WINED & DINEDThe following article was written by Claire Smith from No. 10 The Coffee House
I have a penchant for nice things; good food, beautiful architecture, fine silks, music that tugs at my heartstrings, landscapes that move my soul and works of art that depict the beauty and magnitude of life. A quality experience is something that enhances the lives of all who are fortunate enough to have access to it – no matter how large or small it may be. With both Mothers Day and Easter fast approaching families all across the Worth and Aire valleys will be planning trips and treats for these special occasions. Most of us like to feel appreciated – and so we should, and we all enjoy beautiful and inspiring experiences which enhance and enrich our lives and in turn make us feel special. We also live in a world where most things are accessible to the many and not just the privileged few, but I would like to ask this question – just how thrilled and satisfied do you find yourselves with some of these experiences? In this modern world standards seem to be slipping, especially I believe, in Britain. We appear to have developed a desire for the cheap deal as opposed to the quality experience, and satisfy ourselves with the decidedly average for a set and unrealistically cheap price instead of the dazzling dinner with a sense of occasion that a special evening out should be.
The cheap deal pushes everything downwards, the only possible result being a lower quality experience. How we can expect a top quality product at such a low-cost is beyond me – lowering the cost means lowering the standard in my book but that is just my opinion. If the food I am buying is too cheap, I find myself questioning its provenance. For some time now supermarkets have been offering three chocolate Easter eggs for five pounds, which may be fine for the very young who haven’t sufficiently developed their skills of discernment to know the difference., but these mass-produced, chemical laden confections cannot hope to compare with a handmade, exquisitely iced egg from a specialist store. Apart from tasting much nicer, this kind of Easter gift also speaks volumes about the person who gave it. Personally I would rather receive a tiny handmade gift than an enormous mass-produced one that cost the same. The mentality behind the concept of the cheap deal is particularly disturbing; when we cheapen or undermine an experience we consequently begin to see it in a different light ourselves. It then enters the realm of the ordinary and everyday. The magic fads and we ourselves stop trying, stop making an effort – dressing up for the occasion, feeling the anticipation beforehand; and with the sense of glamour gone, everything surrounding it loses its sparkle or becomes dull. There has been mention in the media lately of a wedding at which everyone wore onesies. In contrast one of my enduring memories is of a wedding we came across by chance whilst holidaying in the Algarve. The ladies were dressed in the most beautiful outfits – dresses with flamenco style frills down the back, stiletto heels, flowers in their hair, hips swaying mesmerizing, and the men, stylish, smart, and chivalric.
Just last night we enjoyed a fabulous dinner at one of my favourite restaurants, just over the moor in the Calderdale valley. The waitresses, dressed in traditional Thai costumes like exotic little birds flitting from table to table, were beautiful, courteous and attentive. Our plates were garnished with exquisite magenta orchids and the food was freshly prepared and of a very high standard. I know which kind of experience I would rather be treated to.
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Much love and light to you and have a blessed day! Queen Of Hearts