Four Cups of Tea

We turned out to be the only guests at the moment. Sylvia showed Mom and Dad to one room, then down a flight of stairs and up another, we were shown to ours. Following our host down the hall, our eyes followed a set of stairs that ended at a blank wall. A huge stuffed pheasant sat inside a glass bureau. Paintings of battles and old military photographs adorned the aging papered walls. The deceased Mr. McRoberts had obviously been an important military big-wig of some kind. I wish I would have asked.

According to the little plaque on the door, we had “Lucy’s Room” — furtive peeks into the bureau drawers confirmed there really was a Lucy. Her stuff was still there. Photos of her life decorated the wall: sky-diving, traveling to exotic countries, and getting married. We were truly house guests, staying in someone’s actual home — transient boarders invited in to augment a widow’s pension.

The view from Lucy's second story bedroom -- and I approved of her reading material

Next to our room was a spacious blue bathroom, for our exclusive use. The cold water of the faucet did not shut off — it ran the entire time we were there. As militant water-savers from California, we cringed, but apparently there was no water shortage in Northern Ireland.

After depositing our bags in our respective rooms, we were invited to tea in the sitting parlor. We were then left to ourselves to relax on the antique upholstered chairs and love-seats, sipping tea from China cups and munching on little cookies.

Gino joked that this house would be the perfect scene for a murder mystery. Stifling nervous giggles, we tried, unsuccessfully, to act appropriately proper (this was, after all, Northern Ireland — more English than Irish). Rather, we felt like wayward Californians who had been mysteriously plopped into a scene from the Victorian era.

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