Mrs Pettigrew and a Grand cup of Tea. by Gena King
I am by my very nature, a nostalgic creature, my Vintage background never far behind me, I hanker for a pretty life, I long for simpler times when we appreciated more and took less for granted ( yet separate me from my iPhone and I become a shaking mess! I am nothing if not a total contradiction) If you follow me on Instagram you will be aware of my obsession with tea cups and tiny floral plates, I like tablecloths and napkins, I am a bit of a faffer! The modern world is a funny old place, I admit to avoiding much of it and often closing my front door to it all to cocoon myself within my cosy home.
However…. I have two Daughters, I must flow with the times, so quite often we find ourselves in one of the many high street coffee establishments, much to their amusement, ordering drinks is an absolute ordeal for me! I invariably get the order wrong and when it comes to me, I stand staring in a bewildered fashion at the large scary menu board ,before finally shunning a medium chocallatto cappithingy with milk of a llama, for A GRAND CUP OF TEA PLEASE! ( a China cup wouldn’t go amiss either but hey ho)
” what kind of tea?” The sulky server grunts
” err brown tea?”
At this point the Daughters have sloped off in shame to a corner table, whilst I mentally calculate the absolute extortionate cost, and debate whether or not I need to sell a kidney ( depends if they want cake or not)
This is such a contrast to the times my Mother took me out as a Teenager for tea and cake, our next door neighbour when I was growing up, was an absolute Darling of a woman called Mrs Pettigrew, she had worked from being a girl in an old fashioned tea room in the city centre, called Pumphreys, she actually baked at home and took the scones and cakes into her workplace on the bus!can you see sulky Sharon from Starbucks doing that?
Anyway I digress! I remember occasionally as a special treat, we would get the bus into town and look at all the lovely dresses in Fenwick’s, then wander down to Pumphreys, even then in the seventies it was like a step back in time, the waitresses in black dresses and white aprons, sparkly silver cutlery, napkins and yes! Bone china cups and saucers! Mrs Pettigrew would attend to us personally, always smiling and chatty, I loved her so much, I remember the warm scones, the tiny dishes of raspberry jam, and steaming hot tea poured over a silver tea strainer. I was spoilt for life.
I often think of Mrs Pettigrew, I wonder what she would have made of today’s offerings? But then is that not the whole thing about nostalgia? If nothing changed we would not have those memories to return to.
Agnes Pettigrew….. it was a grand cup of tea!