We decided to assert our Englishness by inviting the other volunteers round to our (tiny) apartment for afternoon tea. We already had lots of teabags, brought from home (Co-op 99, since you ask), and augmented these with Earl Grey from the local supermarket. Cucumber sandwiches were a piece of cake (as was cake), and we had biscuits: McVities digestives and chocolate fingers. Proper teapots, borrowed from Suha, completed the picture.
About fourteen people turned up, and though it was definitely on the crowded side, a splendid time was had by all. The sandwiches were much admired and appreciated; Val made extra as more people arrived. The whole experience was very sociable and curiously educational, as people were taught the art of dunking, learned about builder’s tea, and were instructed in the old adage, “pot to the kettle, not kettle to the pot.”
The one negative was the amount of noise we made. As guests arrived, they generally brought the message from management to please keep the noise down, eventually culminating in a personal visit from the people from the floor below. I would blame all those young people and their lack of self-control, but I know I can be louder than any of them, so that is hardly fair. As things began to wind down, I took tea and cake down to the manager in his office as a peace offering. “No, no,no,” he protested. “No need for apology.” (Or tea and cake; he refused both.) “It is no problem. I know it is not you and your wife who make all the noise.” I said nothing.