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Tilda's Tea Party




Tilda, the Table Manners Bear, lived in a small, pretty village. Not only was she known for her excellent table manners, but also for her love of hosting tea parties.


One sunny afternoon, Tilda had the brilliant idea to organize the best children's tea party her friends had ever seen. She jumped out of bed and ran down the stairs into the kitchen. She was very excited. Today was the day of her Tea Party. She was up so early that Mummy wasn’t even awake!

‘Never mind,’ thought Tilda, ‘I can start to get things ready.’


She’d sent out the invitations two weeks ago and everybody had said yes.


‘Now,’ she said, looking for her list, ‘let’s see who is coming.’


Of course, she knew exactly who was coming, but she just wanted to read her list one more time.


‘Polly Please Bear, Heidi Helpful Bear and Kia Kind Bear. Good Manners Granny, her favourite Granny, was coming too, but she’ll have tea with Mummy and Daddy. They are some of my best friends and Granny loves tea parties, so I know we will have a lovely time!’ she sighed happily.


Tilda gathered her best teacups and saucers and a rainbow assortment of deliciously scented teas and some juice.


‘Thank goodness it’s sunny today, so we can have tea outside,’ she said to herself.

The garden, filled with blossoming flowers and beautiful trees, was the perfect setting for this special event, except…..


‘Oh dear!’ she thought, looking at the rather battered garden table. It was round, which would be perfect, but it was not smart enough for her special Tea Party.


‘Oh dear. What am I going to do about that?’


Just then her mother came outside.


‘You’re up very early,’ she said, putting her arm around Tilda, ‘what’s the matter? You’re looking rather sad.’


Tilda turned towards her. ‘I wanted to have the party in the garden as it’s such a lovely day, but the table looks so dirty.’


‘Don’t worry,’ said Mum. ‘I’ll give it a good rub down and then put my special lace cloth on it. It will look beautiful.’


Excitedly, Tilda followed her mother inside and began planning the Tea Party. Where they would sit, who would have which cup and saucer, and matching side plate and which napkin.


Granny Manners had told her how important it is to have napkins so that you can wipe any jam from around your mouth.


‘Why are they called napkins?’ she asked her Mum.


‘It comes from the French word ‘nap’ which means cloth and ‘kin’ which means small.’


‘Oh, I see,’ Tilda laughed ‘small cloth!’


Mum had baked scrumptious scones and cupcakes. Tilda loved scooping out the last of the mixture with her little wooden spoon, it was so delicious! ‘I’d better start making the sandwiches’, she thought. Just then the door opened, and Good Manners Granny walked in wearing a lovely flowered cotton dress and her sunhat. Tilda ran over and gave her a big hug.


‘I hope I’m not too late to help,’ Granny said. ’I got caught up in some traffic’.


‘Oh no, you are just in time to help me make the sandwiches,’ smiled Tilda as she ran to the bread bin and took out a sliced loaf. Then she went to the fridge and assembled a cucumber and two hard boiled eggs and a jar of honey from the cupboard. She and Granny mashed the eggs with some mayonnaise and cut the cucumber into very thin slices. Granny looked over her shoulder while she was doing this as the knife was rather sharp. When she had filled the sandwiches, she cut half of them into squares and the other half into triangles.


‘What about the crusts’? asked Granny. Tilda looked at her blankly. ‘Some people prefer their sandwiches without crusts’.


‘But that’s such a waste of bread!’ exclaimed Tilda.


‘It needn’t be if we use them for something else. For instance, we could put the crusts on the bird table. A few crusts are a bit of a treat for them, as long as they’re not too hard’.

‘Why?’


‘Because little birds can choke, but don’t worry, we can always soak them in a bit of water. Or’, added Granny ‘we could make a bread and butter crust pudding. What do you think?’


‘Hmm.’ Tilda thought for a moment. ‘I think I’ll give them to the birds’.


‘As this is a special tea party’, said Mummy coming into the kitchen, ‘let’s use the special cake stand.’


Tilda jumped up and down. It was so exciting. The cake stand was very old and had belonged to Granny’s mother. She’d never been allowed to use it before.


‘Are you sure?’ she said, clapping her hands. ‘That will be perfect! Thank you Mummy!’


She carefully arranged the sandwiches on the bottom plate. Then she fetched the cake tin and picked out some scones and some cupcakes. She stood back and admired her handywork. The cake stand looked gorgeous. The cucumber, egg and honey sandwiches on the bottom plate, the scones on the middle plate and the pretty cupcakes on the top plate.


‘Shall I put some flowers on them?’ she thought to herself. ‘It would make them look wonderful.’ With that she went into the garden and picked some pansies. Blue for the sandwiches, yellow for the scones and white for the cupcakes. ‘I’d better ask Mummy what flowers I can pick for the middle of the table.’ She and her mother went into the garden. There were beautiful roses, candytuft, poppies, sweet peas, nasturtiums, geraniums and marigolds in the flowerbeds. It was very difficult to choose.


‘Think about the colours of the cups and napkins you are going to use and choose those that will match them,’ said Mum.


Tilda picked a beautiful posy and took it into the kitchen to look for a suitable vase. It wasn’t even lunchtime. What on earth was she going to do until teatime?


Dad came into the room with an armful of paper decorations. There were cardboard teapots, cups and cakes in different beautiful colours


‘I made these yesterday,’ he said. ‘I thought we could hang them on the trees to make the garden look even more pretty.’ Tilda threw her arms around him and gave him a huge hug.

Dad got his stepladder and together they spent a happy time getting the decorations to look just right.


After lunch Tilda decided to make place cards for each guest before laying the table. She got a tray and on it she put four cups, four saucers, four plates, four small knives and four napkins. Her mother had put out the lace tablecloth, so Tilda took it outside and laid it on the newly scrubbed table. The frothy white cloth looked perfect adorned by the tea set and the posy and she was delighted.


Soon it was time to get ready for the party. Mum came into the kitchen, ‘Don’t forget the clotted cream and the raspberry jam for the scones. They are in the fridge. I should leave them in the kitchen until your friends arrive.’


Tilda thanked her and ran upstairs to get out her best dress. ‘This will be just right,’ she thought, as she looked at herself in the mirror.


It was three o’clock and Mummy had changed into a dress too. She and Granny were waiting at the bottom of the stairs as Tilda came down.


‘You look lovely,’ they said together, and everyone started to laugh because they’d said the same thing at the same time.


Tilda and Good Manners Granny went outside to look at the garden and inspect the table.

‘Everything looks marvellous, darling,’ exclaimed Granny. ‘The table is perfect and the garden looks so beautiful.’


At half past three, Polly, Heidi and Kia arrived wearing their best outfits. Their eager smiles mirrored the bright sun overhead. The table was impeccably set, with the delicate lace tablecloth, the colourful flowers and place cards.


The guests studied the place cards and sat down at their appropriate places, filled with anticipation. Tilda suddenly felt very pleased with herself because they looked so happy.The cake stand was laden with goodies and the garden looked magical; it was indeed a special tea party. Tilda passed round cups filled with fragrant fruit tea and there were glasses of water or juice too. Laughter and conversation filled the air as the little bears sipped tea, nibbled their sandwiches and shared stories. Tilda showed them how to break the scones (Granny said you never cut them) and put the cream and jam on the plate before spreading them on the scone.


‘Granny says it doesn’t matter which you put on first, the cream or the jam,’ said Tilda.


‘I’m going to put my jam on first,’ said Polly. ‘Kai, please may I have the jam?’


‘Of course,’ said Kai, passing it to her ‘But I’m going to put my cream on first,’


‘So am I,’ laughed Heidi.


Good Manners Granny and Tilda’s Mum and Dad watched from the kitchen window. Granny was very pleased to see the bears eating nicely and passing things to each other. ‘Keep your mouth shut when you chew, that’s the proper thing to do,’ murmured Granny Manners to herself.


But as Tilda and Heidi were spreading their cream and jam, a problem arose. A strong gust of wind blew, toppling the cake stand, splattering cupcakes all over the grass. Gasps of disbelief echoed from the bears, as they looked at the ruined cupcakes. Tilda was about to cry when Heidi said, ‘Don’t worry Tilda, I’m sure we can fix it.’


Just then Granny ran into the garden followed by Mummy and Daddy.


‘Oh no, what a shame,’ cried Mummy. ‘Let’s get this tidied up’.


Undeterred, Good Manners Granny took Tilda and Polly by the hands and called to Heidi and Kai. ‘Quickly, let’s get everything inside. I think there’s a storm brewing’.


They all rallied round and got the whole lot into the kitchen just as the first rain drops began to fall. (Ping, ping, ping?)


‘My special Tea Party is ruined’, wailed Tilda as she looked at the grass covered scones and cupcakes. Just then there was a massive flash of lightning quickly followed by a huge crack of thunder.


‘This wasn’t forecast,’ said Dad, as he joined the children by the window. The rain was now lashing down, leaving the lovely decorations hanging limply on the trees as they blew in the wind. The lightning lit up the room again and the thunder crashed around them.


Heidi was starting to get very worried. ‘I don’t like this’ she whispered, covering her face with her hands. ‘I’m scared.’


‘Don’t be scared’ said Kai, taking putting his arm around her. ‘We’re quite safe here and it will be over soon’.


Just then the wind began to ease and the lightning wasn’t quite so vivid. ‘Listen,’ said Granny, ‘start counting to see how far away the storm is’. They counted to five and after the next crash, then they counted to ten after the following one. ‘Good,’ said Granny, ‘the storm’s moving away now. And look,’ she added, ‘the sun is starting to peep through the clouds!’


‘And there’s a rainbow,’ cried Tilda, running to open the kitchen door. ‘It’s so bright!’


Granny came up with a brilliant solution. They turned the calamity into a fabulous cupcake decorating contest. Mummy fetched colourful icing bags and sprinkles and the children gathered around the fallen cupcakes, armed with the goodies and their imaginations.


Soon, the once unfortunate mishap turned into a delightful adventure. The Bears decorated the cupcakes like miniature works of art, with swirling icing and sprinkles of every colour. The kitchen was transformed into beautiful patisserie.


With the finishing touches complete, the little bears admired their creations. Each cupcake was different, showing the unique personalities of the young artists. Mum, Dad and Granny were amazed by the creativity and talent on display and couldn’t wait to try one of the now delicious looking cakes, so everyone sat at the kitchen table and began to eat!


In the end, the tea party became a celebration of friendship and creativity. As the sun set, Polly, Heidi and Kia bid farewell, and Tilda promised to hold another tea party very soon.


After waving goodbye, Tilda turned to her parents and Granny and said, ‘That was the best day of my life, the best tea party ever! Thank you so much!’


The kitchen was still covered with icing sugar and sprinkles, so Tilda fetched a dustpan and brush and got to work, while Mum and Dad started on the washing up. Good Manners Granny examined the beautiful lace tablecloth, ‘Hmm. There are a couple of small stains, but they will come out after a good soaking,’ she said, and put the cloth into a bowl.


By the time the whole place was looking spick and span, it was time for a bath and bed. Tilda ran the bath and sat down in the warm water to think about the day. Her Special Tea Party had nearly been a disaster but in the end, it turned out to be the best.


‘It just shows that if you have good friends around you, it doesn’t matter what happens,’ she said to herself, then she smiled as she settled down into the warm, soapy bath.


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