Long, long ago, when I was young and Mr Nixon was president,
I started reading books.
Actually I started reading books – and newspapers and magazines and Sear and Roebucks catalogs and the backs of cereal boxes, much, much earlier, but I started reading books set in England and by English authors during the Nixon administration. For reasons I do not remember, I chose to narrow my reading to England for a year. Winnie-the-Pooh? Been there, read, that.
William Shakespeare? Working my way through.
Watching movie versions to help sort it all out.
It was all about Shakespeare. Writing these words – the collected works of William Shakespeare, I remember.
But not just any ole Shakespeare….
Romeo and Juliet.
The Movie.This Movie.
THIS is why I wanted to read ALL of Shakespeare. Sexy. sexy Shakespeare.
Which led to a major Agatha Christie Read-a-thon. Not the non-sequester this seems.The Library had scads of them. It put me in England. I tried to read them in the order in which they were written – or just the way they were on the shelves.
Dame Agatha Christie
All the detectives…..I would eventually re-read many of them by character series.
and so on and so forth…..
and then there was Thomas Hardy
Far from the Maddening Crowd – the 1968 movie
The movie gave me a visual….each time I read Hardy I still make new discoveries. I loved the flow of the words, the poetry – there’s no way I understood HALF of what he was writing about when I first read him.
I started with Emma.
My Great Aunt Eileen had given me three volumes of Jane Austen when I was nine – before cookbooks, she gave me Austen so the books would be waiting for me to be ready for them. I had forgotten them.
They had become part of the backdrop, three red covered hardbound volumes. Until my then brand new best friend came into school with a paperback book:
Emma Jane Austen.
Emma Jane Austen? Who’s that? I asked.
Oh – Emma by Jane Austen.
Well, yeah, I’ve heard of Jane Austen (quick brain scan, can’t remember a thing – wait! She’s English. Fits in with my read only English authors plan for the year. Where exactly did I leave that book?)
And while I read, I drank tea.
Tea made the books more English.
Tea made me more English.
Proper tea is made in a teapot, so I wanted a tea pot.
I got one at a yard sale and it was a beauty.
I’m a little teapot…
Little, orange, luster-ware. It was like a little bit of sunshine on the morning table.
Considering that much of the coffee I was drinking at this period was Freeze-dried…..hey, it was the ’70’s!
He played a doctor on TV, and he sold coffee, too. Robert Young.
Back to tea. Pots and pots of tea. Hot tea, never iced or sweet. Pots and pots of hot tea poured into cup after cup.
That’s Salada Tea
and also Red Rose and Lipton.
Lots and lots of Constant Comment. Perhaps the signature tea. Thank you, Judith!
Earl Grey. English Breakfast. All day long.
Drank tea while I read. And I read every day.
Sharing pots of tea as part of the conversations of the books, the characters, the plots, the places, the movies.
Often in a China cup, also purchased at yard sales and received and given as gifts, often given as gifts between those of us reading the books and discussing them. A proper cuppa. Book love = Tea love. The kettle was always on. The pot was always warmed.The good China was out, singular and mismatched as it was.
Tea was served. Sometimes with milk, sometimes with lemon, sometimes with something a little sweet, sometimes with friends, sometimes with family.
The Rule of Three was established in the ancestral home – you always put the kettle on with enough for yourself and two others, even if you were alone. Someone could come in! Be prepared!
It’s June. Strawberry season. Time to read Emma again.
But first, put on the kettle.