Constantine Cornwall

Teas Under the Trees

I have an App on my phone that enables me to check the weather, hourly, on any given day, and in any location. On Wednesday 5th August it rained, and I already know that on Wednesday 19th August it will be raining (it’s only the 13th today). Why, you ask, is this relevant? Well, it means that two of the four Wednesdays in August, when our village tea-drinking and cake-eating get-together ‘Teas Under the Trees’ should be happening, it would have been rained off. There was nothing we could have done about it. Out of our hands, nature taking over, but it makes me feel better knowing that had the Covid situation had not forced us to cancel, we would have lost at least two due to weather anyway, so I am being positive!

On the wall of my kitchen I have a vibrant painting by Mollie Silver, showing ‘Teas Under the Trees’ when it started, with just two picnic benches and a couple of foldable chairs. I am even able to identify the dozen folk in the painting, chatting, drinking tea, and munching cake. Now, this year apart, every Wednesday in August we get 6 times that number, with every spare chair, bench, cushion, picnic blanket and rug transported to the green from each of the Christmas Lights Teams’ homes, ensuring everyone has somewhere to sit and enjoy this com- munity event for the two hours it runs. Baking used to be two sponges and six scones – now the team plan weekly for the dozens of cupcakes, batches of scones, flapjacks, sponges, eclairs, fruit loaves regularly on offer, supplemented most generously by baking donations from several magnificent village cooks. All funds raised (we never charge, just ask for donations) go towards Constantine Christmas Lights.

Every August Wednesday afternoon is nonstop chatter, laughter rising through the leaves of the overhanging trees, giggling babies toddling from table to table, children gently reading to one another sitting on the many cushions, whistling kettles, dogs looking up longingly at owners for the slightest morsel, all accompanied by the sound of clinking, tea filled china cups. Visitors have celebrated birthdays with us, anniversaries, success in exams, and given much needed love and support to anyone who has lost a loved one.

SO, I hope you read the poem below at the bus stop announcing we could not run ‘Teas Under the Trees’ this August. And at 3.00pm sharp you got out your china tea cup, tea pot and jolly tea cosy, and together with a good big slice of cake, celebrating everything we have in our village – not the being apart, but the being together. And we SHALL be back, drinking tea and eating cake with you all next year.

‘I had a little tea party every Wednesday at 3.00.
Twas very small, three guests in all, just I, Myself and Me.

Myself ate all the sandwiches, while I drank all the tea.
Twas also I who ate the pie and passed the cake to me’ 
(Jessica Nelson North)

FAQ: ‘Will the village still have Christmas Lights as there have been no fundraisers this year’?
YES – the team have planned over the years for a rainy day and this is the rainy day, so have some funds in the bank. If you would however like to donate either with time when it comes to putting the lights up, or with cash we are always very grateful. Ring 340279 for more details.

Tracey Clowes, Christmas Lights Team