Afternoon Tea with Harold B!

HAROLD BROWN — one of our oldest and dearest friends — is arriving from England today.

You’ve actually met Harold in two previous posts. Seven years ago, he helped me lay out the curvaceous paths in my Woodland Garden. I’ve also mentioned him in association with Afternoon Tea.

If the drawing room pictured above is any indication, Harold loves old world opulence as much as I do. The drawing room is in a large Victorian house he now runs as a B&B. The next time you visit London, you might consider staying there.  Trust me — you’ll be treated like royalty.

And speaking of royalty…our friend spent decades in the employ of the British Royal Family. His first job? Footman to Queen Elizabeth. His second gig? Butler to Charles & Diana. His third and final role in royal service? Butler to the wild and wonderful Princess Margaret. What a career!

Now, for the next 4 days, I get to “butle”(buttle?) and cook for Mr. Brown. Here’s what I’m serving for Afternoon Tea:

I’m serving scones, baby! Along with clotted cream and jam. My recipe for English Cream Scones.

I’m also serving an assortment of finger sandwiches, including the cucumber variety, prepared in the traditional British manner

And sweet little “somethings,” like these Sugar Cookie Tartlets

And this gorgeous glazed cake, which you will find in my upcoming cookbook…

And these heaven-scented, easy-to-make Lavender Shortbread Cookies

And these screamingly-delicious Blueberry Bars.

Of course, we’ll have tea, too. Iced, I imagine. Because it’s incredibly hot and humid here.

And by the way, our British friend will be spending the Fourth of July with us, when we — like most other folks — acknowledge our country’s independence from England.

How cool is that?


  1. Cary Bradley says:

    Have a lovely visit. Wish I could be a fly on your wall, or better yet, a scullery maid. I’d do all the dishes if I could just listen in to your chatter. 🙂 Enjoy, Kevin!

  2. Yum!!!! Everything looks beautiful!!

  3. This post is perfect timing! My family of five has a theme day each year, and this year it is Sherlock Holmes Day. Of course, tea time is absolutely necessary, but I wasn’t sure what we should have. Thanks for all of the wonderful ideas! Your blueberry bars are already a huge hit with my family, so those will be included for sure, and it will be fun to try something completely new to us like the lavender shortbread cookies.

    I hope you enjoy your visit with your dear friend. Happy 4th!


  4. Cary – You’re hired!

    PattyM – Why, thank you.

    Tammy – Sherlock Holmes day…love it!

  5. Oh my ..enjoy your time with your friend. The best things in life…good friends, good food and an opportunity to enjoy both at the same time.

  6. OK, having a very rough day so have decided to take a break and make those English Scones and then eat 2 or 3 (or 5 or 6) until I feel better and will then resume my day:)

  7. CarolAnn says:

    It all looks and sounds so good. Have a wonderful time with Harold. Oh, I’d love to spend time with all of you. Add to that, his stories must be amazing!!!

  8. badger gardener says:

    Goodness, serving afternoon tea to a former footman and butler to the royals. The pressure is on! Although we all know with your fabulous skill and recipes it will be just lovely. Have a wonderful visit with your dear friend.

    My lavender is not yet in bloom, but I will be making those cookies again. Mmmmmm.

  9. Hi Kevin….I will actually be in London and Kent (Canterbury) in 3 weeks! I will be touring independently while hubby works. I see mention of teas and such; does he offer any services to day visitors? (Unfortunately, I will have to stay in a hotel in the Canterbury area…due to hubby’s work.)

  10. OMGoodness, I am so jealous! I am going to be watching for you to post updates!

    Im on vacation next week and will (depending on the heat) adding an urn to the entry of the back yard area as well as an emulation of your herb garden.

    Yikes. I love your blog!

  11. Oh, to be by that lovely pool with some Strawberry Lemonade and the Sugar Cookie Tartlets!! Thanks for the fleeting dream!

  12. Carla Crouch says:

    I so enjoy everything you do Kevin! You deserve compadre with service to royalty! Thank you for the lavender cookie recipe, I have been wanting to try something lavender and this is perfect for my next tea party! I am giving tea to celebrate my HomeEc teacher from high school finishing her textbook! I am in my fifties and we are still friends 🙂 Lucky me.

  13. My best friend of 48 years and I love tea! We seek out quaint tea shops, bake scones and drink tea. Last year on my birthday, among other things, she gave me a nifty scone book. One by one, I am testing them. What fun——–I wish I could watch you “butle.” I will try your recipes. I am sure they are delicious. I can hardly wait for your book to come out!

    Have a great July 4th. Give my best to Will and enjoy your special guest.

    The Glam

  14. StephanieW says:

    I want to come! Oh, I love shortbread cookies and that CAKE!! I’m speechless…..

  15. Beverly, zone 6, eastern PA says:

    You brave and courageous man, fixing tea for someone with royal standards on the topic.
    Nothing like self confidence!
    Go, Kevin, Go!

  16. Rebecca Madon says:

    What an impressive house guest. Bet he could tell some stories, but I also think he is probably very discreet, and a gentlemen…Have a wonderful time visiting, Your garden is beautiful.

  17. What a wonderful way to spend the holiday! Sounds entertaining and scrumptious – enjoy. I’ll be attempting the scones this weekend for a Sunday breakfast treat.

  18. I have just put a visit to you and your wonderful garden on my ‘bucket list’ Hope I can make it one day. I currently live in British Columbia but had a B&B in Lexington VA for 8 years so made many a scone for guests. Enjoy your friends visit.

  19. Claudia S says:

    it all looks wonderful! Have a wonderful visit!

  20. Everything looks so lovely. You are making me hungry and I am on a diet. This is the 2nd time I saw those blueberry bars. I’m fixing 1/2 a recipe when my sister visits next week. Have fun when your friend comes.

  21. That looks lovely! Hope you have a great time. I made your scones last year using King Arthur gluten free multi purpse flour and they came out great. I substituted it cup for cup in your recipe and didn’t make any changes. I served them with my home made cherry jelly and blackberry jelly. Thanks for the recipes.

  22. Crystal says:

    Wish I was a “fly on the wall” ….. promise not to touch any of the dee-licious goodies. Restrain…Restrain. Just to listen to all the kudos you will be getting and of course, maybe some tidbit “gossip” about the royals. Enjoy your visit and take lots of photo.

  23. Sharon W. says:

    Bless your heart Kevin, you make my day. I love reading your blog and enjoying your enthusiasm for all things beautiful. Enjoy your visit, and the holiday.

  24. He is certainly going to be well looked after!

  25. Sandy, while you are in London have afternoon tea at the Ritz Hotel. It is wonderful. Not cheap but worth it. Ylu may have to make a reservation, very busy in the summer. I am from London, now live NYC. Have a wonderful holiday. Ps. Canterbury is a beautiful city too!

  26. sherry kanoski says:

    Could you or your distinguished guest explain what a Footman and Butler do? I watched Downton Abbey and was so confused by how the men acted when asked to do the other’s work! I cannot imagine the need to have help getting dressed, to need help answering the door, or to help get into my car! Not our traditions here in wild America! thank you!

  27. What an exciting guest. Enjoy your time together.

  28. I want to come but I especially want the cookbook. I made several of the item you are having. All you recipes are great. Enjoy your tea and you dear friend.

  29. Theresa says:

    Inching on conservative religious practices. I have always been fascinated by the real true humbleness of honestly serving others.

    I fancy that your guest, has that natural capacity and complete selflessness, it takes to have that job, without losing ones mind. I aspire to behave that way for even one day.

    Just dreaming. Just saying.

  30. Leslie Wager says:

    Have fun at Tea Time. I fixed the Blueberry Bars last week for friends and could hardly keep my hands off of them and my mouth closed. Just delicious. That recipe is a keeper.
    Thanks for sharing.

  31. Oh, I hope you all have a lovely time! I’ve enjoyed making your English scones before and the rest looks equally delicious. ENJOY!

  32. Theresa N says:

    Friends are wonderful and so is your menu.

  33. Janet G. Metzger says:

    And dear friend,

    WHAT are you serving for the 4th! Hot dogs and hamburgers??????

    Happy Tea and Happy 4th,


  34. It looks scrumptious! I can’t wait to get your cookbook…..Happy 4th!

  35. Margaret K. says:

    Thank you so much. I love your posts,your ideas,inspiration and talent.
    This will only be your second dish that I prepare and I can’t wait.
    I was put on dessert patrol,and had no idea what to prepare. I have frozen blueberries
    And this will be perfect.
    Thank you again,
    Margaret K.

  36. hi Kevin,I hope you enjoyed your friends stay with you,i am hoping you put the orange iced bar cake recipe in your next ,Garden magazine so i can have a go myself.keep happy yours yvonne

  37. Can’t wait to hear all about the visit

  38. Lisa Grandstaff says:

    Wow, Kevin, I know you are busy right now, but like your other readers, can’t wait to hear about the time you all had together. I would feel some serious pressure, but hey– you gotta have fun. And I suspect that you know how to handle it all and have a blast, too.

    Maybe that will be a topic for another of your posts.. how to handle the pressure AND enjoy yourself along the way! Happy Fourth…

  39. I had the pleasure of dining with Harold, Kevin, Will, and other friends Thursday evening. It is always a joy to be in his company, listening to perfect English. In 2008, I had the special pleasure of staying with Harold in his London B&B. We toured gadens in the countryside and had wonderful high tea just like Kevin’s preparation. The highlight of this journey was a visit to Buckingham Palace guided by Harold, a day I will always cherish. As Kevin mentioned, should ypou visit England and desire a very special accomodation, consider Harold’s B&B.

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