I took afternoon tea yesterday with Brigadier General, the Baron von Vinculum and my distant cousin Svaathor Da Vijs. We met at Lily’s Tearoom at Hadfields Garden Centre in North Walsham for one of their delicious (and very reasonably priced) cream teas. The Ladies of Lily's were very accommodating and didn't bat an eyelid when I arrived with a posh steampunkesque old man and a massive centaur rather than Inexcuseable and her husband as is usual. The cook even offered Svaathor a sugarlump on her outstretched hand while we waited for some patrons to vacate the sofas in the corner (as Svaathor couldn’t fit his hulking carthorse-type frame at any of the little tables).
When the waitress brought our tea and scones over, she set everything out on our table and offered another sugarlump to Svaathor. He nibbled it off her palm but almost immediately afterwards grabbed her small hand in both of his shovel-sized ones and gasped in shock (rather unnecessarily in my opinion).
"My lady!" he exclaimed to the now rather apprehensive waitress. "Look at the state of your hands! The skin is red-raw and dry. It doesn't match the delicate, fair skin of your lovely face." He always was a bit of a charmer. "What ever have you been doing?"
"Well", she blushed and pushed an errant strand of blonde hair back behind her ear, almost-but-not-quite fluttering her eyelashes, "we've been having a bit of a problem with our dishwasher so I've been washing up by hand."
"By hand? A lady such as you shouldn't have to stoop to such a menial task. Don't you have a kitchen boy for when such things occur?"
"Unfortunately not. This is only a small operation, you see, so most days it's only me and the cook."
Svaathor harrumphed. "So, what's wrong with your dishwasher?"
The waitress looked slightly uncomfortable, as if she didn't want to say, but after clearing her throat and looking the three of us over she answered. "Well, I suppose I can tell you without fear of being ridiculed: There's a young lady in it. Without any clothes on!"
I rolled my eyes as the baron muttered something about the youth of today and poured himself some tea. Svaathor just sat back with a knowing look on his weathered but handsome face.
"My lady" he said, rising from the sofa, "perhaps I can help? Lead me to this occupied dishwasher of yours" and the two of them disappeared around the corner and into the tearoom's kitchen.
The baron slurped noisily at his tea and I buttered, jammed and creamed my scone to within an inch of its life as we studiously ignored the grunting and thrashing sounds coming from the back. A particularly unexpected and shrill "Ooh!" surprised the baron so much that his monocle fell out, but he put it back without a word. The following face-slapped-by-a-wet-fish sound was expected at this point, so we continued with our cream tea in a civilised manner, commenting on the weather as was right and proper.
When Svaathor returned to join us, wiping the fish scales from his face with a napkin, the baron rummaged around in his bag eventually producing a brightly labelled bottle that he held out in front of us in his rather shaky grasp.
"Perhaps next time" he said with a touch of exasperation, "you could just use this*."
|*Also suitable for washing machines, showers & pool filters|