What the satirists said was true –
the civil service couldn’t function without tea breaks.
Each day :
2:30 p.m. Sharp.
Everyone attended –
phone’s diverted to the staffroom.
There was even someone to make it.
Tea ladies – an extinct species now.
warm and bighearted
making tea and coffee
and on special days,
making sure everyone got some cake.
New Zealand Tea Lady 1935 – 87.
· Endlessly patient
· Eternally cheerful
· Relentlessly willing.
· Some lifting involved
· Must be able to stand for long periods
· Large breasted (medium may apply).
Often they carried the name of a flower
Rose, Iris, Daphne
or something accessible and friendly
Annie, Betty, Jenny.
We had Shirley.
Shirley – tea Lady excelsis.
Ours was her last staff room –
four decades plus of brewing,
shearers, farmers, shepherds –
tea like waste oil from a tractor.
It turned me into a coffee drinker.
I blame her for my addiction.