I always thought that afternoon tea is quintessentially an English middle class thing taken by ladies of a certain statute that live in the Home Counties and are in town for the day doing a little bit shopping. Why do I think like this, well this image was forged during my childhood watching classic movies like Random Harvest where someone like Ronald Colman would end a tiring day at parliament entertaining his wife in their tea rooms to an assortment of sandwiches scones and cakes. Whilst the frozen northerner is neither an MP nor middle class he is now finding that he is gradually being exposed more and more to the concept of afternoon tea by my wife the Contessa Di La Proctero. Why we have started taking afternoon tea I absolutely no idea but, deep down I suspect that my wife thinks this what people around a certain bracket should do (in my case we are taking people over 60). In my more formative years taking part in such a ritual would completely unheard of but, as the years ebb away things change and so must you. Introduced into Britain in 1840 by in all probability the then Duchess of Bedford, I could argue afternoon tea is more popular now than it has ever been mainly due the fact that is now embraced by people of all classes which is the way it should be, God know how many places are now serving it, you may see it as somewhat of an extravagance that can be taken only at places such as the Ritz, Claridges or the Dorchester or you may just like the simplicity of afternoon tea at Marks and Spencer, it does not matter as long as you like it, most menus follow a tried and tested formula which works really well although, there some establishments like The Running Fox in Felton, Northumberland that offer a more rustic approach that works equally as well. Is the Contessa Di La Proctero going to transform the frozen northerner from his cloth cap roots to something to more sophisticated, I wouldn’t think so, but that is not going to stop me enjoying afternoon tea.