Our Pawsome Afternoon Tea Garden Party

Floral china teacups and saucers

For a while now, I have been considering having a party. Now, this is unusual, as neither D nor I are party people. We socialise with friends, usually in the village pub or club, but our home and garden tend to be our private retreats. However, the weather was so beautiful in May and the garden had been looking so lovely, I decided I wanted an opportunity to show it off to our local friends and any family who weren’t too far away. I needed something to hang it on though – a reason to invite people. I let the idea swill around in the back of my brain for a while to take shape and the answer soon came – from our cats as it turned out.

Regular readers may remember that Daisy and Jasmine came to us via the RSPCA, having been born into a hoarding household and removed from the home alongside forty other cats and kittens. However, the Calamity Cat and the Princess were Cats’ Protection (CP) cats. They had had a much better start and a happier life than our young ones, being with the same family for their first eight years. They were very much loved, loved in fact so selflessly that the family chose to give them up. They had had two children in a few short years and when the second baby came, the Princess decided she had had enough and moved out. Where she went, her sister was bound to follow and they spent the next period of their lives living in the shed. Conscious that they weren’t happy and that they deserved a warm and comfortable home, their family turned to Cats Protection who soon put me in touch with them. We have always been grateful both to their first owners and to CP for allowing us to share our lives with such beautiful and affectionate cats and, although the Princess is no longer with us, she will always be part of the New Simple Life family.

So both CP and the RSPCA are both close to our hearts so when I heard about the Cats’ Protection Pawsome Afternoon Tea, it seemed like a perfect way to host a garden party. Most people have heard of the Macmillan Coffee Morning – well the Pawsome Tea is a similar idea but is an afternoon tea affair. I love a good afternoon tea and it seemed ideal for a sunny June garden party. I spread the word and started to plan…

You may have just spotted the first flaw in my thinking. We have just had the wettest June I have seen in a long, long time. As the day approached, I grew more and more concerned that we were going to have to hold it indoors, defeating the object of showing off our wonderful garden. In the event, we got very lucky. The sun came out in the nick of time and we had a wonderful afternoon.

Tall poppies behind some bunting
Party time!

We didn’t have a huge turnout – it was invitation-only, some of our local friends were away and many friends and family live far away – too far to even contemplate coming for just an afternoon. But those who were close enough were really supportive: donating raffle prizes, baking delicious cakes and being very generous with both their time and money.

3 tiered cake stand holding scones with a glass jam pot at the side and china teacups behind
No afternoon tea is complete without Mum’s homemade scones

Given the cause we were supporting, the cats should have been the stars of the show but, as you might expect, they weren’t all very sociable. Jasmine vanished as soon as the first visitors arrived and wasn’t seen again until only the stragglers were left. Daisy stayed indoors, hidden safely inside their sleeping tower to snooze away the afternoon. She appeared briefly later but retreated again fairly quickly.

The Calamity Cat, however, came into her own, wandering from person to person to see if anyone wanted to share their sandwiches, until she met her soulmate. One of our friends is a real cat person and it was mutual love at first sight. She barely left his side, lying full length in the sunshine and basking in his undivided attention.

I found a new appreciation of our garden that afternoon. Usually, our garden is somewhere in which to work rather than a social space. That day, I looked around and what I saw made me smile. There were people chatting in the summerhouse, idling in the deckchair under the apple tree, admiring the veg patch, playing games on the lawn and drinking tea on the patio. All enjoying the space we have worked so hard to create. I saw it all with new eyes and I was very proud, especially of D – most of what we have achieved is down to his commitment.

Unfortunately, I can’t really show any photos with our guests as I would need to get their permission but these are a few garden details which caught my sister’s eye during the afternoon.

  • Yellow marigold flower with a deep bronze centre
  • Wooden bug house on a tree trunk
  • Bright blue planter made from a pallet, mounted on a wall and filled with petunias
  • Small apples forming on the tree with a blue sky background

Best of all, we raised over £200 for Cats Protection – enough to feed ten cats in CP care until they find their forever homes. I would like to thank everyone who contributed in any way for your generosity, which was overwhelming. Thank you again and again from us and from all the cats at CP York who will benefit from our donation. Thank you also to my lovely sister, who took most of the photos in today’s post – she knew I would be too busy to remember to take any!

We couldn’t invite everyone on the day, of course, but if anyone would like to donate even a small amount, you can do so at https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lisa-watson-pawsome-tea

Or, if you enjoy a good afternoon tea, why not host your own? You can find out more at https://www.cats.org.uk/pawsome-tea

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