovelorn unicorn) – the perfect viewing ‘fodder’ (arf arf) for a Sunday morning:
Pink goop on toast and Coco Pops with strawberries is most definitely where it’s at.
[all photos from the Bowhaus flickr photostream]
I can’t really talk about lovely things without mentioning tea and nice teacups. I like this quote from Barbara Pym’s Excellent Women, which I read over the weekend:
Perhaps there can be too much making of cups of tea, I thought as I watched Miss Statham filling the heavy tea-pot. We had all had our supper, or were supposed to have had it, and were met together to discuss the arrangements for the Christmas bazaar. Did we really need a cup of tea? I even said as much to Miss Statham and she looked at me with a hurt, almost angry look. “Do we need tea?” she ecohed. “But Miss Lathbury…” She sounded puzzled and distressed, and I began to realise that my question had struck at something deep and fundamental. It was the kind of question that starts a landslide in the mind.
I mumbled something about making a joke and that of course one needed tea always, at every hour of the day and night.
This is my favourite cinnamon tea with cardamom, ginger, cloves and black peppercorns. I also like this one which comes in a pretty box. However, my favourite of all is weak earl grey (no milk of course) in a teacup, ideally with a slice of cake on the side. I think Barbara Pym would approve.
I came across Tea Blog, an interesting web-based project by artist Ellie Harrison, via Mark Robinson’s Arts Counselling blog, which is well worth a read – one of his definitions of ‘strategic’ as ‘really, really big and expensive’ nearly made me snort tea everywhere. Anyway, each time Ellie drinks a cup of tea (or any other hot drink) she records a snippet of what she is thinking about on the blog. Since 1 January 2006 when the project started, she has gathered over 1,500 thoughts online in a tribute to tea and thought. Tea Blog is due to end at midnight on 31 December 2008.