Thursday, 19 August 2010

Bring Back Tea Time: Port'O'Call

Beauty calls! When I saw this picture in a recent
Country Living magazine 
 I just new that it was time to return to 
my beloved Port'O'Call

While I was being enthralled
 by this fabric at Spotlight 
 here in Hastings the "girls" 
were busily making it into tablecloths, serviettes
 & aprons at a dear little shop that they just 
"made up" all by themselves over by the Port
in Napier.
...soon I was to fall in love with this charming
 little tearooms & be forever changed by
my ardour

and it wasn't long before word sneaked out
& the "world" got to see what they had created.
Here they are featured in the New Zealand House 
& Garden magazine November 2003
so many pretty china cups & saucers gathered up
& pressed back into service..each customer made
warmly welcome & encouraged to choose their
 own set to take tea from... just one of the many inspired
 ideas that made this darling place so unique.
The dainty sandwiches, the devonshire teas & the
"tea & tinies", though perennially popular, were
 probably reasonably expected fare for an old fashioned
 tea rooms (although the the wee heart shaped sandwiches
were truly superlative & dear Clare the most dedicated &
accomplished baker) ... however it was the flowers that
graced every plate & every table, knitted tea cosies on
 china tea pots with accompanying tea strainers (only best
loose leaf tea permitted..Earl Grey Superior & such like)
... carefully handmade butter curls, just whipped cream
served in individual dishes topped with rose buds, milk
 served in little old pressed glass jugs.. 
 the music of Doris Day, Connie Francis, Dean Martin...
wafting through the place transporting us all to another
era, one of romance, beauty & nostalgia... that made
the experience of Port'O'Call so poignantly memorable..
well apart from the beautiful giftware displayed in 
every possible corner, the gorgeous gift wrapping
& the delightful "hospitality" of Pene, Gaye & Sandra

funnily enough, it wasn't long before I came to work 
there..for a year or two...just part time.
 What you don't of course realize from the 
"outside" is that to create such an
 experience is actually very hard work!
There came a day when it was someone elses
turn to continue with the loveliness...  

Angela has made Port'O'Call very much her own.
Last time we popped in I could still feel the old magic

and found new lovely people like 
Denise.. isn't she just perfect
& the pinnies live on!

this is where our pink fridge came from
from just over this way

lots has changed...that's the way of creativity
& lots more has come & gone
oh long live beauty!

these wee girls dresses were just delightful

if you'd like to see more of the Port'o'Call
experience do pop in here to Magpie Chic
there's lots more to tell
.. even the simplest meal can be made special by adding
 those little touches that most people have long ago become
too busy to bother with. 
The shortbread I recently bought from the most remarkable,
spritely 93 year old woman at a local car boot sale.
 She sells jams, pickles, plants & a
 little baking to supplement her income! 


This post is dedicated to dear, dear Shirley & Jim
& their sweet devotion to one another & their
beloved Port'o'Call.


  1. I've just loved this post so much.I have that article in NZ HG ear marked too. I've loved seeing it all again. It's just like being there, and you know how much I love THAT!
    Can't wait to get back to Napier to visit one of my most favourite places in the whole world! Thank you Catherine.

  2. Hi Catherine, what a fabulous shop! Then and now. Your afternoon tea looks fabulous yummy. Oooh is that a lamington I spy, he he

    One of my friends is from Napier, its a small world :)

    Have a good one, Tamara x


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