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Prior to World War II I learned about how important tea time is in the British Isles. It was probably from seeing movies or reading books. Recovering from a war wound I was in a small army hospital in the small town of Axminster in County Devon on the south shore of England. After two months – January and February 1945 – I was being prepared to go back to the continent. Now with new army issues I decided to take a walk to the main section of Axminster which was only a couple hundred yards away. Even in February the temperature was around 60 degrees. As I entered Main Street bells began to ring and whistles blew. Women opened windows and shouted to children to come into the homes. This puzzled me and alarmed me. I said to myself, This can’t be an air raid. Not way out here in the country. I spotted a pub across the street and ran into it. It seemed noise proof, so I asked the pub tender why all the noise, warnings, etc. He turned and looked at the clock on the back wall and said, Oh, it is 4 o’clock. It is tea time. My wife and I were in London in the mid-sixties and stayed at the Grosvenor House, an old, fashionable hotel. Here high tea was at 4 PM and was almost a formal affair. Everyone dressed for tea and the display of food. This was served by waiters in tuxes. On the same trip we were in Ireland. We had tea and scones every afternoon as we drove through the countryside. We were in London again in 1978, this time with another couple. Our stay was at a hotel in Kensington, where we learned that a sports stadium was nearby. In fact, we saw scheduled a cricket game, so we decided to attend and have a new experience. And it was some experience. As we followed each play, the game was complicated and confusing. A young Englishman, seeing our confusion, volunteered to explain each play. It seemed more confusing with time. Suddenly a loud horn sounded. It was 4PM on the dot. All play immediately ceased and all players gathered around a table for tea. We were told that this game could go on for days. We found this time to be a wonderful opportunity to leave.

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 4pm,cricket,Grosvenor House,scones
  Axminster, England
Jun 18 2024

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