Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Steampunk Tea, Part One

Natalie cannot hit an airship pinata to save her life.
After a few good whacks at thin air, her hat
slips askew.
My dearest Ladies and Gentlemen,
You are most cordially invited to Afternoon Tea at Rose Cottage Teahouse, Proprietress Mrs. Polly, on Sunday, the twenty-eighth of October. Rose Cottage is acclaimed for the taste and beauty of its Furnishings, its genial garden Setting, and applauded for the excellence of its fine Edibles and exotic Teas, not only within Scotia, the gentle nation in which it comfortably resides, but also so far as the lands of Lexington, Winchester, Richmond, and points farther afield.
We take the liberty of hoping that you will choose to honor us with your presence, and to afford your extra pleasure, will be pleased to carry you thither, and home again, in the famed and well-appointed airship Concord. Arrival and docking promptly at 4:30 post meridian. Our pilot does beg that any weapons shall be securely sheathed or holstered, and wishes to favor the ladies with the gentle word that hats should be well pinned and skirts perhaps weighted, to avert the possibility of any unfortunate accidents which might otherwise occur.
The favor of a reply is earnestly requested.
Ever your most sincere servant,
Mrs. Natalie
Stewardess, the Concord

Just hours ago the airship Concord docked at the Famous Kelly Avenue Teahouse, Rose Cottage, disgorging a set of friends, ready for a delightful afternoon.  Polly, our proprietress, and I, the Concord stewardess dispensing tea and sympathy, were joined by warrioresses, Mary Poppins (soaring in on her own umbrella), and an intrepid time traveler carrying the elixir of eternal life, trying to escape the clutches, teeth and net of a bounty hunter.

The menu of attractions:
  • afternoon tea, in three courses
  • "Guess what I am thinking of", a parlor game
  • charades -- miming common proverbs
  • an airship pinata!
Here you must know that this party was also in honor of our friend, now departed for northerner climes. Rebecca, we missed you very much, and dedicate the following glimpses, in this post and the next, of the afternoon to you.

"Not the net, dear sir, not the net!" cries Jenni, as the bounty hunter threatens vile capture, and the despoiling of the elixir of eternal life. Did you know that eternal life smells like lavender? Really, it does; one sniff of the precious oil is divine.

In which our proprietress displays her hat, and, sylph-like, blends with her tree. Oh roses, thou late bloomers, show thy faces bravely next days, for the forcasters have predicted snow by Wednesday.

We had finished off the airship pinata, the candy all spilling to earth, and decided to pose all disheveled. My hat's even further askew, and the bodice all rucked up from batting at the pinata with a tobacco stick. What? You think that's some sort of cigarette, eh? Ah, friend, but we're in Kentucky. Tobacco sticks are about four feet long, of good tough wood roughly cut, and spiked at one end, and are endlessly useful, not just for propping up tobacco plants, but for staking anything...or hitting anything. Awful handy, they are.

At parties I am a dreadful photographer, so that's quite literally all I have. Soon as compatriots send me the goods, Rebecca, I will post more!

Oh, and yes, the dress performed wonderfully. It's comfortable to wear, for one thing. A bustle is not as big as a crinoline skirt, so I had no fear of knocking over small tables. Plus, it collapses neatly when one sits, spreading a pretty small sea of fabric about, but revealing nothing. Second thing, I only backed up onto my own train once, and didn't fall, and only one party-goer trod on it, and it didn't rip. That in itself marks success. Third, the stiff sleeve ruffles you see on 1870s dresses have an advantage over more fly-away 18th century or 1930s versions: they stay where you put them and do not drag in the soup. Had they been airier, I'd be daubed with Polly's excellent cream of tomato soup in the above photo.


Rebecca said...

Oh, my word! How I miss all of you! I can't wait to see and read more of this grand event...In spite of the impending storm, I did manage to make it to the Virtual Ball at Willow Manor with my date, Michael Fassbender ( otherwise known as Mr. Rochester from the latest Jane Eyre film adaptation.) So, it was not a complete loss this weekend :)

Lady M said...

How divine it is to have tea with kindred spirits! You all look lovely.