Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Tea

Sunday, about 5 p.m.*

"The calming ritual of tea is another  of those idle pleasures that have been sacrificed to productivity and profit in recent years. Whoever first conceived the idea of taking it at four o'clock was a genius. This is because 4 p.m. marks the point in the day at which one's energies are turning. The long, listless, flat hours between two and four, when it is impossible to do much and when the sensible idler has taken to his bed, have come to a close, and our brains are once again stirring. It's time not to do, but to think about doing."
—Tom Hodgkinson, "4 p.m.: Time for Tea," How to Be Idle (HarperCollins, 2005)

In my ideal existence, on most days I would take an afternoon nap and then have tea. I don't recall a day ever when I have actually done that, but one must have something to strive for.

Today, because Nora is home on spring break and was scheduled to go in to work at 5 p.m., we had an early dinner. After the dishes were done, I thought how a cup of tea would be just the thing right now. I considered sticking a tea bag in a mug and taking it to my desk to resume some things I had been doing earlier on the computer. Then I remembered that chapter from How to Be Idle, and instead made a little ritual of it, brewing a small pot of the Earl Grey tea I have in whole leaf form, setting a couple of Swedish ginger cookies on a pretty plate, sitting at the table where the afternoon sun was streaming in, and just reading a book for about a half hour. The tea was delicious.

"Tea should be a time for gentle chat and reflection, a cigarette, a little mental workout. It should last for at least half an hour." —Hodgkinson, again.

Why don't I do that more often? Not the cigarette part, but the rest suits me very well.

Well, of course, there are a host of reasons, all of which may be the same reasons that you don't take afternoon tea, either. 

But now I think I just may try to work it into my schedule once or twice a week at least. Care to join me?

* I should give a nod here to the lovely Denise, whose elegant blog, Chez Danisse, inspired this single-photo-centered-at-the-top-with-caption approach to posting. It seemed to fit the mood of this particular topic.

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