Hello. Do come in. Not too far now, let's not get ahead of ourselves. That's right, just there, whoops, your cane, and there goes your top hat, let's pop it back on, oh my isn't it a big one, there we go. Ah yes, that's it.

Welcome to Octavia's Tea Room. I am madam Octavia.

Octavia pic

I am the same Octavia as intimated in the sign above the door to my tea room. My tea room. Just to get that out of the way, I know how you tea drinkers are just riddled with questions. If you ask me again I will poison you. Tea?

My pinny is of the purest hue, but my morals leave a lot to be desired. Such was the final damning tea-report, as penned by my old tea governess, Mrs U Cravenspoke (may God have mercy on her ugly, blackened soul). I never did find out what the U stood for. Ugly, we girls quipped, as we lay awake giggling in the tea dormitory late at night. Our laughter combatting the unearthly gurgling shrieks that emanated from Cravenspoke's apartment and down the corridors in the wee hours. But the truth of our mocking words strangled the very chortles in our throats, often leaving us in a state of hushed reflective silence, punctuated only by Milly's muffles, as she snorted at her pillow. That girl was a tragic addict for eider. Denied a career serving tea to the illustrious smoke-filled gentleman's clubs of the inner City, as a result of Ugly's impoverished references, I had to resign myself to a role more befitting my dainty mind and weak palsy-cursed fingers. Which is how you come to be standing here now, with that disinterested look on your face, on the threshold of the fruits of my labour. My tea room.

Lord, I've rambled all over you. The bitch. Whoops! I've never been one to let a criminal record hold me back, and despite several investigations and health enquiries to the contrary, neither have the vast majority of you tea drinking folk. I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you in to my humble establishment. My tea room. Now, please do take a seat. Look, I'm pulling it out for you and everything. No, I mean sit down. There you go. And a napkin on the lap. All right my dear? Now, choose some tea from the menu. Do it.

Well it has been a week, I can tell you. And I will tell you. We had that The Ripper man in on Tuesday; lovely man he was. Had a full beard almost covering his entire face, like only a real man can. He drank four cups of my special tea, the one with the stuff he likes in it. He left me a lovely tip-gift when he left, I think it's some kind of mummified bird. He promised he'd never kill me. Such a nice chap, shame about the stains on the doily. Still, nobody's perfect. Except God of course, but then I've never had him in. As far as I know!

Of course the recent flair-up in India-land has affected most of the God-fearing tea rooms in the area, and we've not gone without our fair share of inconvenience. Little Lumme Tinkerwhistles, our delivery boy, had barely finished his sprint, direct from Tamilnadu, when the blow dart's influence finally brought him down. He claimed his tiredness was just the result of a tiger ambush in the mountains, but we all guessed the truth. He's immune to most of the concoctions the natives have to offer, but every now and again the cheeky dears catch him with a nasty one. So I just peeled the frost-napped tiger off his shoulders, put it down the drain, and made him a nice refreshing cup of tea. He's my little soldier.

Enjoying your tea? Yes, good. Oh, thank you. I do appreciate a bit of positive feedback now and again. Never touch the stuff myself. Disgusting. You really have brightened my day. Leave the cup, that's right, don't take them or there'll be trouble, ha-ha! Oh, it looks a tad blustery out there doesn't it? Nights are a-drawing in. Is that the shadow of malevolent death creeping down the alleyway over there? Oh no, it's a dog.

Well, nice to have met you. I hope you enjoyed my tea. I'll be expecting you again some time soon. Next week? Perchance you'll bring the wife and... oh, oh, really, so sorry to hear that. Get lonely do you? Like a bit of company on the grim lonely nights do you, eh? That can be arranged you know. Just my little joke. No, really it can. Oh, I see. Right you are then. Sure? Right.

Maybe you'd like to taste one of my scones next time, they're a real knockout with the young Sirs of the opium set. They quite literally claw at each other to get at them of a Monday, as they emerge from my steaming oven. I bet you like ovens, don't you... oh, well, you will come again won't you? Oh yes you will.

Goodbye now. Leave.

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