Tea: A child’s introduction
My love of tea started when I was a child. No one in my household drunk it, but I regularly had sleepovers at my grandmothers’ and tea was all she drunk.
On such occasions she would usually take me visiting my great Aunt May, ‘to have tea’. Aunty May symbolised to me, all things that were elegant. She was tall and graceful, she always dressed beautifully and she had this long dining room table that would be set, upon our arrival with everything needed for the three of us ‘to have tea’.
There were no teabags in sight, and no mismatch of colourful assorted cups and mugs, as I would see at my grandmothers. Instead the table would be laid out with the prettiest fine china of matching plates, cups and saucers. Cakes and biscuits would be presented on beautiful serving plates. The silver sugar bowl was so shiny that I could see my reflection in it, as was the matching little teaspoon that I must remember never to stir with, less it create lumps in the sugar. The teapot created the centrepiece.
I remember feeling quite the lady as I had my tea poured, watching as the loose tea leaves were caught by the silver tea strainer, first placed over my cup.
Looking back, I realise that my tea was of course, weak and milky (I was only a child after all). The biscuits were supermarket bought, and Aunty Mays dining table was probably only half the length I remember it being. Does it matter? Not one iota. The impression had been made and I formed a great appreciation of what it meant ‘to have tea’ with some very fine ladies.