Thursday, 4 March 2010

Lusts of the Flesh #5

Today's Lust of the Flesh was experienced yesterday. Yesterday afternoon to be exact.

Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors. ~Alice Walker

Take two bad friends, two teapots, tea-cups and saucers, loose leaf tea (Earl Grey & Scouse Breakfast), a three-tiered glass stand, finger-sandwiches (no crusts), homemade shortbread, coffee cake, orange cake, buttered fruit loaf, scones, clotted cream, strawberry jam (no honey), and little pink cubes of quivering, sugar-dusted Turkish Delight. Mix in a view over the Albert Dock, some scurrilous conversation, a waiter with a propensity to dampen trousers and there you have it - Afternoon Tea.

A Proper Tea is much nicer than a Very Nearly Tea, which is one you forget about afterwards. ~A.A. Milne

In 1944, Great Grandma Nicolson took afternoon tea in a tearoom in the Kyle of Lochalsh. Upset at having been 'overcharged' for the mean slice of Dundee cake she had consumed, she is alleged to have swept the remaining contents of the cakestand into her capacious handbag. This charge has made it into print - Memories of Raasay (Berlinn) - but, of course, every Moptop family member denies the allegation conceding only that Great Grandma Nicholson did go a bit strange and did, in her latter years, do the gardening in her nightdress.

There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea ~ Henry James.

Coffee shops are all very well, but they don't encourage lingering. Noisy, clattering places, with metal machines that hiss and spurt like geysers. No towering cake stands - plain baking at the bottom, tiny fancy cakes at the top - but engorged muffins (as painful as they sound) and rocky biscotti (ill-designed for frail British teeth).

How much more civilised the world if we stopped each afternoon for tea? Sipped and spoke? Politely shared the last meringue?

Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. ~Thich Nat Hahn

Then let us meet in the Maritime Museum! The top floor dining room, riverside. I’ll be there at three, just in time for afternoon tea.

Find yourself a cup of tea; the teapot is behind you. Now tell me about hundreds of things. ~Saki

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