invited to afternoon tea yesterday. Former neighbours invited us. When they lived here we would feed their dog and cat and water the garden if they were away for a weekend. They returned the favours with other help. We talked occasionally and met her parents, his brother and so on. Even the children's birthday parties did not disrupt the street. We still miss them.
They have not moved far. They have moved into a new and much more modern house. The kitchen in it has been designed for her work as a cook providing a number of local businesses with all sorts of delicacies.
Oh yes, going to afternoon tea there is a treat! It was simple but very pleasant indeed.
But, as we were talking, we both agreed that something has happened to morning coffee and afternoon tea. It doesn't often happen in the same way - at least, it doesn't often happen among her generation or mine. Perhaps older people still do it?
You know what I mean don't you? You set the table properly with matching plates and cups and saucers - never mugs. You make "proper" coffee - not instant. You make tea in a teapot - with loose tea and not tea bags. You make scones and cake and put out some home-made biscuits. The milk comes in a jug and the sugar has a spoon all to itself.
The Senior Cat likes a cup and saucer - he has milk and sugar in his tea and it gives him somewhere to put his teaspoon. He likes loose tea in his little pot. It's easy enough. I don't mind.
But the milk comes in the "crystal"(plastic) milk jug in the normal way. We use mugs and the biscuits, if we eat them at all, come from the supermarket. That all seems pretty normal in the houses I have been in over the years.
And people go "out for coffee". They meet friends in a local cafe and they drink coffee and eat cakes or biscuits with fancy names.
Our erstwhile neighbour saw this happening and she has found outlets for a small range of home made goodies. They sell. The prices still shock her and, as she says, she and I would never pay those prices for a biscuit or a piece of cake. But, some people do.
Somebody else boils the water, makes the fancy coffee, serves it and does the washing up. Oh yes, it is nice.
But, there is something missing from it all. It is not the same.
As we were leaving I was given a cake recipe she had been talking about. I almost never bake cake. We simply don't eat it but she would like me to try this one. I must.
Then I can invite someone to proper afternoon tea.