My homesickness – when I get it – manifests itself in two ways. Family and food. Sometimes one or the other, but usually both. C’s mother is staying with us at the moment, the extra pair of hands with the kids is so appreciated after all these months out here just the four of us.
Yesterday I took advantage of the childcare during Spring Break (that’s Easter holidays to us Brits), and nipped out for an afternoon’s English nostalgia with my v. pregnant friend from University and fellow New Yorker, H.
We met at my old favourite, Tea & Sympathy, and gloated over the menu. Welsh Rarebit with bacon and baked beans. Bangers and mash made with actual, real English sausages. (Have to agree with T; American sausages do taste weird). A pot of leaf Earl Grey tea and a sticky toffee and pudding with custard later, my craving for English food was sated. I’ve blogged before about this cafe, and can’t recommend it enough, with the one caveat that it’s not big enough to handle small children. Once they’re old enough to appreciate a full English afternoon tea, then you’d be able to enjoy it with kids.
There is a little shop attached to Tea & Sympathy, but we were drawn to another British food shop a couple of blocks away that produces the English sausages served in the cafe. Myers of Keswick’s strapline is ‘England’s Glory’, and it goes all out with the Union Jack bunting and British fare. Rows and rows of such glories as Heinz Baked Beans, Tetley teabags, Gentlemen’s Relish, Branston Pickle, Ribena, Robinson’s Squash, Angel Delight and classic chocolates like Cadbury’s Flake and Chocolate Buttons. I was drawn to the butcher’s section, with heaps of Cumberland and classic sausages, pork pies, shepherd’s pies and sausage rolls.
Greenwich Village is a great lure for the homesick British expats. Tea & Sympathy, Myers of Keswick and A Salt & Battery fish and chippie are all within walking distance, and there are some lovely shops in the area while you’re at it. I can’t be in the area without popping into my two favourite stationery shops; The Ink Pad at 37 7th Avenue (corner of 13th Street) and The Paper Source at 344 W 14th Street (between 8th and 9th Avenue).
The Ink Pad specialises in rubber stamps, which is one of my latest obsessions since moving here. I’ve got a growing collection of them, and the girls and I love to stamp on blank postcards to send home. Whenever T gets upset about missing her grandparents or friends, we sit down and make them a card. She actually much prefers that to Skype, which gives her stage fright more often than not.
The Paper Source is wonderful for wrapping paper, cards, and crafty projects, and also stocks rubber stamps too. It’s great for stationery lovers.
So that is my cure for homesickness – lunch (or afternoon tea) out with another English friend, buy a shed load of imported food, and some lovely stationery to write home with. Nice.
For your own orgy of all things British in Greenwich Village, visit:
- Tea & Sympathy shop and restaurant – 108 Greenwich Avenue, between West 12th and West 13th Street
- A Salt & Battery – 112 Greenwich Ave, right next to Tea & Sympathy
- Myers of Keswick – 634 Hudson Street, between Horatio and Jane Street
This week’s Highs and Lows:
Highs: Buying my first sewing machine! C’s mum is teaching me the basics, and I’ve started quilting T’s own Cows in a Meadow quilt. It’s interesting to compare the difference in texture to B’s bunny quilt which was sewn entirely by hand for Christmas. I feel a new obsession coming on… watch this space for more photographs.
Other highs include spending the Easter weekend at Hudson, seeing snowdrops bloom at long last, and venturing outside in a mere coat – goodbye balaclavas, gloves and scarves. Hurray.
Lows: **very small voice** I accidentally dislocated poor little B’s elbow. It actually happened two weeks ago, but was too traumatised to write about it until now. And if anything could make that experience worse, it happened within 45 minutes of my mother-in-law’s arrival from England. It’s called Nursemaid’s Elbow, and is apparently frequently caused when adults swing young children between their arms singing “One, two, three, wheeeee.” In our case, I was leading B to the kitchen with her dirty plate, and she was pulling back and trying to sit down. When she couldn’t stop crying and refusing to use her arm, we called Tribeca Pedriatrics’ medical emergency line, who referred us to a wondrous place – a specialist children’s A&E unit in Brooklyn called PM Pediatrics. Before even asking for B’s name, the receptionist made four phone calls to confirm they wouldn’t accept our insurance and that we had to pay upfront. The paediatrician popped it back in with two fingers. B gave a little squeak, but was using the arm again within two minutes. Think it’s going to take me much longer to recover…