Tea parties, even the most imaginary ones, are exceeding difficult to carry off. Far too many variables don’t you know, the question of exactly the right number of guests, the correct mix of real and fictional, percentile male to female, and others of course, the others are sometimes the most important invitees of all.
This year, being necessarily influenced by the plague, I reduced my usual mob to but an intimate gathering of ten, four chaps, three queens, one historic, one hysterical, and Mister Oscar Wilde, Alice, Edvard Munch’s scream and the Cheshire Cat. A nice mix I considered, not to outrageously camp or theatrical, unless you consider Elizabeth First a trifle dramatic, and all capable of the most illuminating conversation, except Scream of course whose every utterance tends towards the disturbingly bellicose.
Eats and drinks are always an important consideration at such melodramas, often setting the mood for the affair to be either salubrious or an outrageous bun fight. Tea I had decided would be the beverage without exception, Indian tea to be precise, suitably bracing for a probable chilly pre-Christmas get together. Also having but one variety meant being able to utilize the enormous mustard teapot, exactly right for a largish get together and the always possible drowning of errant dormice. Eats, not surprisingly, posed a little more of little more of a quandary. Potted shrimp and meat sarnies would be the regulation fall back in Blighty, but here in the rebellious colonies not so easy to acquire the makings. Settled on a mix of Salmon and cucumber, rounds decrusted naturally, then quartered and presented on doily covered two-layer cake stands. Sumptuously rich slices of icing topped marzipan Chrissy cake was for afters, with an equal availability of Tunis for the less heartily stomached.
Twas like all good things seemingly over almost as soon as begun, so much merriment and cheer, happy bantering, whilst even the odd fragment of a carol, round, or canon burst forth.
May your Christmas too, my dear reader, be quite as memorable as mine.