This Saturday was my lovely friend Emily’s hen party. The plan was to have afternoon tea and champagne at Fortnum and Masons, an ‘upmarket grocery store’ on Piccadilly with tea rooms on the fourth floor, and then head on somewhere else.
Also this Saturday was a planned protest march through central London campaigning against the government’s cuts to public services. The route of the march was due to pass Fortnum and Masons so I went along a bit early to cheer everyone on…
and headed upstairs for tea.
Then suddenly there were protesters (different ones to the peaceful protesters) occupying the building, and a police cordon around it stopping anyone going in or out. Luckily nearly all of the attendees of the hen party managed to convince the police guarding the doors that their pretty dresses meant they weren’t rioters intent on smashing up the place, so they were allowed in for tea!
We were stuck (insofar as sitting around drinking free champagne and tea and eating cakes can really constitute ‘stuck’) inside Fortnums for about three hours while everything carried on outside.
The Guardian has an article about it here.
The management continued to ply us with free champagne until the police said we were allowed to leave the building. The riot police were a bit surprised to see us all traipsing out of the building and down the road to the tube station…
and the hen, in her sparkly green dress, was certainly the focus of their attention!
Undoubtedly the most eventful cup of tea I have sipped in quite some time.