The Ladies' Tea Guild

Thursday, July 18, 2013

_Wartime Farm_, the book!

_Wartime Farm_ by Peter Ginn, Ruth Goodman,
and Alex Langlands.  Photo: Elizabeth Urbach.
I may have mentioned my interest in the "Farm" history documentary series on the BBC, including "Tales from the Green Valley", "Victorian Farm," "Edwardian Farm" and "Wartime Farm" on this blog before ... my admiration of the featured historians and presenters knows no bounds!  I wish they would do a documentary here in the U.S. so I could work with them ... Anyway, there are companion books to each "Farm" series, and I recently won an autographed copy of the "Wartime Farm" book!

It's full, not only of an historical overview of what was going on in Britain between 1939 and 1950, but there are short chapters on many aspects of Home Front life in the country, with instructions for making and doing many of the things featured in the text and on camera in the documentary itself.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Rose, White & Blue Parade -- another fun way to spend the 4th of July!

The tea guild and GBACG members before the parade.  Photo: Laura Jimenez.
The South Bay Ladies' Tea Guild and the Greater Bay Area Costumers' Guild got together again to dress up and walk in San Jose's only 4th of July parade, the Rose, White & Blue Parade that travels through the historic Rose Garden neighborhood.  As with last year's parade, there was a lot of standing around and waiting -- even though we arrived at the staging area only 30 minutes before the parade was supposed to start (instead of 1 1/2 hours early as they suggested!).  We did have the opportunity to chat with some of the other parade participants, and had several people come up to us and ask to take pictures of and with us.  We were also approached by campaign workers to ask if we would be photographed holding various politicians' campaign posters, which we politely declined to do ...

the tea guild at GBACG members in the parade.  Photo: Laura Jimenez.
The parade route was lengthened this year, from 1.5 miles to 1.7 miles, and I don't know if we really noticed the difference because, just like last year, we all had sore feet by the end of the parade anyway!  The parade audience was great, though, and it is always fun to chat with them as we walk and wave.  We kept getting asked "How are your feet doing in those heels?" and "One lump or two?" (I was carrying our tea guild's banner).  The streets are so small that people can call out to you and you can hear and call back.  I wish we could have taken advantage of the glasses of cold beverages that were (somewhat jokingly) offered to us along the parade route, though!  On the way to a friend's house in the neighborhood (where we were invited to stop for some ice water and air conditioning) we started talking about next year's parade and how we should plan costumes that call for flat shoes!  So far, we've settled on Victorian and Edwardian bathing costumes (with ballet flats tied on with ribbons) and 1920s/1930s poolside and beach play suits and coverups (with espadrilles and sandals).  We'll see what we end up wearing when next year's parade rolls around!  

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

The Honeysuckle and the Bee

Orange honeysuckle, by Walter
Siegmund, Creative Commons 3.0
So many flowers are blooming, even in this unusual heat!

 I found a really cute Ragtime song called "The Honeysuckle and the Bee" from 1911 or so, on YouTube, that I think more people should hear.  Julie Andrews sang it in the 1970s, but the most historically-accurate modern rendition I've heard is this one, from Patricia Hammond:


Tuesday, July 2, 2013


"What dreadful hot weather we have!
It keeps me in a continual state of inelegance."
- Jane Austen 

July has arrived, and brought unusually high temperatures with it!  Parts of the garden are doing well -- the pumpkins and zucchini are sprawling all over their space -- but the tomatoes in the clay pots keep wilting if I don't water them every day.  Only one of my heads of lettuce is doing well, but I've already cut from it twice and it looks like it's about to go to seed.  It looks good for the cherry tomatoes and the other tomatoes in the ground, though and it looks like I'll get a good amount of basil, too.  Hopefully this next week of really high temperatures won't kill everything!

The tea guild is getting ready to walk in the Rose, White & Blue Parade through downtown San Jose on the 4th, so that should be fun.  It's the third year we've walked in the parade and we're glad to have been invited back!  We had a lot of fun waving to the crowd and being in the parade.  Here is one of the photos from last year:          
The parade starts at 10 a.m. and runs through the Rose Garden neighborhood in San Jose, so come out and see it!  We can always use some fans in the audience ...
Now stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtains, wheel the sofa round,
And, while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.
-- William Cowper (1731-1800)
"The Winter Evening" (Book Four), _The Task_ (1784)