Thursday, November 5, 2009

Tea o' Clock

So following on from Ingrid's question after this post, it set me pondering on what time is the correct and proper time to partake of a cup of tea, a cucmber sandwich and a slice of cake..
As the Golden Afternoon Tea Company prize ourselves on being proper in the most English of ways we had to find out,and donning our best Sherlock Holmes deerstalker hat and popping a musty pipe in between our pearlie whites we went off to investigate....

The 7th Duchess of Bedford, Anna Marie Stanhope is credited with inventing the ritual of Afternoon Tea in the early 19th century, 1841 to be precise, in order to avoid that 'sinking feeling' in the late afternoon!  The peckish Duchess summoned her butler to bring her tea and light refreshments to her boudoir and  soon was gathering all the other Duchesses and Marquises and Ladies to join her in a nibble, and la-dee -daa, the Afternoon Tea was born!
Etiquette suggests that tea should be served between 4 o'clock and 5, but I am really of the same opinion as the Mad Hatter who believes it's always tea time.

A bright idea came into Alice's head. `Is that the reason so many tea-things are put out here?' she asked.

`Yes, that's it,' said the Hatter with a sigh: `it's always tea-time, and we've no time to wash the things between whiles.'

And as Henry James put it:
'There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.'


Ingrid Lyndon said...

Hey Lula!

Thanks for the scoop! I am going to celebrate tea time tomorrow in honor of the Golden Afternoon Tea Room! I loved the history, and especially the Mad Hatter's take on tea time. Thanks for the link, too!

Mrs. B. said...

Interesting post. I love tea time and the whole concept of afternoon tea.

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