Another Afternoon Tea

In the words of my dear pen friend, Michelle Gil,

“The elegance and natural hospitality of the past are preferable to the sloppiness modern society has slipped into.  It is one reason I host so many dinners and parties and it’s a great way to showcase culture and manners without saying a word.”

And so every month I too enjoy inviting friends and would-be friends to my home for the lovely ritual of afternoon tea.  These teas can be as simple or elaborate as time permits. The most important thing to me is taking time off to share good conversation with others in my private world, my home.

If my antique tea cups could talk they’d have all sorts of stories to tell, stories that my friends and I share.  Sharing doubles the joy and divides the sorrow.  As hostess I delight in being of service to others.  Some people volunteer at homeless shelters, schools or hospitals.  I’ve done some of those things in the past myself, but these days my manner of service to others happens when I take their comfort into my own hands and provide them with food, drink and pretty things.

Things like flowers

I can’t imagine any party without flowers.

For years I’ve been collecting china.  Some women love shoes.  I love collecting china, crystal and table linen and unlike some people I use all of my collections.  I use these pretty things on ordinary days when I’m alone or when it’s just my husband and me so of course I would use these pretty things when I have guests too.

Each party gives me the opportunity to set one of my tables in a different way using different items.  There are those who create with oils and watercolor paints, but I create with my table designs and the menus I choose for my teas or dinner parties.  Years ago when I lived in Boston I loved strolling through Bloomingdale’s china department for there I saw many tables set in many different ways with a variety of  china and crystal.  Now, all these years later, I have almost as a large a collection of these pretty things as Bloomingdales.  (Not really, but almost.)

Today’s china is Bavarian.  The pattern is called Old Meissen.  I decided to use a lace tablecloth to compliment its graceful old world style.

The menu for this tea consisted of spicy chicken sandwiches, turkey sandwiches, cucumber sandwiches, orange raisin scones, chocolate bread served with vanilla butter and cake which I purchased from a neighborhood bakery.

Spicy Chicken Sandwich containing curry and mango chutney


Peek a Boo Cucumber Flower-like Sandwiches in the round


Turkey Sandwiches with Cranberry Orange relish and Boston lettuce


Light and fluffy ‘melt in your mouth’ Orange raisin scones


Chocolate Walnut Bread served with Vanilla Butter


A Chocolate Vanilla Cake from the Bakery because sometimes a little help from a bakery is called for


Of course there was tea – 3 kinds of tea.  I served Earl Grey (my favorite), Jasmine and Apricot.  After tea I offered my guests a house favorite, CarolAn’s Irish Cream.  This seems only right for one of Carol Ann’s teas, don’t you think?

Nice of them to name this Irish Cream after me


I decided to use a lot of crystal items for this tea so the sideboard would have a uniform theme.

The room was now set, all ready for guests.  Food was placed on the sideboard.  Small candles were placed on the table ready to be lit.

Now for the guests

First Celeste and Sandra arrive

And then Noreen arrived

The rest is tea history.

Another fun afternoon tea with friends.  I hope you enjoyed it half as much as I did.

8 thoughts on “Another Afternoon Tea

  1. Oh, Carol Ann, EVERYTHING WAS JUST PERFECT!! One of these days I am going to make it to one of your lovely teas!! Love you!

  2. Hi Carol! Your tea party looks WONDERFUL!!! I hope I can go to one someday! Send me your chocolate walnut bread recipe when you have time! Mary

    Sent from my iPad


  3. Your posts are so much fun. I really, really enjoy them. Letter on the way soon. gin


  4. Hi Gin, I’m a little slow in answering your nice note. (No, I’m a lot slow) I’m so glad you enjoy my posts. They’re so fun for me to write and I’m so behind in writing them. Living seems to take up all the time, not enough time left to write about the living. Hope you’re having great, fun days.

  5. Hi Carol Ann ~ I received your package of wonderful letters back in May! But we have been away to England since last March and just got home on Sunday! As you can imagine, I’m inundated with “coming home stuff,” and since you didn’t leave an email, I thought this would be the fastest way to contact you. Perhaps you can email me at so I can answer a few of your questions. I remember meeting you at Learned Owl! I’m sorry, but I don’t think I can be of much help, I don’t have an agent, or any sort of thing like that. But I wanted to encourage you to keep going with your letters project, you’ve done a spectacular job! It is difficult to break in to publishing these days. But you are going about it the right way, keep asking EVERYONE and hopefully someone will have an idea for you. We finally began publishing my books ourselves … the only reason I was able to do it was probably because it was back in the 80s and things weren’t as tough for the publishers as they are today. They take less chances on newcomers now. It is such a feat to complete a book, you deserve all the kudos in the world for having done this, and all by hand! I know how much work it is, so don’t forget to pat yourself on the back! Your tea parties are gorgeous. You’re a light in this crazy world of ours. Keep on going! xoxoxo Susan Branch

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