Afternoon tea is one of life's gentle luxuries. No more so than when taken in the company of close friends where lively conversation is matched with delicious scones, sandwiches and cakes beautifully and elegantly served in the most pleasing and attractive of settings. Such was the case recently at Horsted Place, a rather splendid country house hotel set deep in the Sussex countryside.
That the experience was presumptuously dismissed by a young friend, who had been treated to the occasion, as "meaningless" did somewhat draw our breath. That this had formed part of a gift of a birthday celebration comprising a five day, first visit to the United Kingdom should, we assume, be regarded as irrelevant. That the entire trip should pass with little in the way of a thank you, for such we are told are "empty words", should, we imagine, be a matter of indifference. That we should ourselves feel as an outcome somewhat lacking in value is, surely, a failing on our part. After all, have we not been brought up on the prayer of Saint Ignatius whereby we are extolled "to give and not to count the cost"?
|Jane Hattatt ruminates on the standards of politeness in today's world|
There was a time, seemingly now in the Dark Ages, when politeness and common courtesy were to be found in abundance. It was, in the way of modern parlance, 'cool' to say thank you, to appear interested in and enthusiastic for whatever was on offer. Put simply, to delight in receiving and to have joy in giving. Flowers appeared in response to a lunch invitation, wine to one for dinner, whilst an overnight stay would, as a matter of course, be followed with the ubiquitous 'bread-and-butter' letter. Sadly today's post box has little to show beyond bills and one looks forlornly for an email or text message.
But perhaps it is we who are out of kilter, to use a deliciously old fashioned phrase? It is we who need to 'get a life'. Indeed, to draw upon a completely unsolicited comment left, but not published, on a recent post of ours by a fellow blogger, previously unknown to us:
"This is one of the most boring blogs that I have ever stumbled upon".
We beg forgiveness. We crave your forbearance. We shall try harder!