High tea at the Fife Arms

We did something special for Elizabeth today to commemorate her finishing primary school and starting high school. She somehow missed both the beginning and the end of primary school and I know she was upset about missing the end.

When we first moved to the UK in October 2014, year 1 primary school had begun in August. In New Zealand she wasn’t due to start year 1 until January the following year but instead was thrown straight in full-time in the second term after everyone else had already gone through the transition into full time school. I can remember leaving her alone at this new school in a new city and a new country where we didn’t know anyone and she seemed so little. But she took it all in her stride and was proud to be a big school kid. Here she is back in year 1.

Here she is today.

She went all the way through to year 6 at the same school but then the pandemic struck and we switched to an online school and have stuck with it. Her online school follows the English curriculum and holidays which only just started this week. Meanwhile her old school mates finished year 7 several weeks ago. They had a celebratory activity at a trampoline park which Elizabeth was really sad to miss out on and so we decided to do something special just for her and that something special was high tea at the Fife Arms.

The kids were more excited leading up to this than before any of our swimming and hiking adventures. The Fife Arms is an experience to remember. There’s a different Picasso in the drawing room since we last visited.

They can do a vegan high tea which is what Ben and I had.

Elizabeth spent a very long time trying to decide which tea to get.

Daniel went with hot chocolate.

I think she was pleased with her selection of goodies.

Here’s the vegan version which was delicious.

It was really too much food for us but the lovely staff at the restaurant packaged up our leftovers so we could bring it home. We sat in the Clunie Dining Room which overlooks the garden at the back of the hotel on one side and the Clunie River on the other. The interior of the restaurant was decorated by Argentinian artist, Guillermo Kuitca. You can see the walls he painted behind us in this next photo. Apparently those geometric shapes are typical of his style.

It was a truly special event in a lovely setting with delicious food and great company.

8 Replies to “High tea at the Fife Arms”

  1. Congratulations, Elizabeth! I’d take high tea at a fancy hotel over a trampoline park anytime! But that’s just me. 😉

    I hope Elizabeth enjoyed her treats; it’s been a hard year for many people, schoolchildren more so than most of us. I heard from a couple of former students who were grieving over not being able to say goodbye to their classmates because their in-person high school graduation ceremony was canceled. (I worked with these students when they were in elementary school, so it was also a sharp reminder of how long I’ve worked in education, as well as a poignant one about how quickly children grow up.) I’ve been wondering how the pandemic and online classes would affect this generation of students: my sense is those with plenty of resources and involved parents at home (like yours!) will do fine. The ones who suffered greatest are the children whose parents/adult caregivers are poorly educated themselves and who can’t afford the technology to make online schooling work. Public schools were supposed to be the great equalizer in providing every young person with the opportunity to build a successful life; it all falls apart however, when the students don’t even have the common meeting place of the classroom and the resources provided by their schools. (The school I worked at before retiring provided free breakfasts and lunches for low-income students, as well as a library and a computer lab.) The new school year, which starts next month in most of the US, will be full of trepidations and uncertainty. For you and your family, I hope the coming school year will bring joy and discovery, which are what childhood should be about.

    1. Yes, I’m 100% with you on the high tea over the trampoline park. We have a trampoline in our back yard anyway so she can jump whenever she wants.

      The education students have been getting here during the pandemic has been really variable. So much depends on how tech-savvy the school is and they’re luddites at Elizabeth’s old school. This has meant children have fallen way behind and missed out on so much teaching over the past year. Even when schools were open there were problems because with entire classes having to self-isolate whenever someone tested positive. We really don’t regret putting the kids in the online school at all as they haven’t missed out on any of their education. But we do have to pay for it and although it’s not nearly as expensive as a private school it’s out of reach for many people.

  2. Ironically there is a big build up every (non-pandemic) year to a “moving on” parade around Lewes which is apparently supposed to form part of every child’s fondest memories for life, however Rhiannon really hated primary school so doesn’t revisit any memories of it. Whereas it is lovely to know that your children are enjoying their educational experience so much. Tea as a meal out is by far my favourite because it is so leisurely and the surroundings are so much a part of it, and there so so much to wonder at. And it is easy to box up the leftovers. Good choice!

    1. Did the “moving on” parade take place this year or did they have to cancel because of the pandemic? That is a nice tradition though and sounds like it doesn’t involve having to pay for expensive activites.

  3. Lovely to see Elizabeth with her little pinky out. I suppose with Hot Chocolate, Daniel doesn’t need to!

    1. I think deep down Elizabeth would have preferred a hot chocolate too but she wanted to be grown up and drink tea.

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