a chill, rain-washed afternoon

As most know, the boys and I are studying British Lit this year.  The authors of our text cleverly began the first unit with, what else? you guessed it – –  a tea party!


Instead of opening with Beuwulf – or defining Anglo-Saxon – we started off with a group of aristocratic, tea drinking folks in a modern short story about a talking cat named Tobermory. This was also a fun story to start off with because the very first line was brilliant: Saki opens his story with, “It was a chill, rain-washed afternoon…”  This later was used as a writing prompt and the boys wrote some nice short stories (and Cade interpreted “chill” to mean relaxed – so that added a nice flavor).

Anyhow, today as I was making some tea,

chill rain washed day


which was a fall spice mix my friend Karin gave me, well that opening line came to mind -because it was drizzling outside and there was this crispness in the air – and I realized this was one of my favorite lines of the year so far….

“It was a chill, rain-washed afternoon….”

Brrr….however, there are no talking cats at our house,  just two big labs – with lots of tail-wagging.  Oh, and of course, lots of tea – for all types of afternoons.

In closing, thought I’d share nice tea quote by C. S. Lewis: “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” 

Teaching tips: 

~Would you like to read this short story? Here is the pdf: Tobermory

~The author of Tobermory is Hector Hugh Munro, but his pen-name is Saki. Talk about pen names and why and when authors use them.   Scholars do not agree as to “why” Munro chose the pen-name Saki, but they believe it was selected from an ancient Persian poem called, “The Rubáiyát of Omar Khayyam” where Saki was a cupbearer in that poem.

~Tobermory the cat models these characteristics: haughtiness, indifference, and superiority. Discuss these traits and talk about what the Bible says about humility, meekness, and servanthood.  Check out Proverbs 16:18- Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

~This story depicts the aristocrats in England – and Saki has satirized Edwardian society and culture – discuss what this is and compare and contrast other social groups in different periods.