Saturday, 14 July 2012

Burlesque at The Manor!

Today took me back in time – not to a bygone era, well not to one that was that has long since passed, but to about a year and a half ago when I threw my first private tea party for a group of lovely hens. They had hired a farmhouse near Frome and were very patient with me when I lost my way. I’m really grateful to them (Sandra, I mean you!) for having faith in me to provide their friend with a fabulous tea-party for her hen do.

Since then I have thrown so many private parties that I’ve needed help waitressing at lots of them, especially with large numbers. Today, however, the girl who was going to help me was ill, so I went by myself – and I loved it!
This party of hens had hired The Manor at Norton St Philip, about half an hour's drive from Bath – a grand period property with a large but comfortable lounge with wooden floor. I’m told the bedrooms are amazing too but I didn’t see them.

The girls didn’t answer when I arrived bedraggled by the drizzle, but the lovely landlady who lives next door popped her head out and let me in.
Inside it’s impressive – although for such a big house the kitchen is tiny, but this wasn’t a problem for tea-making purposes.

The group gradually appeared in small groups, helped me decorate the room and then, around 1.30pm they ushered in the hen– it was a surprise.
I hope they loved the Bette Davis menu – ham and grain mustard sandwiches, egg and rocket sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, mini-Victoria Sponges, Carrot Bites, Dark Chocolate Brownies, Peaches and Cream cupcakes and melt-in-the-mouth cookies dipped in chocolate. They certainly seemed full enough and made all the right appreciative noises.

During tea the girls surprised the hen with gifts – including a corset and net skirt. She went upstairs to change and in the meantime, burlesque expert Dulcie Demure appeared. All the other girls disappeared too, but then reappeared dressed in the most fabulous burlesque style outfits! Top hats, fishnets, sequin shorts, red basques, flouncy flirty skirts – they looked amazing! And when the hen came down, dressed in her finery she was touched they had all gone to such a lot of effort – although she was also confused about what was going on until Dulcie introduced herself.

The hen (front right) & Dulcie (front left) & henettes

I retreated to the kitchen to wash-up (the glamour) while the group whooped and shrieked, shimmied and danced there way through numerous moves and music. And when it was over, they asked us if it would be ok to go straight out into Bath wearing their outfits. As anyone who has been there knows, Saturday night in Bath is hen party heaven and you look odd if you’re not dressed up! So Dulcie and I left them contemplating their evening’s outfits and I left remembering what hard work it is to throw a tea party on your own – but also how really rewarding it is too.

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