“Spot of Tea” was the subject line of an email I received that sparked this memory.
One of my grandma’s lived in England until she immigrated as a young adult. Whenever we visited her, or she visited us, we would have a Tea Party. A Real Tea Party. Proper manners and etiquette were required so if we ever had “Tea with the Queen” we would know how to act.
We would set the table and choose our cup and saucer from the tea-cup collection. Cookies (usually Peek Freens (gingersnaps or bourbon cremes were my favorites)) would be carefully arranged on a fancy plate. Milk (not cream) and Sugar in proper containers (although we weren’t allowed to use sugar).
Meanwhile, Grandma would fill the teapot with hot water to warm it, while the kettle was heating the water for the tea. Once the kettle reached a rolling boil (and it had to be rolling), she would empty teapot, add a careful measure of tea leaves (never a tea bag) to the teapot, and then the boiling water. She would bring the teapot over and carefully place it on the table to steep. Once the tea was deemed ready, she would turn the pot around a couple of times to gently stir the tea. Each of us in turn would hand over our chosen cup and saucer, and she would add a whole lot of milk and then a splash of tea (we weren’t really allowed tea). We would then have “tea” with a “biscuit” as she called them, and then talk while we had our tea.
After we were finished with our tea, one of us would hand our cup back to Grandma and she would turn the cup upside down and put it back on the saucer and then turn it around a specific number of times. Then she would pick it back up and carefully study the tea leaves in the bottom for a few minutes as we waited impatiently to hear what the tea leaves said would be in our future. Telling us our fortune she would point out what each tea leaf looked like, and how that meant we would go a trip on a boat (or whatever), but she had a knack for creating a good tale reading our tea leaves. She would repeat the process for each of us, just as vivid and yet different each time.
Then we would clean up, wash and dry the dishes, and put them carefully away.
Funny how words trigger us – it’s been four decades since I had a “Tea Party” with Grandma – but the words “Spot of Tea” brought it back clear as day.
Anyone else have that happen?