In accordance with established tradition, last weekend we held our annual Spring tea party. Apart from the fact that we like to pounce on any excuse to eat and drink, this is also an opportunity to encourage those volunteers who have been over-wintering away from the allotment, and any potential new recruits, to make an initial foray to Lever Park Avenue.
So the word went out and an encouraging number of people indicated their intention to be there… and then winter returned. Well, not quite, but it was cold. Hat, gloves and thermal underwear cold if you were sitting outside drinking tea and eating cake rather than running a half marathon or otherwise keeping your blood circulating. So we ended up with nine of us, rather than dozens. Still, that nine included two potential new volunteers, in Liz and Matt, as well as Kirsty’s emergence from winter hibernation, equipped with cucumber sandwiches, cake stand and a bottle of Damson Gin.
The generous repast collectively provided by the volunteers included cucumber sandwiches, savoury flapjack, cheese scones and an extensive range of cakes, including chocolate and cherry, chocolate, carrot and pineapple upside down cake. These were washed down with copious amounts of tea plus some sweet wine and the aforementioned Damson gin.
Everything was proceeding in a civilized fashion until, apropos of nothing in particular (though possibly inspired by a particularly luscious slice of cake), Kirsty decided to reminded us of her dislike for the word ‘moist’ (which presumably rules Bake-Off out of her regular viewing). That in itself would not have provoked too much ribaldry had in not been followed by the observation that she also has an aversion to the word ‘gusset’. One can’t help feeling that the potential employment of the two words in proximity to each other might have something to do with her dislike of both. Fortunately, Barney steered us toward safer waters by mentioning that a school friend of his sister’s had such a dislike of the word ‘armpit’ that she insisted on it always being replaced with the word ‘armchair’. This led to some relatively safe musing on the potential linguistic confusions that might therefore arise – ‘have you washed your armchairs?’, ‘phew, your armchairs smell’, ‘he’s got very hairy armchairs’ and so on.
By this point there was a developing risk of hypothermia among the crowd and so we divvied up the remaining food between ourselves and went on our way, hoping that spring would have returned by the following week.