One thing that I love about my job – besides the copious amounts of holidays – is the fact that I finish at 3.20pm on the dot. Working in London, this was never the deal and I often sagged out of the revolving doors of my office at 7pm, arriving home grumpy and highly irritated from the hour-and-a-half-fight that is the commute.
Working in a school allows me a life outside of working hours. I have not only an evening to enjoy but an afternoon. And so every now and again, as a treat to myself, I use these chunks of time, to see friends and catch up with the people in my life that I haven’t seen for some time.
And so, last Tuesday I caught the train to Victoria to meet my lovely friend Maddy, who I met a few Christmas ago, when we both worked at Waterstones’ in Piccadilly. Those Waterstones’ days were wonderful ones, the staffroom a fort of books, an unstable jenga tower of tales. And as we rested our feet on the cracked leather sofas during our breaks, we built a friendship, upon the mutual love of books, tea and cake. A friendship built to last.
Now that our Waterstones’ days are sadly behind us, we host our catch ups at our new favourite haunt. Peggy Porschen’s cake shop in Lower Belgravia. If you’re in the area, and you’re looking for a pink, sweet and sugary oasis in the bustling heart of London, then look no further. It’s an absolute delight and we’ve been more times than I can count.
They sell the most delicious cupcakes in exciting and delicious flavours, complete with scrumptious frosting turrets and salted caramel or homemade jam centres. The ideal snack, even better when accompanied with a hot, cup of earl grey. Also the crockery is so pretty, in mismatched pastel shades of yellow, green and pink.
On this visit, I opted for my favourite of Peggy’s perfect treats, the salted caramel cupcake, complete with salted caramel centre. It was divine and was made even sweeter by the company I was in. Maddy and I, spent the afternoon chatting and nibbling, collecting up the crumbs of our cakes with eager fingers and exchanging snippets of life’s recent best bits. Sitting outside Peggy Porchens’s, at a table on street level was a great excuse to people watch. Practically everyone walking about Lower Belgravia (with perhaps, the exception of us) seems to be extremely posh. They appear to be decked out in designer clothes, from shops that I wouldn’t even be able to afford a single button in. Their noses appreared inclined, turned upwards in disdain at the commoners that might wander their way. But for a moment, on our concrete platform, raised slightly off the ground, we felt half-civilized, passable, in fact, as Lower Belgravian’s (well, at a glance…from several metres away). We’re the ladies who eat cake in the late afternoon sunshine, skipping the etiquette of dinner. After filling each other in on any riveting life developments, we said our goodbyes, pencilling in another time to pop into Peggy’s for tea.
This summer I am filled with a gratitude for long warm evenings, in which I can eat cake and drink tea with a great friend. For the small joys of an afternoon off, to use as I please.