On a warm summer afternoon in July, dozens of Plymouth Public Library patrons gathered to celebrate the institution of Afternoon Tea. The theme tied in with the popular epistolary novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society that chronicles the occupation of the British channel island of Guernsey by Nazis during World War II. It was chosen as a focus for the town’s city wide reading program, Plymouth Reads, 2018
Guests were invited to sample an array of sweet and savory scones , tea cakes as well as finger sandwiches enhanced by lemon curd and jam. Fragrant pots of “Afternoon Revival” or Darjeeling tea were served on delicate Limoges china. Local tea expert and entrepreneur Lisa Tavakoli provided a short but fascinating overview of the British consumption of tea and related how, in spite of hardship, tea remained an absolute necessity to the British people during the dark days of the war.
After enjoying light refreshments, library outreach coordinator Thomas Cummiskey invited people to write Plymouth themed postcards that will be sent to residents who use the local Guille- Allès Public Library in Guernsey. Some older residents shared memories of Plymouth during World War II and others discussed similarities between two communities that have both a strong maritime tradition and serve as a popular tourist destination.
The library will hold a live skype from Guernsey and later screen the film followed by a discussion program. The opportunity for everyone to come together and engage in a calm and enjoyable discussion over a cup of tea is a welcome reminder of the unique service that the Plymouth Public library provides to its community.