We are the Original
Rose Tree Cottage

English Village Shop Hours

Open 7 Days a Week

10:00am to 6:00pm

California’s Original Tea House

can only be found at ...

801 S Pasadena Avenue
(on corner of Bellefontaine)
Pasadena CA 91105


Part 1: (Penned on the 19th December, 2017)

For me, Christmas came early this year.  To be precise, it came on Tuesday, 5 December at teatime, approximately 4:00, with a smile.

You see, many years ago when I was just a boy in London during the late 1940’s and 50’s, just after the Germans had been stopped from bombing London by the Royal Air Force in their Spitfires and Hurricanes, life was very sad, poor, damaged, dreary, cold, foggy and damp.  There was nothing in the shops; food was scarce and rationed. 

At Christmas, hanging outside the butcher’s shop were a few expensive, un-plucked chickens and turkeys.  In the green grocer’s, potatoes, a few apples and pears, cabbage, Brussel sprouts, locally grown.  These could only be bought with a coupon from the government issued ration books, which allowed one or two apples per week for a family of six.

Dreams were made of exotic fruits from faraway islands unknown to me then.  Islands that were home to plantations of banana’s, pineapples, dates, melons, oranges, lemons and of course, coconuts from swaying palm trees. Sadly, all of these fruits were unavailable as they were imports from faraway lands and the Germans had sunk thousands of merchant ships.

That being said, bleak as it was at home, with frost on the inside of the window glass and a stone hot water bottle in the bed, a small, smoky coal fire that could not be lit during the day due to the coal shortage, we had a live Christmas tree with lit candles in the sitting room.  The pillowcase at the foot of the bed had one or two small gifts… or, a lump of coal if you had not been a good boy!

Fast-forward 70 years to December 2017.  Just yesterday.  I was walking in our garden at Rose Tree Cottage, picking roses, temperature in the high 70’s.  Blue skies, hummingbirds and finches drinking in the fountain, date palms swaying in the gentle warming breeze.  Suddenly, a traditionally built, smiling lady who was rather sadly dressed, greeted me on the foot path and handed me five very large plastic bags filled with all kinds of fruits and vegetables… even a coconut.  I quickly explained to her that we were not running a nursing home nor a rehab centre for the sick and aged, nor the Ronald MacDonald houses for sick children.  But, she insisted that her donation of all of these wonderful exotic foods were for the Rose Tree Cottage Tearoom.

Naturally, I asked her why she was bringing these goods to which she proclaimed she “Owned a teashop once, but that was a long time ago”!  It was quiet in the shop, so we sat in the wing chairs and shared a pot of tea, scones hot out of the oven with jam and cream and some shortbread.  It became quite apparent during our teatime chat that she was homeless.  We hugged good-bye and she left, satisfied with what she had accomplished, shuffled off down the road on a warm, dusky Pasadena late afternoon, smiling and happy with her Christmas experience.

Have a Happy Christmas and, “God bless us one and all”.


Part 2: (Penned on the 20th December, 2017)

For those of you who have been to Rose Tree over the past 40 years and have read the first installment of my Christmas 2017 story will know we celebrate with Christmas inside the shop and out with several Christmas trees lit with lights, balls and ornaments galore.

We’ve been truly blessed so far this year. The ‘Christmas Angel’s’ deliveries have included wonderful vegetables and exotic fruits, various other food items, drinks (including a beer), an ironing board, paper towels, etc. Then, we had a few days without any deliveries at all, so had rather hoped we were forgotten.

However, Sunday brought a new delight! Something useful for the elderly but perhaps for someone a little more elderly than we are. Not being in need of this item just yet, we were wondering just what to do with it, whom did we know that could use such an item?

Our one o’clock seating for afternoon tea approached and a lady drove in and unloaded a wheelchair, put her mother in and spent time in the garden until tea time. During the time she was waiting, I came to realize she was a rather special English woman… 94 and full of spirit. I learned that she was from Berkshire and had lived next door to Sir Neville “Peace for our time” Chamberlain, the Prime Minister who had words with Herr Adolf Hitler prior to Germany’s invasion of Poland in 1939. Thank God for Winston Churchill... but, I digress. She made a point of telling me something I had never heard before, which was that Sir Neville’s own son did not go to war.

At the conclusion of a most extraordinary and hilarious teatime, I was telling this amazingly sharp English woman about the deliveries from our ‘Christmas Angel’. I told her of the gift we had found under the tree that morning, to which she immediately responded “She must have known I was coming!” While we were having a good laugh over that comment, Mary did a quick gift wrap and I passed over my Christmas gift of ‘adult diapers’. She was thrilled — in fact, over the moon — and said “Just what I needed!” A second Christmas Angel… one who can receive graciously and with enthusiasm as well as giving good cheer!

It truly is “A Wonderful Life” here in Pasadena, California! In all my long life, I have never experienced such anticipation and excitement leading up to Christmas Day… my very own, real life Advent Calendar! Who knows what I will find under the Christmas tree on the porch when I open the front door tomorrow?

Happy Christmas,
Happy Boxing Day (26th),
a very Happy, Healthy, and Prosperous New Year to all!


True and Remarkable Christmas Stories that Warm the Heart

Edmund Fry‘s Christmas 2017 Blog

17th December, 2017: Edmund Fry with guest, 94 year old Jill Chase, who made Edmund’s day at Sunday’s 1pm Tea Sitting.

Edmund is ‘showing off’ the sum of his huge inheritance, his stone hot water bottle (bed warmer)!