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An English Afternoon Tea

I have a writer friend visiting me at the moment (see previous post) and yesterday we drove down the coast to visit another writer friend who has recently moved into a flat near the beach. She instructed us to bring nothing — not even flowers — which is very hard to do. It just feels wrong, doesn’t it, to visit without bringing anything, but she was adamant so we decided to be obedient.

Her flat is lovely and she’s arranged it all beautifully, and though she said she still had heaps of stuff in boxes, there was no visible evidence of it (unlike my place).

She’s English, and she put on an English afternoon tea for us. It was delicious, as you can infer from this photo. The little finger sandwiches were cucumber and smoked salmon, egg and lettuce, and chicken and avocado and they were very very yummy. I almost never buy white bread and I’d forgotten how delicious little sandwiches made with fresh white sliced bread can be. 

She’d also made scones and there were two alternatives — the classic delicious Devonshire cream tea (scone + jam + cream) and one I hadn’t heard of, the devil’s cream tea — (cheese scones + chilli jam + philadelpia cream cheese.) Of course I had to have one of each, and while the devil scones were very tasty, Devonshire will remain forever my favorite. As well, there were little tarts, and macarons, but I was so full of finger sandwiches and scones I didn’t have any. The tea, served in elegant tea cups, was smoked Earl Grey, which I hadn’t had before and was lovely.  And the Royal Jubilee plates were a gorgeous touch —  her sister in England had sent her these.

It was a lovely afternoon, with lots of writer talk and stories and laughter, and a walk along the beach to finish. Strangely when we got home that evening, my visitor friend and I weren’t terribly hungry, so it was just salad for dinner.

A visitor!

I’m having a visitor coming to stay for a few nights — some of my writer friends are flying in for a meeting, and one good friend is coming in a few days early to stay in my new house before moving in to the meeting hotel.

So the guest room needed. . . um . . . work. Because a few weeks ago it still looked much like this.

All those boxes contain books, and I’m getting bookshelves built in, but it’s a sixteen week wait for the guy to come and do it — which will be in early December. And once they’re up, then the dreaded book-culling will begin. 

I’m keeping a few of the stand-alone bookshelves as well, but am planning to paint them white (they’re currently a kind of soft pink, which I’m soooo bored with now.)  But I’m trying to get my book finished, so basically I wasn’t planning on doing anything — no book-culling, no bookcase painting, no guest-room organizing — until after the new shelves were built  and the book  finished, of course.

So, the prospect of a visitor coming to stay really got me moving!  I’m so excited. I can’t tell you how long it is since I’ve had anyone to stay. Covid really put the kybosh on that, and then moving house . . .

First I had to move all the boxes of books into the other spare room—it’s now jam-packed, and won’t be cleared until I get the bookshelves built—and move some furniture around as well.

Next there was the issue of a bed. Useful things, beds. Visitors seem to like them. I’d thrown out the wonky old bed base before I moved, but I’d kept the mattress, which was almost new. So I had to buy a new base, which wasn’t a problem, and then put it together, which was. I hate those “put furniture together” things with their impossible instructions, don’t you? Luckily I had a friend come around to help me. I say “help me” but really he did all the work (and the swearing) while I balanced things and handed screws out and held things together.

And then, it being a nice new bed, I had to get a new quilt cover, didn’t I?  Because the bedding for the old guest room doesn’t fit with the colors in the new house — that’s my excuse anyway.

So now it’s all ready for my visitor — except for the flowers, which I’ll pick tomorrow. The room is still rather bare-looking — no paintings or anything, and the bookshelf is still a dreary pink, which doesn’t go at all with the rest of the room. And the books aren’t organized in any way — I just threw a few into the bookcase so it didn’t look too horridly bare. And so that there are a few things for visitors to browse through if they want something to read.

I also bought a bedside table with a drawer, but it only arrived yesterday, and since it’s another item that has to be put together,  it can wait. It might be an evening’s entertainment for my visitor and me, who knows? In the meantime, the bamboo thing works fine.

But it’s no longer a cluttered box-room, (even though you can still see the imprint of some of the boxes on the carpet).  The bed is ready and it’s very comfortable. And my friend is very good at decor and stuff like that, so I foresee some good and fruitful discussions. 

A Special

My book, THE SCOUNDREL’S DAUGHTER is on special for $1.99 (or less) for a short time on various e-book sites.

It’s about dealing with blackmail, second chances, learning to trust and finding self respect. And, of course, about love.

At the ARRA (Australian Romance Readers’ Association) Awards in Sydney,  The Scoundrel’s Daughter  won the award for the Favourite Historical Romance.

This link is for Amazon.com and this one is a Universal Link which should take you to your preferred e-book retailer.