When I was a child, my mum had invited her friends over for afternoon tea. We lived in a sleepy town in the midst of the Irish countryside. Nature enveloped us from everywhere like a verdant green carpet that swept across the earth and hills that centered a magnificent aquamarine lake. Nothing much happened around here. Most of the townsfolk were farmers, bakers, butchers, or teachers. We rarely delved into the bustling cities for fear of becoming hedonistic and worldly. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of city life, we slowly developed our own placid lifestyle and detested anything but.
Mum was baking her signature Victoria Sponge Cake. Soon, the house was infused with its warm, sweet scent. She also made the jam herself. She’d used some summer forest berries made of strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries to create an intoxicating spread for the cake. It never stays on the cake tray for more than a day.
When Mum laid the cake and tea on the table, she tapped her head as if she’d forgotten something. She asked me to gather some flowers for the table before her friends arrive.