On a cold wintry Saturday afternoon what could be nicer than to sit by a roaring fire in The Palm Court at the Grand Hotel in Eastbourne, listening to lovely music played by a quartet. Three rather lugubrious elderly men on piano, ‘cello and double bass (the double bass player was wearing spats – I have never seen a man in spats before). The leader was a very glamorous lady dressed 1920s style, a black velvet band round her hair with a tall feathery plume ascending from it. She was very lively, literally dancing as she played her violin, quite a contrast to her companions who seemed to take it all extremely seriously.
The music was light and cheerful, Lehar and Johann Strauss and music from shows. While enjoying the music there was good hot tea and delicious little cream cakes (they call them pastries at The Grand) and everyone sat round in big arm chairs dozing in the warmth of that blazing log fire. What luxury!
My poem “Tea at the Ritz” was entirely imaginary but I really did have tea and music in The Palm Court at The Grand. So I repeat – what luxury!