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Critiquing the Coffee

4 October, 2010

the Author, currently caught up in the world of E.F. Benson’s Mapp and Lucia, imagines this scene as one of ruthless political machinations rampant in genteel village society.



the Hostess watches with distrust and disfavour as her Guests examine her refreshments and make remarks like ‘Oh Dearest Lulu, how terribly thoughtful of you to water down the coffee—you do know how our darling Daisy prefers hers weak.  I usually add extra milk just for Daisy dear, but how delightful that you have found a thoroughly successful method to thin the taste of coffee!’


‘Oh my, a fly wandered in!  Well, these are the charms of serving tea outside, while others might hold their gatherings in the conservatory [knowing very well that the Hostess does not have a conservatory, and alluding to the fact that the Critiquer recently had a little luncheon in her own conservatory, to which she neglected to invite the present Hostess].’

As soon as her two guests finishing examining the refreshments, they will each smile, call each other dearest and will thank the Hostess for such a ‘charming’ afternoon.

Such is the life of Tillingham, Riseholme and the other small towns of Sussex in the 1920’s (and no doubt in suburbs across the world today).


Times passes…a month after this was originally shared, the Author stumbled upon the painting which was prominently featured in this post and in her imagination.  She is happy to share the title of the painting and the name of the artist: Hier können Familien Kaffee kochen by Hans Baluschek, originally encountered by the Author in the Bröhan Museum in Berlin.  She also found a higher quality image than her surreptitious gallery photographs. 


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