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February 2016



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All About Tea!

In honor of the up coming Goodbye Parasol Protectorate Tea event in San Francisco I have for you a blog about . . . What else Gentle Reader? Tea!!

Due to some enthusiastic support, there will be a simultaneous virtual goodbye tea on Feb 26. Wherever you are, you can raise a tea-cup, sip the prefecture of civilization, and get on either Twitter (hashtag #timeless) or Facebook via the Parasol Protectorate Facebook group event. There to chat about your thoughts on the ending of the series. I will try to check in as much as possible while negotiating the live events that day, in case you have important questions. I promise lots of pictures as well.

And now, some interesting things about tea in Victorian times . . .

There were folding tea tables that had specified area for each tea cup and saucer with a central part for the service.

Speaking of the service we are accustomed to thinking of tea as being served with standard parts: tea pot, cup & saucer, creamer jug, sugar pot.

However tea services included several parts we have since forgotten about ~ extra small plates (for cookies), a receiver bowl (into which cold tea was be pored from the cup before getting a fresh helping), and a saucer for the teapot.

And the fashion, increasing to a hight if excess in the 1880s was for very specific and tailored services. Everything from specified images to specified parts became de-regular for the wealthy. Such things as double sets of cups, one as teacups and one, larger, as coffee cups. Two or more tea pots, in different shapes, for coffee, or hot cocoa.

My personal favorites are the more adventurous set designs of the Deco era.

There was also the tea caddy, of course, in which the tea leaf was kept. Prevalent very early on, when tea was quit expensive, this beautiful object was often locked, the key kept by the lady of the house.

I'd like to own a real antique tea caddy one day. Just because.

Sliver tea sets were a sign of wealth, and excess, because the tea became cold in the pot so quickly and would have to be disposed of sooner. I loathe making tea in metal of any kind, proper porcelain is the only way to go. I'm sorry if that makes me common.
Note the family has a silver caddy out, as well as a receiver bowl, and a brazier under the pot. Also they drink from china, although they serve with metal.

Cup size increased with time, as did the size of the caddy, as by 1860 tea was comparably inexpensive and most could afford a cup. The tea bag, of course wasn't introduced until much later. I'm a fan. I also take my milk first. I know, plebeian. Although never, heaven forfend, will milk touch teabag!!

The fashion for high tea in the garden became more and more popular in the 1870s. An excuse for yet one more dress-specific occasion (tea gown) and a means by which, through the consumption of food, the supper how might be extended back to 9 or even 10 PM.

High tea denotes a sit down at table affair, usually on the weekend and slightly earlier in the day, with even more food, savory as well as sweet. Afternoon tea took place daily, was outside in the garden, or in the drawing room or the parlour, and was incorporated into visiting hours. It was tacitly acknowledged to be by, for, and about the ladies.

A gentleman might take tea at his club but this was not as ritualized, and he could opt for coffee, beer, or any number of other beverages instead. He could also smoke while drinking. A gentleman outside of his club NEVER smoked at table, in fact, he went outside or into another room (the smoking lounge or possibly his library) to partake and changed his coat for a smoking jacket (to protect his clothes from the smell). Tea was also taken with breakfast, and out of mugs with an early supper if you were working class (hence the use of the term tea in modern Britain to mean dinner).

Of course the very wealthy went ahead and built rooms or even entirely small house whole whole stated purpose was for the taking of tea.
The Chinese Room at Claydon House
Sanssouci Palace tea house
And the service industry capitalized on the popularlity by building tea rooms. Three of the most famous are stilla round, someday I intent to pilgramidge to them all.

Brown's Hotel, Rtitz Palm Court, Willow Tea Room


Your Writerly Tinctures . . .
"Books are the compasses and telescopes and sextants and charts which other men have prepared to help us navigate the dangerous seas of human life."
~ Jesse Lee Bennett

Deportment & Deceit ~ The Finishing School Book the Second: Working rough draft.
Back on track.
Etiquette & Espionage ~ The Finishing School Book the First: Release date Feb 2013. In production. Have seen initial cover mock-up and it is stunning!

Manga ~ Soulless Vol. 1: Printed volume releases March 1. Have seen cover sketch for Soulless Vol. 2 (AKA Changeless) and it is beyond fabulous!

Timeless ~ Parasol Protectorate Book the Last: In production. Releases March 1. Preorder now if you wish.

Prudence ~ The Parasol Protectorate Abroad Book the First: Release date fall 2013. She's started waking me up in the middle of the night with ideas.

BIG FAT SPOILER ALERT! Really, DON'T READ THE BLURB ON AMAZON if you haven't read the other books first!

Book News:
I talk about my favorite romantic moment in fiction. You might be surprised which book I picked.

Quote of the Day:
"Sadly for Potter, I became one of the worst abusers of the Registry, routinely holding scores of files at a time, thought never, I suspect, as bad as Millicent Bagot, the legendary old spinster in F Branch who kept tabs on the International Communist Party for decades. I have always assumed Millicent to have been the model for John l Caré's ubiquitous Connie. She was slightly touched, but with an extraordinary memory for facts and files. Potter and his successors in the Registry despaired of Millicent. "I only hope we get the files back when she retires," he would mutter to himself are a particularly heavy request from F Branch."
~ Peter Wright from Spycatcher
(I just love the name, Millicent Bagot. Perfect.)

Daisypath Graduation tickers


I've decided for my birthday this year I'll be having a tea party, fancy dress mandatory of course. And while I'm sure it'll be a lovely occasion, I'm saddened that it wont be in a specially designed HOUSE with two sets of cups for coco and tea. Oh the tragic life of an American graduate student. *Flings self upon my couch in despair*
I hear you! My dream is to someday live in a place where I can sit down, at a table, for meals. I know, crazy talk!
I have a fold up chair for extra spilly food (like eggy toast and soup) but my couch is pretty much where I eat my meals. As long as I vacuum regularly it's not too bad.
Goodbye Parasol Protectorate...*cry*. Glad to know that I have at least one more of that to look forward to, and of course Etiquette and Espionage in 2013, love the name.
I just had to read this entry just before I found out I had run out of milk. I suppose herbal tea will do as well but the talk of garden parties made me really want to break out the afternoon teas (even though it's close to midnight here).

Thank you about the note of tea houses. Another thing to add to the bucket list.
Afternoon tea in the summerhouse, watching the sun on the pond outside; while consuming home-made scones with clotted cream & jam made from the raspberries in the garden - magic

We live about 4 miles from Claydon House - I don't recollect the Chinese Room there - Florence Nightingale room yes, Chinese room I have no recollection of, which I can't understand as it looks so beautiful.
The idea that anyone would ever smoke in a library makes me unbearably upset. So much so that I'm using italics.
You and Lord Akeldama.
Aaah, pity you chose a winter photo for the Chinese tea house in Potsdam, since the gold-plated statues at the bottom of those pillars are all covered up. Also, there's a painting at the ceiling with monkeys that watch you walking around the house.
As it happens, I live just a stone's throw away and have the pleasure to walk the park and gardens whenever I want to. Yesterday I was ice-skating on one of the ponds. Fun!