A Little Tea, A Little Chat
Thursday, 29 October 2009
My Granny could still do the splits into her seventies. When I was small, she told me she'd been a Bluebell dancer and that she had killed lions. But then she also told me I was on safari in Africa when I was quite clearly sitting in a cardboard box in the North of England. She had a fabulous tea set which I coveted. She promised me that it would be mine when she died. It was twined with pale roses and was so translucent you could see your stout little seven year old hand through it. She made a wonderful deal of tea, peopling the table with invisible guests - Dickon from The Secret Garden, Marlene Dietrich, Big Ears. The only rule was that you could never be silent and afterwards you had to brush her hair while she swooned in pleasure, sucking forbidden fruity boiled sweets. In the 1970s, the Northern Socialist uprooted our family and fled the UK to avoid living under a Thatcher government. Sadly I never saw my Granny or the tea set again.
Many years later someone kindly gave me a tea set which pretty much matched my memories of Granny's one. I love using it, but do so all too infrequently. This morning, I woke to a house ringing with the shrieks of Rose's four birthday sleepover chums. I set the breakfast table with my rosy tea set and assorted sugary and chocolatey nonsense. The girls trooped in and Rose excused my oddness, muttering "My mum thinks she lives in the 1930s." They sat down and tucked in, while in the background on Radio One, Carrie the Sports Announcer announced her pregnancy.
Hissing whispers. "Carrie's pregnant." "No." "But she's just come back from honeymoon." "Yes, but I think she got married last year and only just went on honeymoon now." "Weird. Why would you do that?" Silence while they all counted to nine several times. "Well. She'll have to stop working now."
Members of the Breakfast Womens' Institute - you think I live in the 1930s?