Afternoon tea is a ritual I love. I remember trudging up the hill after school, my mom was usually sitting on the verandah with tea and tennis biscuits. While there are never tennis biscuits anymore (being full of dead orangutans a.k.a. palm oil, nowadays), I still have afternoon tea on the verandah.
Winter afternoons, when the sun slants in low are simply perfect to linger over a pot. My favourite is Darjeeling, but Earl Grey does just fine and, when I can get my hands on some, I adore Lady Grey with it’s citrus zing. Most of the time I drink local Ntingwe tea grown in Zululand, but afternoons always seem worth making a little extra effort for. I order loose leaf tea online from The Tea Merchant and adore opening the packets full of crinkly fragrant leaves.
In the past few years, I have discovered that crochet is the perfect accompaniment to tea. Calm, colourful, soothing. Although the first ever blanket I made – for Khethelo Mtambo – was only just finished when his mum rang me early one morning to get her to hospital. Quick! I took along my next crochet project to work on while I sat waiting for him to arrive on our planet. Crochet is the perfect device for practicing patience, and often starts a conversation too.
The colours of whatever I am working on guide my choice of tea-time crockery. In mid-winter I was pleased to be working on a blanket for Gabriel Gonzales (in his mom’s favourite warm colours!).
My sister loves blue, so while I worked on her rug, crafted from the wonderful Vinnis range of yarns, I used blue or green cups and jugs. Made in South Africa, using natural fibres, this yarn ticks all my boxes. The colours are fabulous and it is such a joy to work with.
I don’t often have cakes for tea, but a red velvet cup cake from the Farmer’s Daughter is sure to get my fingers hooking faster.
It’s great fun to do tea and crochet with friends. Mandy Crookes taught me to crochet a few years ago and recently, gathered a bunch of happy hookers and knit wits for conversation and tea in her garden.
My favourite teatime celebration (without crochet) was the Bug themed table in the Avenue of the Botanical Gardens a few years ago. That was so colourful, creative and super tasty too!
I also loved tea time on my 50th birthday, a mish mash of tea cups, an assortment of friends and great dollops of happiness.
I remember a tea party with Joel and Jethro Bronner that was fun too – especially because they gave me pixie shoes as a birthday present! I wonder if this was the beginning of Jethro’s love of tea? Last week, he set off from our Dargle to drive to Dargle in Ireland in a vintage Alfa with only his teapot for company. I gave him a package of Earl Grey as a parting gift, naturally.
South Africa has seen a crochet and knitting storm over the past months as everyone participated in the 67 Blankets for Madiba challenge. So much fun! So much colour! Such good vibes! Lots of tea! I dropped off my blanket last week to find a new home keeping someone snuggly – I have just realised I should have included a box of tea.