One of the things I enjoy about taking tea is that it can be done anywhere and anytime. Whether in a formal tea salon with others or alone in a favorite quiet corner at home, tea allows one to forget everything at least for as the cup needs refilling. Again, the key point is not how you do it but that you do it.
Like all children, I learned about taking tea from the adults who surrounded me. I must also say that I was blessed to grow up around phenomenonal women who knew how to take the ordinary and turn it, seemingly effortlessly, into the extraordinary. Each had her own style, but style was the common thread. Anything worth doing, I learned, was worth doing well.
PREPARING THE WAY FOR GOOD CONVERSATION
Whenever someone would visit, either expected or unexpected, refreshments were offered. Often the kettle would be filled with cold water and placed over a gas pilot to boil. While waiting for the unmistakable kettle whistle, the visitor was invited to sit down to table. Then my grandmother, aunt, or mother would go about preparing tea and refreshments.
As our guest watched my relative make the preparations, the visitor would become visibly more relaxed and then the talking began. At this point, I would ask to be excused (before being asked to excuse myself). From the next room, I could hear the sounds of punctuated laughter. This sound let me know that whatever brought the visitor upon arrival, the tea and company would help our guest feel better upon departure.