Perry Goes to Tea

Dear bear friends:

What a happy day we've had I couldn't wait to rush back to our hotel room to tell you ALL about it. Now, you may be asking: "Whatever do teddy bears DO in London?" I will tell you: we go out to tea!

Actually, this morning, I thought we wouldn't do ANYTHING. Miss Cynthia and The Doctor would NOT get up. They slept and slept and slept, long past the time

they usually wake up. I was getting quite worried! At one point, I took my paw and rolled up Miss Cynthia's eyelid. She batted at me, sleepily, and said, "Cut it OUT, Perry", so I knew she was all right. I sighed, and leaned back against the pillow to wait for her to wake up.

Goodness! It was after NOON when they finally woke up. I asked Miss Cynthia why they had been so silly, sleeping and sleeping when we could be exploring London. That's when Miss Cynthia explained all about jet lag.

Jet lag. Poor humans! When they travel in airplanes for long distances, their bodies take a day or two to adjust to the new time zone of the place they're visiting. This makes them cross or cranky or very, very sleepy. I'm glad I'm made of stuffing, and needn't worry about such things!

In any event, soon Miss Cynthia and The Doctor were up and dressed and ready for the day but it was already 2 p.m.! Miss Cynthia tucked me into a corner of her handbag, and took special care to wrap a nice warm scarf around me, because the weather in London is cold and damp.

First thing, we stopped to get some English money. It was very confusing!

The British call their money "pounds" and "pence", not "dollars" and "cents" as we Americans say. A pound is worth about $1.50 in American money. I giggled, naughtily, when I heard how the British refer to "pence" they call it "pee"! A newspaper seller will say, "London Times, that'll be fifty pee!". When I giggle, Miss Cynthia pokes me with her elbow and says, "Hush UP, Perry!"

Supplied with lots of pounds and pence, we stepped out into the street from our hotel. The weather was cool and damp, and the buildings were very beautiful. Many buildings are quite old in London, and even newer buildings LOOK like they might be old. London is very beautiful, and I enjoyed our walk.

Miss Cynthia says if you want to learn more about London, ask your Mommy to type this address in a Web address box:

Soon, we turned a corner and walked into the Underground. The London Underground is a big set of tunnels under the city. You take speedy little trains from one place to another, and it is lots of fun. First, you buy a ticket from a special machine, and it costs one pound and 10 pee (hee-hee-hee-hee-OUCH! Miss Cynthia!). Bears can ride for free!

Then you send your ticket through a little slot, and it lets you through a doorway. Next come the escalators and they are SO steep and long. I wanted to slide all the way to the bottom on the slick, shiny dividers between the escalators, but Miss Cynthia wouldn't let me. She never lets me have ANY fun!

At the end of the escalators, we found the platform for our little train.

Look! Here it comes! You can tell a train is coming, because wind rushes through the tunnel ahead of it. My fur was blown straight back! The train pulled up, the doors opened, and we all hopped onboard.

Very, very quickly, we arrived at our stop and left the train. This time, the escalators went UP, and I was very glad I didn't have to climb all those stairs. Soon, we were back out in the cool, damp London air. I enjoyed my first ride on the London Underground!

Miss Cynthia and The Doctor decided to walk around a little bit. We went to Trafalgar Square: a big, open square with lots of statues in it. There also are lots of people, and LOTS of PIGEONS! British children love to visit Trafalgar Square to feed the pigeons. A little stand sells small cups of pigeon food, and you can see giant flocks of HUNDREDS of pigeons, maybe even THOUSANDS of pigeons milling around, eating the food.

The pigeons are very tame, and very, very FAT. When they're not eating, they sit on all the statues, even the tallest statue of Lord Nelson!

Miss Cynthia wouldn't let me feed them, though! She was mad at the pigeons, because one of them made a mess on her new coat. I was very disappointed. Miss Cynthia gets excited about the oddest things!

I looked at the children who had a NICE Mommy who let them feed the pigeons.

The children were dressed a little bit differently from my American friends. Boys wear little short pants, even though it is very cold outside!

Both boys and girls wear special school blazers, most of them with a little necktie, because many British children wear school uniforms. They like to wear Dr. Marten shoes, and it does look a little bit strange to see those big, black clunky shoes on a girl in a blazer, wool skirt and necktie!

Still, it was very nice to see how the children are dressed. It almost made up for Miss Cynthia's very annoying refusal to let me have some pigeon food and feed the pigeons! My friend Bert from Sesame Street is going to be VERY disappointed! He LOVES pigeons!

By now, it's 4 p.m., and Miss Cynthia and The Doctor decided to go for tea ­ and what a tea we go to! We walked a bit farther, looking for The Savoy Hotel.

Actually, we walked a bit farther than we absolutely had to, because we were lost. Miss Cynthia and The Doctor exchanged a few words on the subject, before The Doctor saw a policeman, and decided to ask him for directions.

Policemen in London are VERY nice. They have a special nickname: Bobbies!

A Bobby wears a black uniform, and a high, round black hat with a black-checked band. Our Bobby was very, very helpful, and he gave The Doctor very precise instructions.

I noticed something: it is very hard for me to understand what the Bobby is saying. It is strange! We are supposed to speak English, just like the British do, but many of the sounds and words are so different that it sounds like a whole new language entirely! I was a little bit confused, but the Bobby smiled so nicely at me I was reassured anyway.

Soon, we enter the lobby of the Savoy, and I was amazed! The ceiling was SO high! The hotel was SO beautiful, with marble and beautiful furniture and libraries full of really old books right in front! But my amazement at the lobby was NOTHING compared to what we found in the "Ladies Cloakroom".

There's one of those words, again! The British do not say "restroom", like we do. Instead, they say "lavatory" (that's from the Latin word, meaning "place to wash" Gaius Ursus will be proud that I know a Latin word) or sometimes they say "W.C.", which is short for Water Closet. How confusing!

The Ladies' Cloakroom at the Savoy, however, was simply amazing. First,

Miss Cynthia gave her cloak to a very nice lady who hung it up for her. Then we washed up for tea. Mistress sat down at a special little vanity table in front of a big mirror. When I came out of the handbag, my fur was brushed and fluffed, and Miss Cynthia spent some time tying my bowtie just so. I was glad she had dressed me in my best black-velvet bowtie, because tea at the Savoy is VERY fancy.

All freshened up, Miss Cynthia and I joined The Doctor, who was also looking very handsome in his "E for Ewer" blue blazer. We were ushered to a tea table by a tall man in a white tie and tails! I thought "white tie and tails" meant some kind of animal costume, but Miss Cynthia said that is what you call a certain kind of very formal men's suit.

The tea room was so beautiful! It was decorated in rose colors, with beautiful carpeting and a very high ceiling. There were green palm plants and ferns everywhere. In the center of the room, right next to our table, stood a white grand piano. A nice lady was playing very quiet, soothing piano music, and all around us, people were taking tea.

Mmmmmm! The tea smelled delicious, and the FOOD! Our waiter (in the "white tie and tails") brought us so many good things to eat. First, there were little tea sandwiches. Miss Cynthia was SO GOOD she let The Doctor have one of the cucumber sandwiches, which are her particular favorite. There also were ham, and salmon, and even tomato sandwiches. I felt proud, though, to notice The Savoy didn't have any bear-shaped sandwiches like Miss Cynthia fixes for our own teas at home!

Next came the scones. The British pronounce "scones" as though it rhymes with "swans", not "scones" as rhymes with "stones". I'm glad I knew how to pronounce it correctly! Scones are rich, light biscuits, a little bit sweet, and they are eaten with jelly and lemon curd. I'm sorry to add that, while Miss Cynthia is a very good maker of bear-shaped peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, her scones do NOT measure up to the standard of The Savoy Hotel.

These were the most delicious scones I ever had!

As we were eating (I was scolded, quietly, for gobbling my scones and getting my paw in the jam), Miss Cynthia poured cup after cup of delicious tea from a beautiful china teapot. We relaxed for a few minutes, but soon perked up: the sweets are here! There were so many different kinds I lost count: tarts and tiny pies, little pastries, sweet breads and muffins.

I am sorry to report I lost all sense of proportion. I ate and I ate and I ate! Everything was so DELICIOUS and the piano music was so nice, and everyone was so pretty and happy I wanted our tea never to end. I had a tart, and then a pastry, and then shared some date bread with Miss Cynthia, and THEN I swiped an extra muffin from The Doctor's plate, but Miss Cynthia made me put it back, and then I had ANOTHER muffin . . . .

You can guess what happened. I got a little tummy ache from our tea, and Miss Cynthia put me to bed early. The Doctor listened to my stuffing (get it? STUFFING?) with his doctor-thing, and said I would be fine in the morning.

And so I was. But tummy ache or not, I will never forget my wonderful tea at The Savoy Hotel! Besides, you never know when I'm going to NEED a nice plump tummy to keep me from falling out a window . . .

Your bear friend,