Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Summer 2020- Pot Luck – Everything stops for #tea by Joy Lennick

Welcome to the current series of Posts from Your Archives… and I will be picking two posts from the blogs of those participating from the first six months of 2020. If you don’t mind me rifling through your archives… just let me know in the comments or you can find out the full scope: Posts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020

This is the second post from the always entertaining Joy Lennick with a post for tea lovers everywhere…

Everything Stops for Tea….

tea-cup-2107599_640

TEA: such a small word, the sound of which sums up just one letter of the English alphabet. And yet…what thoughts it ignites at certain times…For tea ‘aficionados’ shopping in the rain, they can’t wait for a cup of the reviving drink, or conversely, after gardening in the hot sun and, for the passionate, it is almost the elixir of life! My late dad was an avid consumer, always eager for a second cup. (Hope there’s a generous tea urn up there, Pop!)

As for the folk lore of the humble leaf, it is said that the Chinese emperor, around 2,737 BC, was drinking boiled water when leaves from a nearby tree fell into his drinking vessel. It was, thereafter, consumed by the Chinese and recorded in the Shang dynasty. The popular drink has since been linked, now and then, to a rich, sometimes macabre, heritage of superstition and stories. But they’re tales for another time. (Eerie sounds coming from the wings…)

Tea first appeared in Coffee Houses in London in the late 17th century via its introduction by the Dutch and Portuguese sailors; it was often smuggled from Amsterdam. The first tea shop opened in 1657 and gathered popularity when Charles II married Portuguese Catherine of Braganza and it was introduced to the Court. After the formation of The British East India Trade Company in Macao, tea became more accessible to the hoi poloi, and was accepted as the national drink in 1750.

In most ‘average’ households in the 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s, more tea than coffee was consumed in the United Kingdom. Since then – after ‘Musical Coffee Cafes’ were introduced to the UK in the 50’s and 60’s, by the Americans, coffee too became very ‘in vogue.’ Nevertheless, tea still remained popular in many households. I can recall my dear Grandma Sarah liking quite stewed, dark brown tea which made her burp like thunder rumbling…She’d always apologise and add “That’s better…” My own mother – after a ‘run in’ with Senna Pods…eschewed tea for ever more, didn’t like coffee and only ever drank water, milk, fruit juice and Cocoa. Oh, and the very rationed… Babycham.

Fast forwarding to my own family unit situation, we introduced our three sons to tea, milk, fruit juice and coffee. Now mature, one drinks only coffee and the other two dislike coffee and only drink tea. So it’s all a matter of taste.

Over the years, my other half and I have been lucky enough to indulge in our fondness for both beverages. Indeed, we nearly bought a Tea Shop… ending up with a small hotel instead. (See earlier posts.)

On our previous travels, how could we forget a trip to the delightful and famous ‘Betty’s’ tea rooms in Harrogate, or their delicious pastries! Then there was a special trip to Paris, where we scoffed tea and the yummy offerings in a superb and memorable coffee shop, and a birthday celebration treat for husband in Vienna where – surely – the waitresses had stepped out of the 18th century? The wealth of adjectives expressed for the fare can be imagined! Lucky, lucky us.

Before closing, I must mention two other worthy ‘emporiums’ (although there were many others!). The first was The Ritz (my Welsh gran would have said “There’s posh.”) where one sister-in-law and I took my dear mum to celebrate her birthday. It rose to meet its reputation with finger sandwiches, dainty cakes and tea galore: the silverware dazzling…Very impressive.

A recollection of the other, memorable, café – within the bowels of a famous, expensive, store: Fortnum & Mason – has me feeling ‘uncomfortable’ again…Let me explain. Same sister-in-law as above and I – making the most of our free Travel Passes to London (by then pensioners) – had window-shopped and were thirsty. We decided to treat ourselves as the reputable store was nearby, so had supped and chomped on some delectable, tiny delights, and were – as was our wont – putting the world to rights… Fully sated, we pushed back our chairs and sauntered over to check out the hand-made chocolates on display. Far too expensive for our purses, we walked on.

Checking our watches, we then caught our train and were comfortably seated when a light bulb pinged in my grey matter. “Oh no!” I proclaimed – loud enough to wake a sleeping gent and disturb a third of the compartment… plus alarm my sister-in –law. “Whatever’s the matter?’” she said, paling. “We’ve just had afternoon tea in Fortnum & Mason of all places, and didn’t pay the bill.” You should have seen her face! My conscience had never felt so guilty…

PS. As we lived a long distance from London and, soon afterwards, emigrated to Spain – as the waitress hadn’t given us the bill or even approached us once served – I decided to send the equivalent money to Mary’s Meals, a fabulous charity based in Scotland who feed over a million hungry children a DAY. I think I did Fortnum & Mason a favour.

© Joy Lennick 2020

About Joy Lennick

Having worn several hats in my life: wife, mum, secretary, shop-keeper, hotelier; my favourite is the multi-coloured author’s creation. I am an eclectic writer: diary, articles, poetry, short stories and five books. Two books were factual, the third as biographer: HURRICANE HALSEY (a true sea adventure), fourth my Memoir MY GENTLE WAR and the most recent. Supposedly ‘Retired,’ I now live in Spain with my husband and have three great sons.

Books by Joy Lennick

A recent review for “My Gentle War”

Jan 05, 2020 Roberta Cheadle rated it Five Stars

My Gentle War is a delightful memoir about the life on a little girl, aged seven years old when war was declared in 1939, and her family as they navigated the changing landscape of everyday life in war time Britain. Joyce’s family lived a middle class life in Dagenham, London when the war started and her father and his brother, Bernard, signed up with the Royal Air Force to go and fight. Joyce’s parents decide that it will be safer for her mother, two younger brothers and herself to go and live with her family in Merthyr Tydfil in Wales. The book describes in great detail the difference between her father’s beautifully cultivated garden filled with gorgeous flowers in Dagenham and the wild and lonely beauty of life in the Welsh mountains. Her father’s sadness at having to ruin his garden by building a bomb shelter in the middle of it is the first insight the reader has of the changes that are going to come.

The second insight comes when the author describes the chaos of Paddington Station when her father leaves to go and fight in France and the rest of the family depart for Wales. It is not that easy for an evacuee to fit into life in a rural village, but Joyce and her brothers are young enough to do so without to many problems and, other than one incident when Joyce has a broken glass bottle thrown at her, they all settle into their new life and school. The hard life in Wales is detailed through the memories of the little girl who sees the poverty and learns about the hardship inflicted by the depression prior to the war, on this mining town. The risks of mining are also described through the chronic lung disease suffered by her uncle and the death of a young cousin in the coal mine. The joys of life for children are also expressed with the town arranging concerts staring the children, a picnic and other forms of entertainment. During the early part of the, the bombs do not reach Wales and the food shortages have not as yet bitten.

Throughout the war, Joyce’s family go between places of refuge, initially Wales, and their London home which they return to when her father is home on leave and intermittently while her mother is doing war work in London.

For the last part of the war, Joyce and her brothers become real evacuees are are sent to live with strangers away from London and the buzz bombs. This particular part of this memoir made me realise how fortunate my own mother was during her days growing up in the war. Her family never had to leave their home town of Bungay and were able to stay on their farm throughout the war.

I really enjoyed this memoir which reads like a conversation and tells of life for Joyce and her mother and siblings in Britain and also tells of some of her father’s experiences of the war in France, including the lead up to the evacuation of Dunkirk, through extracts of his diary and letters home. For people who are interested in World War II and particularly every day life for people during this terrible time, this is a wonderful and eye opening book.

Joy Lennick, Buy : Amazon UK – And : Amazon US – Follow Joy : Goodreads – Blog: Joy Lennick at WordPressTwitter: @LennickJoy

 

Thank you for dropping by today and Joy would love to read your feedback and if you would like to participate in this series here is the link againPosts from Your Archives – Pot Luck – 2020

43 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – Summer 2020- Pot Luck – Everything stops for #tea by Joy Lennick

  1. I enjoyed Joy’s post very much, and laughed at her escaping the bill! Same thing happened to me and my sister once in a pub in Monaghan town – not so swanky! I find reading about the World Wars terribly sad. To think of all those young lads heading off, so excited, not a clue in their heads about what they were heading into. Cannon fodder is right.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wonderful post, Joy. I identified with your horror at realising you hadn’t paid at F&M. I had a similar experience here in Alicante – (in a much more humble establishment) – and it was only a cafe con leche. But when it struck me later in the day that I’d gone home without paying, I went straight back into town to confess . The person I spoke to was so astounded that I’d come back, that she not only refused to take the money, but offered me another (free) cup!

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Tea has such an amazing history, Darlene. And when I think of the British Isles, I think of tea. So “shocking” that you forgot to pay the bill, but the donation was a lovely touch. I enjoyed my one visit to a tea house for a tea ceremony and sampling of proprietary blends. I had no idea what to expect and was swept away by the whole experience. Great review of My Gentle War, Darlene. I can’t wait to start reading my copy. A wonderful share, Sally.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Loved the culture lessons on tea. And loved that you sent a donation Joy, after forgetting to pay the bill, lol. If the security came running after you it would have made for a great Part 2 lol ❤

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Excellent post. Some of us coffee drinkers have come around to the virtues of tea. I start with coffee in the morning but switch over to tea in the afternoon. We went to Victoria, British Columbia, last year, and had tea at the Empress. That’s been on my wife’s Bucket List for a long time.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Loved the Fortnum and Mason tale! When heavily pregnant I paid for a pack of chocolate misshapes in Woolworths only to discover, after I’d walked out of the door, that I had two others tucked under my arm. Went straight back in to confess and was treated like a criminal by the woman on the till. Slunk out in shame afterwards…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up -August 30th – September 5th 2020 – #Jazz Geri Allen, Quince and Quesadillas, Life Changing Moments, books, reviews and funnies. | Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

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