Afternoon Tea with the Ladies


I can’t imagine turning to a historical figure for advice. On the whole I prefer to seek advice from those who know me and my situation.

However, I can think of a number of interesting people I would enjoy inviting over for a cup of tea. Mind you, I would worry about how they might take their tea after the revelations from a recent visit to Dove Cottage about the multiple reuse of tea leaves in the early 19th century. Posting them to a friend after the third brew! What! Or maybe that was just the way Dorothy Wordsworth did things, who knows? I do know I wouldn’t have one of her cups of tea though.

Still, I might invite some icons. In fact the more I consider my options I find myself edging towards the ladies. I fear “historical” men would be too “historical” in their views of women to be able to engage in a reasonably equitable conversation (I accept this is rampantly generic but we shall never be able to prove how right or wrong I am, so indulge me! It’s my party and I can invite whom I wish).

The invitation list might include such leading lights as Jane Austen, Ada Lovelace, Aphra Behn, Margaret Fell and Mary Wollstonecraft (she would be allowed to bring J S Mill with her if she wished).

In such illustrious company, however, I would be so busy panicking that the scones were too dry or the tea too strong (I do like a good strong brew – NAAFI tea my mother calls it. Certainly it would not suit DW, as already discussed) that I would not have capacity to join in. They would probably all think I was the scullery maid anyway.

Plus I would need to make sure they were all up to speed wih current events. That is going to take some planning: perhaps I could produce some information packs personalised for each guest. Would I need to make attractive binders to contain all the information? Would I need to adapt my English to an appropriate style for each reader? So many unknowns! Otherwise would they would just be staring at each other? In fact I am rapidly going off this idea. All this preparation and then complaints about my tea. Why are you putting me through this stress, Plinky? I was never an accomlpished social organiser, you know that!

OK, deep breath, think of cool wet grass…in with the good, out with the bad.


Actually, Plinky, I think I’ll give this one a miss. Unless there are any good historical party organisers i can approach for advice? Mme de Pompadour perhaps?

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