Halcyon days of jam

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MOUSEHOLE: Most memorable cream tea in a pub garden overlooking the harbour.

AFTER 10 years in Spain, I have never lost my love for the English countryside; the quirkiness of our traditions and the incredible history of our islands.

Nor during the long hot summer months here, have I lost the desire for my all- time favourite English cream tea, with freshly baked scones, home-made strawberry jam and thick lashings of rich clotted cream. 

I have enjoyed them in Berkshire, Devonshire and the Lake District. I’ve had them in Suffolk and Wales and once in a Japanese tea house in the Cotswolds. 

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 But it is still Cornwall that invokes my fondest memories.

A bit like that first fumble behind the bike sheds, I have always remembered my very first one, partaken in the town of Falmouth.  

The cream tea, not the fumble.

It was such a tasty introduction to my new life in Cornwall, I immediately ordered another.  

A massive mistake.  

The fourth scone and jam topped with a cushion sized dollop of cream, proved to be a step too far.

 I felt decidedly green as I made for the exit between tables packed with devotees, purposefully keeping my eyes averted, looking neither to jammy left nor creamy right.  

It was a just reward for my gluttony.

Although the ingredients for this most English of English delicacies can be obtained here in Spain, location is paramount in order to enjoy the experience to the maximum.  And for me this means a country garden or waterside setting in the Mother country.

If the day is warm with a clear blue sky and our avian friends are in evidence singing their feathered backsides off, then we have my idea of perfection.

My most memorable cream tea therefore was in a pub garden overlooking the harbour in the achingly pretty fishing village of Mousehole – pronounced Mouzal.

We had sampled the famous Star Gazey Pie at lunch – the one with pilchards head-butting their way to freedom through the crust – and had decided that it would be a fine ending to the day to overindulge in a clotted cream tea.

With the luscious platter set before us and the wonderful ambience created in that idyllic setting, it was a snapshot in time of an unforgettable interlude – and only slightly marred by the seagull poop on my polo shirt.

Colin can be contacted by email on [email protected].

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