Quirky and funny stories in the Dunstable area

Priory House tea room staff Jackie Carrington and Kasia Gaka with Dunstable Tea
Priory House tea room staff Jackie Carrington and Kasia Gaka with Dunstable Tea

Everything stops for tea, as the song says.

I couldn’t agree more - especially when it comes to Dunstable Tea. The new town tea will soon be on sale at Priory House, hopefully by the end of the week.

There will be 14 different Dunstable teas and infusions to try from the heritage and tourism centre, in Dunstable’s High Street South. Yippee!

They’ve all been selected and blended with Malcolm Ferris-Lay of the Tea Consultancy. They are sourced from an importer “who believes in the importance of fair trading and organic tea gardening”.

On top of that, they have all been named to reflect the history and heritage of Dunstable. What are they? Well, as you ask, here goes - Priory House; Canon’s Choice; Prior’s Garden; Queen Mary; Queen Eleanor; Swan Jewel; Norman King; Dame Sayers Peppermint; Bonnet Makers Winter Warmer; Maiden Bower; Kingsbury; Cloisters; Black Friars; Tudor.

Hmm. As it’s chilly February, I quite fancy the sound of a Bonnet Makers Winter Warmer.

This is what the “tea menu” on the Dunstable Town Council website says about that cheering cuppa: “This is a blend of black teas with winter fruit, nuts and spices, named for the bonnet-makers in Dunstable. Queen Victoria had her very own bonnet, which she called her ‘Dunstable’. The first hat company to move to Dunstable was Munt & Brown.”

You have to take your hat off to that blend! If you haven’t tried Dunstable Tea yet, I hope I’ve infused you with enthusiasm with my stirring story.

> Do you know where the White Lion Retail Park is in Dunstable? It’s hard to miss, really. Or so you’d think.

Unless you’re navigating via a map on the Bing search engine, that is. I had to laugh at a post on the Don’t Let Dunstable Die Facebook page.

It said: “We have been sent a screen shot by a vigilant Dunstable resident who thinks Bing maps might have mapped the location of a rather large Dunstable retail park in the wrong place!

“See if you can spot it. (And if anyone knows how to get Bing to correct it, please do!)”

I checked out Bing Maps myself for a closer look. I soon spotted the White Lion Retail Park - which, according to the map, was just off London Road, opposite Oldhill.

Oh dear. You’re in for a big disappointment if you try to find it there. Here’s a tip. It’s actually next to the big Sainsbury’s store off Luton Road.

Sounds like Bing lost its way on this one...

> Have you noticed the welcome wave of boutique-type shops opening up here and there in Dunstable?

I’m thinking of shops like Simi and Lola, and Becky’s Boutique, both in Ashton Square, and Ruby Tuesday, in High Street North.

There have been lovely boutique-type shops in Eleanor’s Cross for quite a while, of course. It really is a case of small is beautiful. Small, special outlets are one way for beleaguered high streets to beat the big boys in the mega destination shopping centres.

Let’s hope more specialist shops are “sold” on Dunstable...