Sheila Bell played the newly-tuned piano upstairs in the Tec-We-Gwill Women’s Institute Hall in Newton Robinson, as guests gathered, waiting for the doors to open for the In the Garden High Tea.
Downstairs, members of the Tec-We-Gwill Women’s Institute put the finishing touches on the tables, setting out floral arrangements, party favours, and fine china, and filling three-tiered dishes with sandwiches, scones and sweet treats.
It was the culmination of weeks of planning, baking and preparation – and hours of last-minute bustle, to make sure everything was perfect, from the flower pots on the window sills to the patio lanterns hanging above the tables.
“We worked five hours yesterday, and since 9 a.m. this morning,” said W.I. member Sally Sainsbury. “It’s just great seeing a full house today.”
There were two seatings for the Tea, and both were full.
Many guests dressed up for the occasion, donning hats or Fascinators, and gladly paying the $20 ticket price, to indulge in finger foods, and top their scones with clotted cream, lemon curd and home-made jam.
The event was a fundraiser, with proceeds earmarked for the Simcoe Manor long term care centre in Beeton, to support the “Give a Lift” project and improve transportation services for the residents.
The Tea was also an opportunity to promote the Women’s Institute. Upstairs, some of the crafts, the Tweedsmuir Histories, and the initiatives of the Tec-We-Gwill W.I. were on display.
“We have a lot of initiatives,” said Sainsbury. “It’s just a blast – we do so many fun things,” from wine-tastings, to craft sessions that include an upcoming workshop on making hypertufa planter pots.
Membership is open to women ages 18 and older, but workshops are also open to the general public. “You’re welcome, whether you’re a member or not,” Sainsbury said.