Tea Time Thursday – Salisbury Tea

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​What stands out most vividly in our brief visit to Salisbury was the wacky tea shoppe that Kathy and I wandered into. There were so many things on the wall, it was hard to miss the tiny flowery wallpaper. There were small round table with two or three chairs. I think they were metal, like patio furniture rather than wood, and they were all white. I feel as though a doily factory exploded in this shoppe. People were there, chatting quietly, sipping tea, adding milk, dabbing creme onto scones, the click of the spoon hitting the tea cup unmistakable and nearly constant.

At the back of the shop was a counter where you got your order and behind the counter were three old women. Ancient would be more apt. They were all quite deaf or extraordinarily hard of hearing. Although they didn’t have one, it would not have surprised me one whit if they had one of those ear trumpets that you would put into your ear and had someone scream into.

They were shouting orders back and forth and repeating as necessary because of the hearing. It was very much like the Where’s the Beef commercials.

As Americans, we were already loud, but not quite loud enough for this place.

I’d like a tea with milk please.

What?

Tea. With milk, said a little louder.

What?

One more time.

She turned to the lady behind her, in the more kitcheny area and repeated my order.

What? came the reply from the back.

The first woman repeated it.

What?

A third woman back there repeated it even louder and was met with a silent nod as tea kettles were poured and prepared and given to us on a tray. We must have paid but I don’t actually remember paying. I also don’t recall if we got anything to eat with our tea.

We sat and sipped and listened in astonishment as our conversation was repeated with the customers who came after us. We grinned occasionally at the absurdity of it all.

It was so perfectly, stereotypically British that I would not have been surprised had Mrs. Slocum come out of the back complaining about her day.

I don’t remember what was upstairs – there was a little shop, but I do remember going up the narrow stairs and then coming back down relatively quickly. We slid past other customers coming in, back onto the narrow cobbled walkway, under the stone arch that had been there since before America was a nascent thought and back to the hostel; or more likely to the hostel for the first time after our very British sustenance. Tea cures all ills, and with its special powers we were able to walk the rest of the way to the hostel where we would stay the night and then continue west by train through the lush green countryside bordered by grey sky.

January in England. We made our own sunshine.

50-25 – Charm Bracelets

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Did you ever collect charm bracelets? Collect might be a bit strong of a description for mine. I’d get them at a variety of tourist spots on vacation, and then promptly lose them upon coming home. I remember looking at them in the gift shop, twirling them around my fingers, examing each charm. I’d wear it for a little while and then it would disappear into the netherworld of lost socks and board game pieces, never to be seen again.

I have vague memories of tricorn hats, moccasins, cactus, oranges, palm trees, revolvers, horses and buggies, Amish hats and other like trinkets in fake silver and gold.

After college, I made myself a charm necklace with pendant charms that I liked but no longer wore, strung onto a shoelace or a thick piece of twine, each separated by beads. It became too heavy to wear.

In recent years, I began collecting charms again; this time on a chain bracelet. I picked things out that were meaningful to my life now. I did lose one of a bow and arrow that I’d had since the SCA and archery practice in the ’90s, and that made me sad, but I substituted a bow and arrow that I found on a keychain of The Hunger Games.

Each one means something different and symbolizes some aspect of my life now.

The charm bracelet was the first place that I put a cross after I’d begun my RCIA studies.

The compass symbolizes the constant journey I’m on, and keeps me on the path and going in the right direction.

The salt vial keeps the demons away. Actually, it’s a symbol of Supernatural, a television show that is one of my coping mechanisms for depression (along with others). It reminds me that I’m part of the Supernatural familly and to always keep fighting.

The Tree of Life is nature, and life, and something that is bigger than me.

My griffin is from my original charm necklace. It is my favorite animal. Part lion and part eagle, they are both majestic and confident, and their golden feathers are gorgeous.

The feather is in place of a quill for all my writing.

Each one is special in its own way. It is like my secular rosary.

A newer charm bracelet that my family got me for Mother’s Day. It has only a few charms that werre important to me. (c)2016