Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Celebratory Tea-Party (Not for the Royal Wedding!)

Yesterday, Easter Monday, we held a tea-party to celebrate the birth of our beautiful grand-daughter. She is now just over 3 months old and a good age to be presented to her extended family.
So, invitations to a gathering of the tribes were sent out and enough food to make any self-respecting tea-table groan was baked.
We are fortunate in having access to a marvellous canopy (not shown to best effect in the picture) which was erected over the main yard along with a small marquee to provide shade or shelter, depending on the weather. We were blessed with a glorious hot sunny day and the sun-shade was greatly appreciated.
We played host to about 80 people, mostly family members, several of whom had travelled considerable distances to be with us. The age-range was huge, from baby Lili aged 3 months to her paternal great-grandfather aged 82. We had gangs of small children playing merrily on a slide all afternoon, glamorous langorous teenagers with their dead-straight curtains of hair & airs of sophistication and their parents & grandparents all milling around in a lovely melange of generations.
I had spent days baking and as always I was quite convinced there would not be enough food so made more(!) but of course all that was presented got eaten. There were sandwiches containing cucumber, egg, tomato, home-grown beef, great numbers of meringues made with our own eggs filled with our own cream, profiteroles, iced Easter biscuits, iced buns, chocolate cake, coffee cake, Victoria sandwich,
Welsh cakes, Bakewell tarts, muffins, bread-&-butter-with-hundreds-&-thousands (something remembered from childhood parties) and a beautiful two-tiered confection of a cake to honour the baby which was made & decorated by her mother.
I dug out old bone china tea sets and ancient lace & embroidered table-clothes and with the immeasurable help of my brother & sister-in-law, did a rather good bit of set-dressing for a proper tea-party. It all looked lovely with home-made bunting and festoons of pretty paper flowers. We put tiny posies of spring flowers on all the small tables each with its beatiful cloth, which were dotted around on the grass with chairs and benches placed strategically.
The Farmer had spent the week mowing all the lawns to within an inch of their lives & when I was not baking I was tidying the gardens & potting up scarlet geraniums to be placed in odd corners and along window sills to prettify the yard. And though I say it myself it  did all look very good on the day!!...well worth the effort and hard work.
The baby behaved beautifully all day and all her vast family thought she was wonderful and we have some marvellous photographs of the entire party with Lili in the centre. Although she will have no memory of the day I think everyone else will be able to talk of Lili's Party as very happy family get-together.
The day ended with just a small group of family & friends sitting round a fire in the farmhouse garden eating chilli con carne & drinking the Farmer's home brewed beer until after dark. All very pleasant.
And today we are dismantling canopies & gazebos, packing away china, washing fragile linen and generally getting back-to normal after an incredibly busy week as of course, all the preparation had go hand-in-hand with the usual farm work.

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