Fancy a Pot of Tea? And cake or baguettes? You could do worse than popping into The Little Tea Shop, opposite St.John's College. It's small and relatively unknown, which means that you're likely to get a seat without having to queue for hours. And it's relatively quiet, which means that you can enjoy the tea, the conversation, AND the ambience, all without getting a sore throat from the shouting. Ah yes, I listed three things, didn't I? Well, the tea is fine. You get to choose between all sorts of different blends, and they don't fuss if you ask for a top-up of hot water for the pot. And the ambience is probably what a tourist might describe as "quaint". Prints of flowers (as well as high-quality artificial blooms) are on sale, and are prominently displayed. Beautiful porcelain is also for sale: and you get to see what it would look like in use because the tea is served from the same range. The building itself is probably only a century or so old, but is attractive nevertheless, with wooden floors and cosy nooks in which to sit. The conversation, though, is up to you! Prices? Well, they're OK. Reasonable. Not cheap, but I suspect that that's the price you pay (literally!) for going to a Tea House. Quality of food is again slightly variable, according, presumably, to which baker they currently use -- from generous portions of luscious cakes to smaller slices of their staler cousins... Service though is very variable. There seems to be a new generation of staff every time I go in, so the turnover must be fairly high: I meet friends there once every couple of months on average. Consequently, the service varies according to the current employee -- from helpful and unobtrusive, to downright sulky, slow, and (yes!) concerned to show off the costume tiara she was wearing. (And no, it didn't suit her). All in all, though, this is a great place to stop if you'
re in need of refreshments in the centre of town, and a good place to arrange to meet up with your friends. Oh yes. And if you want to take your visitors someplace and show off your local geography, this fulfills that function too! :-)