How much tension could be eliminated by the act of afternoon tea, that moment of respite from the duties of the day. I had an aunt who, upon facing a challenging decision, would immediately take to her teapot and get it ready for a semi-formal sit-down tea moment.
(All tea photos from the Fairmont Hotels around the world).
Financially and distance-wise, it is not always possible to go to tea, but there is another way of getting out of the house: tea time on the porch, or another room, little nook or cranny, corner of a room, or a tea area set up in front of a window so you can enjoying seeing out.
My aunt always said "Tea" when snags or little upsets came upon her home, but tea time is such a soothing and elegant relief, it should perhaps be practiced every day before stresses arrive.
Some ladies claim they have no time for tea, or they do not like tea, but there are many ways to use that nice tea cup for other hot drinks. I have showed you how to use berries and fruit, mint and other garden herbs to make a tea.
There is more to taking tea than the beverage itself. The act of hovering over a small table or tea tray and ceremoniously pouring and hearing the tune of the teaspoon on the porcelain cup, using all the tea accrouments, etc. that evokes a feeling of luxury. Tea is usually taken in small areas where people may converse and enjoy each other's company, bringing closeness and friendship to lonely people.
Many of us may never get to the Empress Hotel for tea, but we can create just as good or even better moments in our own dwelling places.
How much needless nervousness could be avoided if one would stop for tea, no matter what is on her mind.
This brings me to the little lecture that has been formulating in my mind all week: Do not forget to live. Do not put off doing things that would bring balance to your mind, whether taking tea or taking pictures, and, if you like cleaning cupboards or sorting books in a shelf, do not wait til life settles down. Do not wait til your finances get better, your family life gets better, your marriage gets better, your country gets better, the church gets better, the town gets better.
People neglect the afternoon tea stop because there is so much to do. They do not feel right if there is unfinished business and they stop and have a cup of tea. Eventually we all get a little wiser after we have seen that life around us and the world is never going to be as beautiful as we want it to be, and we make our own beauty and sweet moments at home. We realize there will always be laundry and dishes to wash, floors to mop, unfinished sewing, plus our long lists of things to do.
Some people, like me, are reluctant to take tea if the house is not in order. We fnd it hard to relax in a mess. Keeping one corner of a room clutter-free and one table clean, or having a tea set in a tray that can be transported anywhere indoors or outdoors, can be the solution.
We start to create the memories we want our children and people in our lives. What will your children remember? I would urge you to make tea time one of their memories, and do not save it for special occasions, but set it up using your finest tableware, and take pictures for your memory book.
I have set my dining table for afternoon tea and begun getting the snacks ready.
The leaf placemats come in several metallic colors and are available at Walmart and BiMart. I chose the platinum color, but the other choices were very bright and it was hard to decide. If you only need two or four for your tea table, it need not be expensive. The placemats are under $2.00 each. Check your Dollar store for other leaf placemats.
If you have moments of restlessness or discontent, be sure to stop for tea. Sometimes people's moods are softened by the event, and if you can, invite someone to join you.