Yesterday afternoon I was contemplating what to do about my first post here. I have a cache of short stories that I could choose from so it would be easy enough to slap one up and be done. That didn’t feel quite right. I wanted to write something well, more personal I guess. I was considering a short post on my thoughts about traditional tea time and how great it would be to see something like that flourish in this country. I hadn’t yet made up my mind this morning and then right there in my social media timeline, it appeared. A post advising that today is National Hot Tea Day. I chuckled. Sometimes the writing Gods smile upon us.
My roots are English through and through. My father was born in Scotland and has a strong Scottish/English lineage. Mom was a New Englander and I’ve traced her roots to the Mayflower and of course from there all throughout England. This must explain my strong pull to all things English. I am an ardent fan of English Football (Soccer to us Yanks) and over the past few years I’ve grown to cherish my afternoon tea.
Here is a short excerpt from historic-uk.com on the origins of afternoon tea:
Afternoon tea was introduced in England by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in the year 1840. The Duchess would become hungry around four o’clock in the afternoon. The evening meal in her household was served fashionably late at eight o’clock, thus leaving a long period of time between lunch and dinner. The Duchess asked that a tray of tea, bread and butter and cake be brought to her room during the late afternoon. This became a habit of hers and she began inviting friends to join her.
This pause for tea became a fashionable social event. During the 1880’s upper-class and society women would change into long gowns, gloves and hats for their afternoon tea which was usually served in the drawing room between four and five o’clock.
I don’t participate in the ritual every day but I often set time aside for this most delightful tradition. It can be a time of quiet reflection or the pick-me-up needed to complete some tasks later in the day. I generally keep some traditional biscuits (cookies) around to enjoy with my pot.
I’ve often thought what a different world it might be if we all escaped the worries of the day for an hour at 4 in the afternoon and engaged with friends or family or just ourselves in a tradition that rejuvenates the soul.
What say you, Gentle Reader?