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March 24, 2010

The Great Victoria Teascape

Isn't this lovely? It's a purse that I saw in the Venus Sophia Tea Room where we had a wee spot of the heavenly liquid when I was there about a month ago with the girl friends. It was a combination tea shop, cafe with all sorts of romantic pleasantries, bits and bobs as the saying goes, or does it?  But this tea shop is relatively new I suspect, and it's in the heart of Victoria's Chinatown on Fisgard street. 

Sitting at one of the white tables is like drinking in a Chic flic. It's a lovely escape whether you're with friends or on your own. It's so civilized and aesthetically pleasing you expect to find Vanessa Redgrave sitting quietly in the corner with a big, floppy hat and large white sunglasses.

I came across a list of the 10 best tea rooms in Victoria and thought I'd pass it on. I've been to exactly one of them. The oldest.

Something about the large decorated room and this purse took me back to a memory of my mother when she must have been in her mid 40s and I was a child. She had this beautiful sterling silver mirror, brush and comb set always on her dresser on a lace doiley.

Some days before my father would come home from work, she would often take the time to go to her bedroom and use that sterling silver set to brush her hair, powder her face, put on lipstick and then take a quick assessment of herself. I remember this as an observer, not a participant.

I can see her in a dress she used to wear in the summer. It had a large, white sailor-like collar and it was coral-coloured with big flowers on it and lots of lightweight fabric that swished when she walked. She'd be carrying a large white leather bag with a clasp. It was the early 1960s.

Something about this purse, the colours and the femininity, unearthed for me that ritual of time my mother would sometimes take for herself  before dinner (but even then she couldn't have the time to herself because obviously I was there watching). 

I find this attention to herself for my father (and for herself) in a life that seemed quite devoid of romance, very interesting as I ponder it now.

I think everyone must have a memory of their mother standing before a mirror, applying make-up or preparing herself for a special evening that helped shape a sense of their own femininity or what that word might mean and it's quite a delicious visual.

Anyone have their own memories of such a ritual by their own mother you'd care to share?

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