by Margaret Yeo
Two young teenagers
not quite sure exactly how old we were,
staying with my friend’s Aunt
in a sleepy, leafy Kent village.
Can't even remember how we got there.
One morning Auntie announced,
We are off to tea with my friend this afternoon.
Try to be polite and on your best behaviour
As my friend is quite particular.
With trepidation the three of us set off down the Lane
arriving at this large intimidating Victorian house
With large chimneystacks and spiral roofs.
Something quite new in my experience.
Our hostess a very prim severe elderly lady
Her long grey hair swept up in a neat tight bun.
Like a character out of Charles Dickens.
Ushered us into the large dark parlour.
A strong smell of lavender polish, An Aspidistra in the corner
Fine lace covers on the arms and backs of the chairs
Heavy velvet curtains at the windows.
We gingerly took our seats trying not to wriggle or fidget
Looking at one another for reassurance.
Tea arrived set out on rather magnificent trolly
Covered with a fine linen cloth and matching crisp napkins.
Delicate bone china matching tea set
Tea poured from a silver teapot through a silver strainer
Sugar lumps in a bowl complete with tongs.
Crustless thinly cut cucumber sandwiches
Rich fruit cake, mouthwatering home made jam tarts .
Too scared of dropping crumbs or spilling tea
Too much in awe of the occasion to relax and enjoy.
The memory however of tea with Miss Haversham
And her cucumber sandwiches remains with me forever.
Copyright © Written by Margaret Yeo ~ All rights reserved