Tuesday, November 29, 2011

the pause that really refreshes

I was bustling about a blustery downtown. Fitting in personal errands between work errands, trying to keep my receipts straight, and trying to keep the rain out of my eyes and my heels on the slippery sidewalk. It was not a comfortable shopping experience, even though I was in some of my favourite stores doing one of my favourite things - buying bits for creative projects. I was tired, cold, nervous of my slippery boots sending me gracelessly flying, and suddenly aware I'd skipped lunch. 

And then I peered through the window of a creamy, inviting haven. A real English-style (a la Victoria) tea shop in the heart of Chinatown. i've been trying to drink  more tea and less coffee, and this seemed like perfection a I peered through the window. As soon as I stepped inside, the world calmed. It was warm, dry, the epitome of welcoming, and brimming with charm. I actually squealed a little when I saw the stacks of real China tea cups & saucers balanced beside shelves of China tea pots of all sizes and designs. Classic bikes line the high walls, their baskets stuffed with bright red roses. 

I ordered a treat - how often do you see flourless chocolate cake that's actually cake, not fudge? - and it was the perfect accompaniment to a steeped pot of loose leaf blueberry black tea. The shop was empty when I came in, but soon a grandma and her adorable 3 or 4 year old grand-daughter entered and order their own pots of tea and a little plate of cookies to share. Grandma taught her protege how to hold the strainer, how long to let the tea sit. They chatted about her little sister, and coming there some day with her. As we sat, one of the owners brought around a tray of warm-from-the-oven ginger cookies ... so sad for me to have to refuse.

I can't think of a nicer way to spend a few minutes re-freshing, re-charging, and resuming the day. The decor was so homey and quaint and the owners/servers seemed to genuinely care about their products and their  customers' experiences there. I don't often write 'business reviews' and that's not exactly my intention here. I just wanted to share with you a perfect moment in an otherwise blustery, chilly, harried day. I can't wait to take STG there ... soon!

If you're in Victoria and looking for a great afternoon break, why not pop into Venus Sophia for a little spot of peace. 

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