In Writing + illustration

High tea at home

Birds-eye view painting of a table set for high tea with flowers, cups and cakes..

Living with covid-restrictions has forced us to find creative ways to stay connected and celebrate special occasions in unique ways. New family traditions have emerged; from backyard camping to online game nights and bbq-zooms.

For last year’s birthday during lockdown my husband made me a special ‘high tea at home’. Complete with fancy little sandwiches with crusts cut off and tea from an actual tea pot (which we had to borrow because it turns out we don’t own one). It was so much fun that I asked if it could be my yearly birthday tradition. When Mother’s Day arrived this year, and the restrictions had eased to allow some visitors in the home, we decided to to invite our mothers and grandmothers over for high tea.

I set the table with an eclectic mix of special family tea cups and matching saucers passed down through the family. The ones that are lucky to leave the top of the cupboard once a year, so getting them out gives me that same mix of nostalgia and discovery as opening our Christmas ornaments box. I picked some flowers and ferns from the garden and placed them in a vase in the centre of the table. I even borrowed a tiered cake stand to be extra fancy. When I stood back I thought, this looks like a painting.

Turns out it was a lot of fun to paint. I gave it to my grandmother for her 90th birthday. We’re back in lockdown and I haven’t been able to see her in months, but I hope the canvas hanging on her wall is making her smile.

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