Thursday, 28 January 2010

Bunns of Bath

You might have noticed we didn’t visit the tea shoppe at the Jane Austen Centre. This was because Bill had another one targeted. Sally Lunn’s house is declared the oldest remaining house in Bath, dated 1482. I read somewhere that her surname might have come from Cockney rhyming slang, but it's beyond me to explain that to you. You'll have to investigate that for yourself if you're interested. Might be a nice way to drive your teenagers mad, if you had any and were so inclined; you could begin simply by yelling "Get off that dog and bone [phone]!"

Anyhow, we were sent up the narrow stairs to a room with low, beamed ceilings, a large fireplace at one end and packed with tables full of people. We ordered tea, which came loose in a pot with hot water and with an additional pot with just hot water, just as one would get in Newcastle, except with tea bags. As there was loose tea, a small metal bowl with a strainer that sits inside was also available. One poured the tea through the strainer into one’s cup and the bowl was to catch the drips or for the strainer to be emptied and re-used.

I ordered a Sally Lunn bun (bunn?) and Bill ordered a Jane Austen bun; the only difference I could tell was that I got strawberry and he got raspberry preserves. They were each a half of a plate-sized hamburger bun, soaked with butter and toasted. They both came with the preserves and with a small bowl of clotted cream, which I’d not had before. It tastes much like ice cream might without any sugar; very slightly sweet and very extremely rich. I ate everything they put in front of me, it was so delicious. Then, perhaps because all the paraphernalia was so entertaining and the waitress offered more hot water, I drank far too much tea.

After that we went down to the kitchen museum cum shop. Exhibits included the old ‘faggot’ oven, faggot being a

bunch of sticks, though I took a picture in a butcher shop window of another type of faggot to show you; something to do with meat and intestines, according to Bill. Yum!

One wonders about the etymology of that word, huh? There were also remnants of an archeological dig under that house. I got the idea that if one dug down a few inches under any sort of pavement in Bath there would be Roman ruins or historical artifacts of some sort.

I had a major tummy ache by the time we got back to the hotel that evening, whether due to rich food or acidic tea, I don’t know. After we’d had a nap we both felt better, but still pooped. We decided that Bill would go into Sainsbury’s near by (just past Homebase) and get some snack food for dinner; I asked him to find ‘something healthy’ as well. This turned out to be a good decision as the skies later provided torrential, horizontal rain. This was of benefit the next day, mind, as it got rid of the rest of the ice.

We had a feast of wide, herby flavoured bread sticks, dipped in red pepper hummus or cream cheese, bean salad and some couscous with chargrilled vegetables. That’s Sainsburys for you – right posh food.

1 comment:

Struggler said...

So glad Sains-bugs came to the rescue! The clotted cream is probably what made you feel bad - if you've never had it before, it really is disgustingly rich!