Sunday, 14 September 2008

Tea for Eighty

Yesterday I attended a Victorian tea party, part of a fundraiser for a church in Bradford, a neighbouring town. After I crawled around the house looking for two matching black shoes and squeezed into the only dress that still semi fits, I picked up my neighbour Carol and her friend Rosemary.

They had an art sale, with paintings arranged along the pews. Lovely stuff! A big room at the back of the church was filled with ladies of all ages at tables that seated six. Tiered trays were placed at the centre of each table, adorned with little sandwiches and cakes and scones and tea and coffee. Alas, no sherry.

There was a contest for Best Hat, but all I had were cowboy hats and baseball caps. Some of the ladies really worked hard to make their lids attractive. A woman in the corner made hers by hand with satin, pearls and ostrich feathers in the back. It was lovely.

Another lady in her nineties decked out her mother's jewel green wide-brimmed straw hat with flowers from her garden. She even visited the field behind her house and snagged a few clovers to complete the look.

One lady had a red hat with a cardinal perched on the top. A fake one, not a real one.

After the awards were handed out for Best Hat, a woman arrived late - decked out in a wide brimmed hat, white elbow length gloves and a parasol. She was obviously wearing a corset because her d├ęcolletage almost grazed her chin.

Her friend at a neighbouring table asked if they could sit with us since there were two chairs free. Victorian Lady sat down and announced she was a writer. Everyone at the table pointed at me. "She's a writer, too."

Our new guest told us she writes for Red Sage under the name Chevon Gael. She's a lively, exuberant lady who's been writing for many years with several novels under her belt. We immediately exchanged cards and passed around to the rest of the table, too. I fully intend to pick her brain for tips on giving readings and signings in our area.

Her friend is a librarian. She graciously listened without interruption while Chevon and I babbled enthusiastically about the e-publishing world. It's refreshing to be able to talk about writing without the listener's eyes glazing over.

I had a great time. In two weeks Carol and I embark on another adventure, all the way to the foot of our street to attend a fund raiser for our local hospital.


Stephen Parrish said...

Some of my roots are planted in Louisville, Kentucky, home of the Kentucky Derby, mint juleps, and southern ladies who still wear hats and gloves. You won't ever hear me knock hats and gloves.

Or mint juleps, for that matter. Nice post.

Chumplet said...

Stephen, one of the items at the top of my bucket list is to attend The Kentucky Derby, wearing a fabulous hat.

The Anti-Wife said...

I love teas and the lovely hats and gloves.

Chevon Gael said...

Thank you, Sandra for graciously inviting a late comer to your table. Yes, the corset caused minor damage to some not-very important internal organs but I survived. So happy to make your acquaintance and hope to see you again, preferably while wearing something way more comfortable.

Chevon Gael

Chumplet said...

Welcome to Chumplet Land, Chevon! It was lovely meeting you.

I have a great picture of you and I'll send it ASAP. You looked FABulous!

BernardL said...

You made a good connection. I'm sure it will be a help.

Ello said...

Oooooh! How very col! That just sounded sweet and lovely, although the corset lady would have made me nervous! ;o)

Barbara Martin said...

Refreshing to hear of someone going to a nice afternoon tea. Bradford is a nice little town. How wonderful for you to discover another writer.

Bernita said...

Sounds lovely!
Fortunately, some hotels in To ,like the Hyatt, have resurrected the ritual. My daughter takes me about once a year.

Doreen Orion said...

Next time you need a fancy pair o' shoes, let me know and I'll ship a pair on up. (I'm barefoot most of the time these days. They're just going to waste.)

Chumplet said...

Bradford is a lovely town but you gotta watch those speed traps.

Ello, corset lady was great! She livened up the table.

Bernita, let me know how the next tea goes in the big T.O.

Oh, Doreen! I noticed you have names for all your shoes -- you identify them by their designer. I identify my shoes like this:

1. The black loafers that squeak
2. The brown boots with the worn heels
3. The patent pointy toed spiked pumps
4. The blue running shoes I wore when I went to the gym three years ago
5. Those beige slingbacks

Barbara Martin said...

The Bradford police need to have some fun after all, since the York Regional have control of the rest of the area.

ChrisEldin said...

I keep coming here and seeing that beautiful tea cup.
I collect antique spoons. So I was admiring the spoon too.

Chumplet said...

The ladies donated the use of their own tea sets. I'm glad the crowd wasn't too raunchy, or broken china would have been a travesty!

writtenwyrdd said...

I collect old teapots, not the china ones, but the old McCoy and other vintage pottery ones. Your tea sounds very elegant and fun--especialy the hats.

cindy said...

what fun! i miss tea--but we only do them when visiting england. the hats are great to look at!

Barbara Martin said...

Two good places to go for afternoon tea in Toronto are: King Edward Hotel on King Street, and the Royal York Hotel (aka Fairmont) on Front Street.

Jenny Jill said...

Another great place for tea is in the Blue Willow Tea Shop in Gravenhurst, Muskoka, ON.

Lovely trip through the hat, while glove and tea world, BTW!