Sunday, October 21, 2007

An Autumn Austen Tea- day one

Afternoon Tea
Afternoon Tea
Giclee Print

Kilburne, George...
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Plans are underway for a tea party this Friday, an Austen-themed tea party with my book-loving friends. The idea is to come "in character" as our favorite Jane Austen lady, and bring our needlework and our best musical skills.

It was necessary to send out some pre-invitation invitations to find a date suitable for all. One of these was sent via email, one will be via telephone and the other was sent by post. It was from Elizabeth Bennet, requesting opinions on whether a tea party such as this would be welcome and what date would suit my friends. A charming reply came in a rose-petal-paper envelope, written in fine calligraphy with a heart imprinted in the wax seal:

"Dearest Elizabeth, We are delighted by your invitation! Certainly TEA is always welcomed, but the joy of seeing you and your charming family far outshines the consumption of that most wonderful of beverages. Would October the 26th be convenient for you? Our party shall be happy to furnish small cakes or sandwiches. Do reply by the most convenient method, if this plan is satisfactory to all concerned. Dearest Lizzie, what a happy plan!

Cordially, Anne Elliot."

Now for the preparations.

The plan is to have it at my mother's residence, which, since it is built of cinder blocks, could be something close to the idea of a great castle or old manor house. But perhaps it is not quite Pemberly-ish enough. So the story is, that Pemberly is under renovation, and the Darcy's have removed to a small cottage on the property until it is completed. Mr. Darcy (Fitzaiden?) will be out that afternoon working with the architects on the main house.

I should send out the "real" invitations, when I have heard from other prospective guests, and have fixed the time of day.

I am not going to be strict about costumes, but I do have on my dress form a regency gown that needed to be altered, and perhaps I can sew that new petticoat I cut out in May! I'm sure that the little boys will want to dress up as men of the Navy, with their captain's hats.

I have ideas about the food that I want, and will have to make a grocery list. There are a few items yet to be thought of. Sandwiches, savory bites, and the new Fig Scone recipe in the latest issue of Tea Time magazine make up the menu so far. And of course my mother will always serve Yorkshire Gold tea.

I will have to watch Pride and Prejudice again to get some idea of witty things to say while pouring tea. I have stated that accents are optional, and I doubt we can stay in character long but the idea is just to have fun! I should brush up on some piano pieces (I'm certainly glad that Elizabeth Bennet was not a perfectionist at the piano). I read the book again earlier this year, but the movie can talk to me while I fold laundry or wash dishes, so I will have to use it to brush up on my chosen character!

Tomorrow I shall write an update on my progress.

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